Published on April 15, 2019

Why Telemedicine is a True Solution for Pharmacy Support

e-Pharmacy provider at workYou’ve been in meetings where "ideas" to solve problems come up. These thoughts often pinpoint the key issues and spell out the challenges, but it’s rare that solutions are identified and applied, right there and then.

Hospital and clinical leaders would benefit more if they not only saw the challenges, but also found a proven approach to address them – something already available, assembled, tested and ready to custom-fit their needs.

It may seem mythical, but it does exist.

"Avera’s eCARE® Pharmacy started internally because we have many community and critical access hospitals that needed the support of a 24/7 pharmacy team," said Andrea Darr, Pharm.D, who serves as Avera eCARE’s Pharmacy Officer. "In the decade since, we have learned enough to share this service with more than 100 hospitals, surgical centers and other facilities that need pharmaceutical expertise."

Avera eCARE, based in Sioux Falls, S.D., is a world leader in telemedicine services, offering comprehensive health care services 24/7 via high-definition, interactive video and sophisticated computer monitoring equipment across numerous platforms, including Senior Care, Emergency, Pharmacy, ICU, Specialty Clinic, Hospitalist, Behavioral Health, School Health, Correctional Health and more. eCARE’s headquarters is home to experts from many disciplines – intensivists, emergency medicine, pharmacists, geriatric specialists and more.

Wealthy Suite of Services

From its central hub, a seasoned group of professionals provides guidance to providers and nurses around the United States. Avera eCARE gives any facility valuable health care resources – solutions at the fingertips of the care teams on the ground.

"Order entry and verification is the most common inpatient service we provide. All new medication orders are reviewed and approved by licensed hospital pharmacists," Darr said. "These seasoned hospital professionals offer this every day of the year, 24 hours a day. They also have an informatics manager who reviews and tests the EMR to ensure the safety of the system."

Ensuring Protocol Application

With its proven web-based computer technology and enhanced video-conferencing equipment, eCARE Pharmacy teams answer questions from local nurses and providers. They can also aid efforts in antimicrobial stewardship that now are required protocols with the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS), the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and The Joint Commission.

"Our service can provide guidance as needed and save care teams time and accurate application of guidelines for antimicrobials," said Darr. "Adjustments can be made as needed, including application of patient-specific pharmacokinetic dosing for aminoglycosides or vancomycin."

The service also provides valuable care for outpatients. One example is verification and double-checking of chemotherapy and infusion therapies, enhancing patient safety.

Since eCARE Pharmacy is always on duty, they can support emergency departments that require immediate, precise information.

"The value of our system lies in the fact we can bring in proficiencies we need at any time. With our years of experience, it’s rare that one of our partners will face something we have not seen," Darr said. "We customize the pharmaceutical provisions to the partner’s needs, thus providing needed expertise."

The depth of knowledge of the service’s professionals is an additional value.

"Our team is staffed with pharmacists with a broad range of experience, from pediatrics to sterile products and from surgery to cardiology," said Darr. "Many hold professional certifications in infectious disease, pharmacotherapy or ambulatory care. All our pharmacists are well-versed in the administration of medications, BCMA structures, hospital pharmacy protocols, medication distribution systems and technology. They’re ready to aid their partners in any situation."

Learn more about eCARE Pharmacy and how it’s already making differences nationwide for a growing group of health care partners.