Friday, May 27, 2011

Rural Missouri Hospital Awarded USDA Healthcare Grant, Funds Telepharmacy out of Springfield, Missouri writes in their Daily Planner section about a new USDA grant awarded to Citizens Memorial Hospital in Bolivar:
Citizens Memorial Healthcare was awarded a $457,500 grant last month from the U.S. Department of Agriculture to fund educational projects and expand health care services in rural Missouri.

CMH received the grant for a program to manage medications. Rural residents can connect to a pharmacist in the evening and from remote locations with what's called a telepharmacy. The program computerizes managing prescriptions and improves the time it takes to review medication orders. The award was received by Susan Sanders, telehealth coordinator for CMH.

Vermont Telepharmacy Pilot Program Keeps Outpatient Pharmacy Services Alive in Rural Vermont

Keith McGilvery of WCAX News writes about a state-board approved rural outpatient telepharmacy program that has been running in Plainfield, Vermont for 2.5 years. Even though there's no pharmacist in town, one from Colchester remotely councils patients via a live video link, with a vending machine dispensing drugs to a technician.

The program is expanding Hardwick soon, and "telepharmacies are also up for discussion in Danville, Barton, Concord."

"HealthWatch" Video:

Wednesday, May 18, 2011

Idaho Pharmacy Regulations Revamp Provides for Remote Supervision of Technicians, More Changes Later

The Idaho Statesman offers this about Idaho's huge pharmacy regulations overhaul:
REWRITING THE RULE BOOK The board is nearing the end of a three-year effort to rewrite the rules governing pharmacies and other places that dispense medications, such as hospitals and nursing homes. The agency wants to dump the 102 pages of rules created over the years to eliminate antiquated language and extend regulation to some areas that haven’t had it before.

PROPOSED MAJOR CHANGES Two areas the board hopes to regulate more closely are telepharmacies and machines that dispense medications.

Telepharmacies permit pharmacy technicians to fill prescriptions under the supervision of a pharmacist, usually some distance away. In some cases, the technician may be in a small hospital that has a pharmacist for only a short period each day. Idaho has a couple of pilot programs now in telepharmacy. As the programs expand, the state will look at regulations. The machines dispense medications either to pharmacists filling prescriptions or to customers who come into a pharmacy to pick up prescribed medications. Pharmacists can put filled prescriptions into the machines that customers can access with a personal code, ending the need to stand in a long line.

THE PROCESS The board hopes to go to the Legislature in January to repeal the existing rules.

HOW YOU CAN BE HEARD A meeting is planned at 9 a.m. Wednesday, June 22, at the Idaho State Board of Pharmacy office, 1100 Shoreline Lane, Suite 300, Boise. Comments may also be directed to Mark Johnston, executive director, at

TO LEARN MORE Go to the Board of Pharmacy’s website at

Friday, April 08, 2011

Missouri USDA Funds Rural Hospital District's Telepharmacy Program

Last month, the Rural Development division of the Missouri USDA announced funding for telecommunications, distance learning and telemedicine projects in the state. Among those was:
Citizens Memorial Hospital District, in the southwest Missouri community of Bolivar, received $457,500 for implementing a telemedicine program that centralizes the management of medications. The tele-pharmacy allows rural residents to connect to a pharmacist during evening hours and from remote locations and computerizes the management of prescriptions which greatly improves the timely review of medication orders plus generally improves the efficiencies in all aspects of a pharmacy operation.
Several other telehealth grants were awarded but they didn't specifically mention whether their projects included anything pharmacy specific.

