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TELEPHARMACY

The National Association of the Boards of Pharmacy (NABP) defines telepharmacy as the "provision of pharmaceutical care through the use of telecommunications and information technologies to patient at a distance."1

Still a relatively new discipline, telepharmacy is being explored in areas of pharmaceutical practice such as increasing formulary compliance, simplifying pharmacy administration and reducing dispensing or other errors related to illegible handwritten prescriptions.2


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The Veteran Health Association (VA) and rural hospitals like Allen Memorial in Moab are just some of the healthcare organisations that have begun to adopt telepharmacy as a means of reducing cost and linking centrally located pharmacists to remote patients.3 4

Telepharmacy has also been used to provide nighttime pharmaceutical services at a community hospital.5

Another area in which telepharmacy is being applied, is in the development of Internet pharmacies, which sell and deliver prescription medication as well as provide pharmaceutical care to patients. Medications ordered through these pharmacies are delivered through various mail delivery services.6

Licensure and legality issues have prompted the NABP to provide a verification system for Internet pharmacies on its website. The system is known as the Verified Internet Pharmacy System (VIPPS). Sites with the VIPPS seal have agreed to comply with US state and federal laws and regulations governing pharmacy practice. These sites must also agree to preserve patient’s confidentiality, provide authenticity and security of the prescription drug order, adhere to recognised quality assurance policies and provide for consultations with pharmacists.

References

  1. National Association Boards of Pharmacy. 24TH March 2003. [WWW] VIPPS Definitions. http://www.nabp.net/vipps/consumer/definitions.asp (25TH September 2003).

  2. Monane, M. et al. Improving prescribing patterns for the elderly through an online drug utilization review intervention: a system linking the physician, pharmacist, and computer. JAMA. 1999 Apr 7;281(13):1168-9.

  3. Carevic, Kristie L.; [WWW] Telepharmacy: A new application for telemedicine. http://www.amia.org/pubs/symposia/D004775.PDF (25TH September 2003).

  4. HIMSS 25TH November 2002. [WWW] HIMSS Advocacy Dispatch. http://www.himss.org/content/files/AdvocacyDispatch/2002/20021125.pdf (24TH September 2003).

  5. Keeys, C. A.; et al. Providing nighttime pharmaceutical services through telepharmacy. Am J Health Syst Pharm. 2002 Apr 15;59(8):716-21.

  6. Angaran, D. M. Telemedicine and telepharmacy: current status and future implications. Am J Health Syst Pharm. 1999 Jul 15;56(14):1405-26.

Useful Links

  • VIPPS
    Information and verification site for online pharmacies by the National Association of Boards of Pharmacy.
    http://www.nabp.net/vipps/intro.asp

 

 

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