Background and importance A leading public healthcare institution implemented a disruptive innovation of telepharmacy in pursuit of compliance with the National COVID-19 Response Framework. It emerged and proved to be an essential and critical pillar in suppression and mitigation strategies. Telepharmacy innovation resulted in pharmacy staffing protection and provided uninterrupted access and care continuum to the pharmaceutical services, both for COVID-19 and collateral care.
Aim and objectives To evaluate the impact of implementing telepharmacy during the COVID-19 pandemic on the safety of pharmacy staff and patients.
Material and methods The Pharmacy Department redesigned a new workflow that combined both on-site and remote staff through a secured VPN access to our health information system (HIS) (figure 1). This new design prevents any direct interaction between pharmacist and patient or with other health care providers, and at the same time the new changes will not compromise patient safety and medication distribution.
Results The Pharmacy Department has the capacity to switch all outpatient prescriptions to be requested through the online portal and a total of 14 618 medication shipments were home delivered from 15 March to 10 June 2020. 14 618 medication shipments were delivered out of 25 520 online requests submitted; the difference between the number of delivered prescriptions and received requests was due to repeated submissions by patients or because the refill due date did not arrive.
WhatsApp Business has been initiated for direct communication between patients and pharmacists. A total of 10 030 inpatient pharmacy and outpatient pharmacy orders were verified through remote access.
Conclusion and relevance In conclusion, the implementation of telepharmacy via the utilisation of medication home delivery services, remote access, and modification of the previous workflow was associated with promising outcomes in terms of efficient, high-quality pharmaceutical care delivery while avoiding medication distribution disturbances as well as containing the spread of the pandemic among staff and patients, thus ensuring their safety during this crisis.
Conflict of interest No conflict of interest
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