Friday, April 01, 2011

ASCP 2011 Spring Conference Provides a Telepharmacy "Education Session"

The American Society of Consultant Pharmacists' Spring Conference & Exhibition is running from May 17th through 19th, 2011 in Las Vegas, Nevada. Among their education sessions is an entire lecture about remote pharmacy called "Telepharmacy - A Future Alternative," held from 2:00 PM - 3:15 PM on Tuesday, May 17:
This session describes the operation of a telepharmacy medication dispensing system that provides medication dispensing services among a network of six community health clinics. After attending this session, participants will have a clear picture of how telepharmacy technology can be applied to dispensing of medications and may be able to apply some of the knowledge and practice experiences learned in this session into their dispensing practices. At the conclusion of this activity, the participant will be able to: 1. Describe the operational components of a telepharmacy system; 2. Identify the regulations and protocols that enable a telepharmacy to operate; 3. Describe the advantages and challenges of using a telepharmacy for dispensing services in an ambulatory/community setting; 4. Review potential telepharmacy error sources and suggest methods to reduce dispensing errors; 5. Discuss telepharmacy service patient satisfaction and service outcomes. Universal Activity Number: 0203-0000-11-009-L04-P; 1.25 contact hours

Friday, March 18, 2011

Minnesota SBP Grants More After-Hours ROE variances

After a host of after-hours order entry variances from the Minnesota State Board of Pharmacy recently, more hospitals requested and recieved variances in their March 9th, 2011 meeting:
Mayo Health System hospital pharmacies – remote after hours order entry –
Variance Committee recommends approval
o Fairmont Medical Center 200992-002
o Lake City Medical Center 261637-001
o Springfield Medical Center 200325-001
o St James Medical Center 200891-001
o Waseca Medical Center 200753-1
o Immanuel St Joseph Hospital 200743-001

Thursday, March 17, 2011

European Association of Hospital Pharmacists 2011 Vienna Congress Lecture Will Touch on Telepharmacy

The 16th Congress of the European Association of Hospital Pharmacists is taking place starting at the end of this month, March 30th through April 1st, 2011 in Vienna, Austria. At least one of the lectures, "A need for hospital pharmacist specialization?" will touch on "Providing telepharmacy services to rural and remote areas."

Wednesday, March 16, 2011

Ontario Hospitals Request Bids for Remote Medication Order Review

The Wellington Health Care Alliance in Ontario, Canada has posted a request for proposal for a 1 year contract for a Canadian firm to do order review and entry for three sites for 1 year:
Notice Description:
Telepharmacy Coverage for Wellington Health Care Alliance

Wellington Health Care Alliance is a relationship between North Wellington Health Care and Groves Memorial Community Hospital. We operate three sites:

Louise Marshall Hospital, Mount Forest
Palmerston District Hospital, Palmerston
Groves Memorial Community Hospital, Fergus

Term of Contract will be 1 year from May 1, 2011 to April 30, 2012

Service Requested
• To provide telepharmacy coverage for 2 corporations and 3 hospitals that includes medication order review and pharmaceutical advice to staff and physicians

VA to "Soon" Roll Out Telepharmacy Services in Butler, Pennsylvania

In an article about their tele-dermatology program, VA Butler makes a quick mention that they "will soon expand to include Tele-Smoking Cessation and Tele-Pharmacy." No real information as to whether they'd be providing the service or receiving the service seems to be available.

Colorado State Board Approves Telepharmacy, Remote Dispensing in Rural Hospital

The article from the Lamar Ledger from the beginning of the month says it all:
The Prowers Medical Center Board of Directors approved obtaining USDA grant funding to place a tele-pharmacy service at the Holly Medical Clinic. The tele-pharmacy will allow people who receive treatment at the Holly Medical Clinic to get medicine from the tele-pharmacy. Described as similar to an ATM, the machine will be located in the Clinic and will allow those who receive treatment at the Clinic to get their medications in Holly, rather than driving 30 miles to Lamar to refill or obtain new authorized prescriptions. The machine will require identification and will be a benefit to those who live a long distance from Lamar, Prowers Medical Center CEO Jim Fairchild said. It is not the hospital's goal to take business away from pharmacies, he added. Installing the tele-pharmacy machine will simply benefit those patients who can't make the trip to Lamar, Fairchild said.