COVID-19 Testing Opportunities Coming to Community Pharmacists Across United States

April 17, 2020
Jill Murphy, Assistant Editor

Many health care companies are taking the opportunity to deliver testing kits to local pharmacies to properly equip pharmacists with the right resources during the pandemic.

Widespread testing for coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) has been an ongoing challenge, especially for individuals who may not have access to a testing center. As of April 9, the Department of Health and Human Services issued new guidance under the Public Readiness and Emergency Preparedness Act authorizing licensed pharmacists to order and administer COVID-19 tests that are FDA-approved.1

Many health care companies are taking the opportunity to deliver testing kits to local pharmacies to properly equip pharmacists with the right resources during the pandemic. For example, Tabula Rasa HealthCare (TRHC) has partnered with HealthQuest Estorics to prepare and deliver thousands of testing kits for the detection of severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2).2

“Access to reliable COVID-19 testing capabilities within the pharmacy enables effective mitigation of the spread of disease at the community and national level,” said Farah Madhat, PharmD, MA, TRHC executive vice president for PrescribeWellness, said in an interview with Pharmacy Times®. “As America’s most accessible health care provider, pharmacists are uniquely positioned to conduct critical services such as COVID-19 testing, and to expand and optimize strategic disease surveillance initiatives.”

Further, a new COVID-19 webpage has been designed by TRHC to serve as an additional resource for pharmacists. The webpage includes quick links for pharmacies, including an online order form for COVID-19 test kits and timely collated updates generated from venerable sources, such as the CDC and World Health Organization, according to Madhat. Madhat added that participating pharmacies will also have access to testing administration training resources, including demonstration videos and instructional documentation.

“During the developing pandemic, pharmacies can ensure continuation of care through the PrescribeWellness software by managing patient communications at scale, educating and engaging their communities with social media content, protecting patients by limiting visits to the pharmacy with medication synchronization and predictability, and documenting COVID-19 encounters within the PrescribeWellness eCare platform,” Madhat said in an interview with Pharmacy Times®.

In terms of the significance for pharmacists to be able to administer COVID-19 tests, Sandra Leal, PharmD, MPH, FAPhA, CDE, TRHC executive vice president SinfoniaRx and president-elect of the American Pharmacists Association, reiterated to Pharmacy Times® how pharmacists are the primary health care provider for many Americans, particularly those who are in rural settings where access to primary care is inadequate.

“By providing Americans with increased access to COVID-19 testing platforms, we can truly implement more effective disease mitigation strategies,” Leal said in an interview with Pharmacy Times®. “Additionally, by introducing testing capabilities within the pharmacy, our front-line providers, including health care workers and first responders, will have improved access to testing.”

Leal also mentioned how pharmacists can assist those impacted by COVID-19 by helping them to better understand available treatment options.

“Pharmacists can raise awareness of any implications to patient’s medication regimens and of potential risk for adverse drug events, and then they can offer solutions,” Leal said in an interview with Pharmacy Times®. “Pharmacists, as medication experts, are needed now more than ever, to ensure safe and effective treatment for COVID-19.”

REFERENCES

  • Murphy, Jill. Federal guidance allowing pharmacists to provide COVID-19 testing applauded by health care leaders. Pharmacy Times. https://www.pharmacytimes.com/news/federal-guidance-allowing-pharmacists-to-provide-covid-19-testing-applauded-by-health-care-leaders. Pubilshed April 9, 2020. Accessed April 17, 2020.
  • TRHC provides COVID-19 testing opportunities to community pharmacies across the United States. Moorestown, NJ; TabulaRasa: April 13, 2020. http://ir.tabularasahealthcare.com/news-releases/news-release-details/trhc-provides-covid-19-testing-opportunities-community. Accessed April 17, 2020.