Friday, September 12, 2008

ND Telepharmacy Project Takes Off

Thanks to the virtual pharmacy system that has been tested on the frozen prairies of North Dakota, the days of walking down to the general store for prescription drugs are returning to rural America.

Most telepharmacies are staffed with registered pharmacy technicians, who usually need about two years of schooling and earn about $15 an hour in North Dakota. Some registered nurses also have been trained for the job.

The pharmacy technicians use remote cameras to contact pharmacists in another location and show them the original signed prescription, computer-generated label, stock bottle where the pills are stored and the bottle the patient will take home. Once the prescription is approved, patients have a mandatory private consultation with pharmacists through real-time video and audio.

States that have changed laws to allow for remote pharmacies include Alaska, Idaho, Illinois, Montana, South Dakota, Texas, Utah, Vermont and Wyoming, along with the District of Columbia. More are on the way, according to the leader of North Dakota's project.

Comment: While politicians and bureaucrats in Washington dream up the next grandiose government health care reform to address rising healthcare costs, the most effective, affordable and convenient healthcare solutions might be right around the corner at your local, virtual telepharmacy.

HT: Clover Aguayo


At 9/15/2008 10:19 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...


It appears no job is ever completely secure. As a Pharmacist I always wondered when technology or some "advance" would put our job security in jeopardy. Walgreens "Baker Cell" technology was one advance considered to be a threat. It did not prove to be.

So, the question now becomes, will this telepharmacy be used for "rural" purposes where "need" is the driving factor. Or will it be utilized by those companies looking to "trim the fat" salary wise in other areas as well?

I like the idea for those areas suffereing for service and business can't scale to afford the costs. It's a good idea for the consumers sake. And the idea of a government subsidy here offends me.

We are considering a similar concept for 3rd shift hospital service. 24 hour Pharmacist staffing is a big challenge for hosiptals and I don't see it improving any time soon.


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