Chris Antypas, Pharm.D., president of Asti’s South Hills Pharmacy in Pittsburgh, Pa.
Chris Antypas, Pharm.D., Owner, President, COO, Asti‘s South Hills Pharmacy

Communication is the key to efficiency according to Chris Antypas, Pharm.D., owner, president, and COO of Asti’s South Hills Pharmacy, which has three locations south of Pittsburgh, Pa. — one a community pharmacy, one a closed-door long-term care pharmacy, and one a specialty pharmacy. “It’s about being able to access people without having to waste time playing phone tag, ” says Antypas. Here is where DrFirst’s Backline care collaboration app gives Antypas’ staff a HIPAA-secure messaging platform to communicate, including sharing documents.

Watch a video about DrFirst Backline at Asti’s Pharmacy

Secure messaging is quickly becoming the preferred method of communicating for Antypas, not only among pharmacy staff, but between the busy pharmacy locations, providers’ offices, and the nurses at long-term care facilities. At Asti’s, Antypas has watched the need to pick up the phone to solve a problem quickly disappear, and he and his staff are fine with that.

“Problems happen every day in the healthcare world,” says Antypas. “It’s astounding how many issues there are out there and it’s equally astounding how a simple conversation, a two-minute conversation, or in this case a few texts, can resolve an issue.”

Backline is a huge asset. I don’t really see our pharmacy operating without it.

DrFirst’s Backline communication and collaboration tool helps providers achieve care coordination and improve transitions of care. The system supports attachments up to 20mbs, including photos, videos, audio files, and documents. Secure text messaging encryption protects privacy, prevents unintended disclosure, and meets HIPAA requirements. A telehealth option is available as well.

“It’s a huge asset. I don’t really see our pharmacy operating without it,” says Antypas.

Asti’s started with the service among a handful of its pharmacists to communicate at night or on the weekends. Staff are pinged whenever there’s activity on one of their chat threads. The advantages of messaging over phone calls quickly became apparent, and Antypas looked to extend the communication beyond the pharmacy to provider offices and the nurses at long-term care facilities.

From transferring a prescription from one pharmacy location to another and following up on a message from a doctor’s office, the staff uses Backline continuously during the day and it is especially helpful at night and on the weekends. Timestamps allow the staff to see when coworkers reviewed and responded to a message. It provides complete accountability to every action taken around a prescription and patient.His staff have dual screens, running the pharmacy through the Rx30 pharmacy management system and accessing the Backline chat threads through a web portal. Antypas can review any conversation if necessary. The staff can check their chats at any station, or through a secure app on a smartphone or tablet. When communicating with providers or nursing home staff, Asti’s staff can send a secure text, and the recipient needs only to click on a link to access it, without being required to enroll or download the app.

“If you had an issue to resolve for a patient, or you could contribute to a situation, you can chime in from any location through the secure app,” explains Antypas. “We can send an urgent message to a provider and know that everyone has seen it. It’s helpful to have direct access to key people at a prescriber’s office.”

Prescribers love it because they know they aren’t getting unnecessary phone calls. At any time, the office can look over the chat to see the discussion history. And it’s particularly effective with providers who have a lot of patients with the pharmacy. “When you let the doctor know there is a secure messaging system that is easy to access and will reduce phone calls,” says Antypas, “they are quick to sign up.” Within five minutes, Asti’s staff can have a new group thread established for a practice.

“We have found that Backline is a wonderful platform for us to connect with providers and get answers to questions and solve patients’ problems quickly and efficiently,” says Antypas. CT

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