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    Telepharmacy: New Jobs, Expanded Opportunities

    Telepharmacy is more than just phoning it in.

    Telepharmacy is gaining momentum as more pharmacies seek ways to extend their regular business hours, grow their scope of services, or capture a greater share of the market. This is true across the board—for pharmacies in rural communities, in specialty clinics, and in emergency departments.

    For pharmacists, this growing interest in telepharmacy translates to more job opportunities and a chance to further demonstrate the value pharmacists can have as an important member of the health-care team.

    Adam Chesler, PharmDAdam Chesler, PharmD“The real purpose of telepharmacy is to allow our pharmacists to be in a place they weren’t allowed to be before, a place where we couldn’t afford to have a pharmacist,” said Adam Chesler, PharmD, Director of Regulatory Affairs at Cardinal Health, a company that owns the software TelePharm.

    Telepharmacy has been touted as one strategy to preserve pharmacist jobs and expand access to patients, especially in rural areas, but experts say rural communities aren’t the only place where telepharmacy can have value. Chain, health-system, and independent pharmacies can also use telepharmacy to extend their regular business hours or enter new areas of the market—such as HIV clinics, emergency departments, employee-based, or other specialized clinics where there’s a need for a pharmacist but demand doesn’t warrant a full-service store.

    “Increasingly, there’s this idea that access is an issue, not only in remote locations but also in urban settings or places where it would be good to have pharmacy services available but where it’s not really economically feasible to put a pharmacy in,” said Edward Rickert, Partner at Quarles & Brady, LLP, a national law firm that specializes in pharmacy law.

    More state boards of pharmacy are examining telepharmacy regulations, in part, Rickert said, because of a growing demand for more telepharmacy service opportunities from pharmacies, health-care providers, and employer groups.

    He has seen boards examine two different types of telepharmacy models:

    • The traditional telepharmacy models, where a brick and mortar pharmacy is staffed by a technician who is supervised remotely by a pharmacist

    • Automated dispensing systems that are monitored or used remotely by a pharmacist.

    Up next: How telepharmacy creates jobs and expands opportunities

    Jill Sederstrom
    Jill Sederstrom is a Contributing Editor

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