As the community’s most accessible and trusted healthcare providers, pharmacists are uniquely positioned to educate patients and improve outcomes. Why? Well, in short, it’s simple geography — according to a study published in the National Center for Biotechnology Information, nearly 90% of Americans live within five miles of one of the nation’s 88,000 pharmacies. No longer seen exclusively as dispensing centers, pharmacies have transitioned into something more: healthcare destinations. From medication safety to immunizations, pharmacies now play an integral role in maintaining and improving community health by providing education and clinical services that help patients live longer, healthier, and more fulfilling lives.
For proof, look no further than the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic — and, specifically, the national vaccine response. The Federal Retail Pharmacy Program for COVID-19 Vaccination recently endorsed pharmacists as critical administrators of the COVID-19 vaccine to communities, including to many of the country’s most vulnerable and medically underserved patients. The message is clear: Pharmacies positively impact vaccine uptake to mitigate the risks of contracting COVID-19.
Having undertaken the additional responsibilities of helping to combat COVID-19, many pharmacies now face unprecedented workflow and operational challenges, along with the economic challenges of vaccine-related reimbursement. Thus, it is critical that pharmacies are equipped with proper support and services.
For PrescribeWellness, provider of patient-centric pharmacy solutions and services, these new demands and challenges were an opportunity to provide resources for community pharmacists and to further collaborate with its pharmacy partners. Most recently, it partnered with Kinney Drugs, a division of KPH Healthcare Services, Inc., to provide telephonic patient engagement services in support of the Kinney Drugs network of local pharmacies. While serving on the frontlines of COVID-19 vaccine administration and education, Kinney Drugs experienced an unprecedented increase in calls from patients seeking information on COVID-19 vaccinations and vaccine availability.
We needed a solution to take pressure away from our pharmacy staff so they could focus on patient care. MedWiseRx clinical contact centers have provided this solution and have been critical to educating and supporting our patients.
— Rebecca Bubel, R.Ph., president of Kinney Drug Stores
Telephonic Patient Engagement Services With MedWiseRx
Outreach is conducted through eight nationwide MedWiseRx clinical contact centers staffed by more than 800 pharmacists, technicians, and pharmacy students. Telephonic patient engagement services — powered by proprietary HITRUST CSF-certified technology — include direct patient outreach, appointment setting, data entry, and more.
Acting as an extension of the pharmacy, MedWiseRx services and pharmacy staff help to alleviate the administrative burden resulting from the COVID-19 vaccine demand. They offer patients a much-needed source of truth that can help to overcome vaccine hesitancy and improve patient engagement. In fact, “The Role of the Pharmacist in Overcoming Vaccine Hesitancy,” an article by Yvette C. Terrie, R.Ph., that appeared in U.S. Pharmacist in April of this year, shows that many patients will consider vaccination after a recommendation from a pharmacist or other healthcare provider. Addressing concerns, explaining vaccine safety and efficacy data, and dispelling common myths and misconceptions about vaccine-related adverse effects help patients to make better, informed decisions about their health.
With the federal government’s endorsement of community pharmacists as critical providers of the COVID-19 vaccine, pharmacies now face unprecedented operational hurdles. These new challenges bring new opportunities for pharmacies to serve patients through innovative means such as telephonic engagement delivered through MedWiseRx clinical contact centers.
— Farah Madhat, Pharm.D., M.A., executive vice president of PrescribeWellness
Pharmacists continue to lead the way in the national effort to achieve herd immunity and help further establish the pharmacy as a key provider of immunizations and an array of other clinical services.
The collaborative partnership between PrescribeWellness and Kinney Drugs illustrates the importance and impact of telehealth and clinical contact services. When paired with local, frontline pharmacy providers, this comprehensive model for patient care can reach far and wide during the pandemic — and beyond. CT
Sandra Leal, Pharm.D., is an executive vice president at Tabula Rasa HealthCare (TRHC) and the president of the American Pharmacists Association (APhA). For more information on TRHC’s comprehensive COVID-19 vaccine solutions and services, visit www.tabularasahealthcare.com/covid-19-resource-center/covid-19-vaccine-patient-support/
Content courtesy of Tabula Rasa HealthCare.