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Want to know more about how to buy COVID-19 testing kits for your pharmacy? Do you have questions about how to use the kits to test your patients? Not sure what you need to do to become a COVID-19 testing site?

Here are some answers in a short Q&A with Farah Madhat, Pharm.D., Tabula Rasa HealthCare (TRHC) executive vice president for PrescribeWellness and Sandra Leal, Pharm.D., Tabula Rasa HealthCare executive vice president for SinfoniaRx and president-elect of the American Pharmacists Association.

What are the COVID-19 tests and why is it notable that pharmacies can offer them?

Farah Madhat, PharmD, MA, TRHC Executive Vice President for PrescribeWellness
Farah Madhat, Pharm.D., TRHC Executive Vice President PrescribeWellness

Farah Madhat, Pharm.D., M.A. says… “Through TRHC’s PrescribeWellness solution, community pharmacies have the ability to purchase COVID-19 testing kits authorized for emergency use by the FDA. The testing kits, available for online purchase today, enable pharmacists to collect nasopharyngeal or nasal specimens to be sent to a lab for analysis. More information can be found on PrescribeWellness’ COVID-19 Testing Resource webpage under “Additional Information (FAQ)” (bottom tab).

Access to reliable COVID-19 testing capabilities within the pharmacy enables effective mitigation of the spread of disease at the community and national level. As America’s most accessible healthcare provider, pharmacists are uniquely positioned to conduct critical services such as COVID-19 testing, and to expand and optimize strategic disease surveillance initiatives. In the face of a growing shortage of primary care physicians, pharmacists are equipped to provide comprehensive services to ensure access to care for patients in need.”

What do pharmacists need to know to be able to offer COVID-19 tests? Are pharmacies that aren’t currently doing any POC testing able to offer them?

Farah Madhat, Pharm.D., M.A. says… “TRHC’s PrescribeWellness™ coronavirus webpage includes quick links for pharmacies, including an online order form for COVID-19 test kits, as well as timely collated updates generated from venerable sources such as the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and the World Health Organization (WHO). Participating pharmacies also will have access to testing administration training resources, including demonstration videos and instructional documentation.

Any pharmacy that would like to conduct POC COVID-19 testing can reach out to PrescribeWellness to register as a testing site. Our client services team will work with each pharmacy to get their testing site up and running.

During the developing pandemic, pharmacies can ensure continuation of care through the PrescribeWellness software by managing patient communications at scale, educating and engaging their communities with social media content, protecting patients by limiting visits to the pharmacy with medication synchronization and predictability, and documenting COVID-19 encounters within the PrescribeWellness eCare platform.

As of early April, the PrescribeWellness solution facilitated the delivery of voice and text messages to over 2 million patients for COVID-19 awareness, including information on home delivery, curbside or drive-through pickups, front-end items, and reassurance that medications would remain available.”

What does the HHS decision to allow for pharmacies to provide COVID-19 testing mean for pharmacies long-term? How can pharmacy look to build on this new avenue for applying clinics skills for patient care?

Sandra Leal, Pharm.D., TRHC Executive Vice President SinfoniaRx

Sandra Leal, Pharm.D., M.P.H., FAPhA, CDE says… “Equipping pharmacists with the ability to administer COVID-19 testing is a landmark decision in the fight against the spread of the novel coronavirus. In numerous instances, pharmacists are the primary healthcare provider for many Americans, particularly those who are in rural settings where access to primary care is inadequate. The COVID-19 crisis crystalizes the role of pharmacists as primary care providers and the opportunity to step in to fill the care void that this pandemic will bring for a large volume of patients.

Pharmacists can use this pandemic to demonstrate the value of incorporating pharmacists as key member of a patient’s care team. Through the use of innovative technologies, pharmacists can improve patient access to care, provide credible information, enable successful comprehensive medication and symptom management, assure medication safety through appropriate medication selection and monitoring (referring them to higher levels of care when warranted).

Pharmacists, as medication experts, are needed now more than ever, to ensure safe and effective treatment for COVID-19.”