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Telepharmacy: a pharmacist’s perspective on the clinical benefits and challenges

Authors Poudel A, Nissen LM

Received 3 August 2016

Accepted for publication 9 September 2016

Published 26 October 2016 Volume 2016:5 Pages 75—82


Checked for plagiarism Yes

Review by Single-blind

Peer reviewer comments 4

Editor who approved publication: Professor Jonathan Ling

Arjun Poudel, Lisa M Nissen

School of Clinical Sciences, Faculty of Health, Queensland University of Technology, Brisbane, QLD, Australia

Abstract: The use of information and telecommunication technologies has expanded at a rapid rate, which has a strong influence on healthcare delivery in many countries. Rural residents and communities, however, often lack easy access to healthcare services due to geographical and demographical factors. Telepharmacy, a more recent concept that refers to pharmaceutical service provision, enables healthcare services, such as medication review, patients counseling, and prescription verification, by a qualified pharmacist for the patients located at a distance from a remotely located hospital, pharmacy, or healthcare center. Telepharmacy has many recognizable benefits such as the easy access to healthcare services in remote and rural locations, economic benefits, patient satisfaction as a result of medication access and information in rural areas, effective patient counseling, and minimal scarcity of local pharmacist and pharmacy services. Telepharmacy undoubtedly is a great concept, but it is sometimes challenging to put into practice. Inherent to the adoption of these practices are legal challenges and pitfalls that need to be addressed. The start-up of telepharmacy (hardware, software, connectivity, and operational cost) involves considerable time, effort, and money. For rural hospitals with fewer patients, the issue of costs appears to be one of the biggest barriers to telepharmacy services. Moreover, execution and implementation of comprehensive and uniform telepharmacy law is still a challenge. A well-developed system, however, can change the practice of pharmacy that is beneficial to both the rural communities and the hospitals or retail pharmacies that deliver these services.

Keywords: challenges, clinical benefits, healthcare services, pharmacist, telepharmacy

Corrigendum for this paper has been published

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