One of the critical barriers surrounding the coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) pandemic is the lack of access to testing, specifically among high-risk populations.
One of the critical barriers surrounding the coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) pandemic is the lack of access to testing, specifically among high-risk populations. In response to this issue, Tabula Rasa HealthCare (TRHC) announced that it will be providing its Programs of All-Inclusive Care for the Elderly (PACE) partners with COVID-19 testing kits through its PACE pharmacy, CareKinesis®.
PACE is a federal program providing comprehensive medical and social services to individuals aged 55 years and older who are nursing-home eligible. The programs have shifted to providing remote care as much as possible and they are anticipating the administration of these kits to happen within the participant’s residence, eliminating the need to travel for testing.
In addition, the CareKinesis pharmacy is also offering the BioIntelliSense BioSticker™, allowing PACE centers to remotely monitor patients for COVID-19 symptoms, including fever, cough, and shortness of breath.
“The BioIntelliSense BioSticker™ is an FDA-cleared multi-parameter continuous vital-signs wearable that monitors skin temperature, respiratory rate and heart rate at rest, as well as other parameters including coughing frequency, body position and activity level,” said Calvin H. Knowlton, PhD, chairman and CEO of TRHC, in an interview with Pharmacy Times®. “For complex populations, this type of monitoring is always important, and with BioSticker, it can be done remotely.”
Knowlton told Pharmacy Times® that having a platform such as the BioSticker available during the current pandemic allows care providers to conduct remote surveillance that will not only protect patients, but will protect health care workers by reducing unnecessary face-to-face interaction, thus reducing their exposure to COVID-19 and other contagions.
“What will be especially helpful during the coronavirus era is that with BioSticker, clinicians can monitor for the development of COVID-19 related symptoms (fever, cough, and shortness of breath) on a minute-to-minute, hour-to-hour basis remotely,” Knowlton said in an interview with Pharmacy Times®. “Alerts can be set to notify clinicians of symptoms for each individual.”
As for treatment recommendations during the pandemic, TRHC is complying with state and federal recommendations and rules surrounding the various medications suggested to treat COVID-19. Knowlton recommends that pharmacists can further assure safety by carefully screening patients’ complete medication regimens, as some of the COVID-19 medications can cause metabolic pathway congestion or prolonged QT problems.
“We lack definitive data showing that chloroquine/hydroxychloroquine alone or with azithromycin are effective COVID-19 treatments. That could change tomorrow,” Knowlton told Pharmacy Times®. “In the meantime, pharmacists must closely watch federal and state regulations, and must assess every situation individually and must use their best clinical judgment when asked to fill such prescriptions.”
TRHC Provides PACE Partners with COVID-19 Testing Kits Through CareKinesis, BioIntelliSense BioSticker. March 25, 2020; WE Communications [email]. Accessed April 1, 2020.