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How does telepharmacy work?

image of bottle of pills

A patient takes their prescription to their local telepharmacy and gives it to the registered pharmacy technician, who prepares the prescription for dispensing by the pharmacist. The pharmacist reviews the patient's medication profile for drug interactions and other potential problems before examining digital pictures of the completed prescription for accuracy via videoconferencing equipment.

Once the pharmacist has approved the prepared prescription, the pharmacy technician brings the patient to a private consultation room for counseling by the pharmacist on the proper use of their medication. Patient education counseling is required by the North Dakota Board of Pharmacy for all patients receiving telepharmacy services and also takes place via videoconferencing. Patient confidentiality is assured throughout the processing of their prescription. The pharmacist is ultimately responsible for proper preparing and dispensing of medications.

Most telepharmacies in North Dakota are full-service sites with a complete inventory of prescription and nonprescription drugs. When a telepharmacy is a short distance from the central pharmacy, the pharmacist may choose to develop a remote consultation site where there is no drug inventory and no requirement for a registered pharmacy technician. The pharmacist fills prescriptions at their central pharmacy, and a courier makes deliveries twice a day to the telepharmacy, which is a general merchandise store.  Patient counseling by the pharmacist occurs by way of videoconferencing.

Another telepharmacy model is one in a hospital or other institutional setting. In this case, a registered pharmacy technician prepares the medication, which is checked by a pharmacist at a different location via audio and video computer links before it is dispensed to a patient.

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Published by North Dakota State University

Last Updated: Friday, June 28, 2013 1:05:18 PM
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