1) Other than order review, what other services can the telepharmacists provide?

Our telepharmacists provide almost any service that a hospital pharmacist would provide if they were working onsite. Drug information, representation on Pharmacy & Therapeutics Committee, initiating and promoting patient medication safety, preparation for accreditation, INR monitoring with warfarin dose adjustments, and patient counseling by phone are just a few of the services implemented amongst our client sites.

2) We already have pharmacists onsite, but we are short staffed; can your services help us?

Yes! Our client hospitals range in size from outpatient clinics up to community hospitals exceeding 400 beds. In our larger sites, the telepharmacist assists the onsite hospital pharmacists with order review, in-servicing, policy development, clinical workups, and drug information.

3) How is patient confidentiality maintained?

Access to the hospital’s network is made via a virtual private network (VPN). Patient orders are scanned and saved right on the hospital network, which is accessed directly by the pharmacists. The telepharmacists computer has up to date antivirus protection and is firewall protected. North West Telepharmacy adheres to the established privacy policy.

4) How do I know if my hospital is set up for telepharmacy?

We have been able to adjust to any means of hospital distribution from ward stock to unit dose through automated dispensing cabinets or central fill. As long as the pharmacy is computerized and the hospital has an IT specialist, service can be provided.

5) Does the telepharmacist provide teaching?

Yes. The telepharmacists with North West Telepharmacy Solutions are able to provide in-services to nursing staff and physicians at the hospital on relevant medication topics and safety initiatives.

6) Do the telepharmacists collaborate with other pharmacists?

Yes. All pharmacists employed by North West Telepharmacy solutions have a hospital pharmacy background and are members of the Canadian Society of Hospital Pharmacists (CSHP). Biweekly telepharmacy meetings and e-mail groups allow the telepharmacists to share ideas and collaborate on initiatives for all the client hospitals. Even if you have one pharmacist assigned to your hospital, you have the minds and energy of at least 17 pharmacists.

7) What can North West Telepharmacy Solutions do to help with the availability of a pharmacist overnight?

Prior to accreditation by Accreditation Canada, hospitals are asked if there is a pharmacist available to the hospital overnight when the pharmacy is closed. We have a range of services available. The hospital can subscribe to our on-call service, where a trained hospital pharmacist is available overnight when the pharmacy is closed to provide patient-specific drug information and review their hospital profile. Alternatively, our overnight service can provide a pharmacist through the whole night to enter or review orders while the pharmacy is closed so that there is no backlog of orders in the morning, and bedside medication verification (BMV) can be done soon after new admissions.