Pharmacists are already one of the most accessible health care providers, and new developments in digital technology are making them easier than ever for patients to access.Progressive Care is expanding more patient access to pharmacy care with their new proprietary tele-pharmacy software, Tele-PharmCo. The HIPPA-secured platform will allow patients to interact with pharmacists in real time through 2-way video consultations, according to a press release.While the progression of pharmacy services toward automated technology and delivery services brings convenience, it eliminates the face to face conversation between providers and patients, Progressive Care CEO, Mars Shital, told Pharmacy Times.“Our health care world and pharmacy world are moving toward more technology, more automation, and they’re more patient driven,” Mars said. “In a lot of ways its good, but with mail order, now you don’t have the face to face interaction, the patients don’t come see the pharmacist. Tele-PharmCo will allow the patients to have access to the pharmacist just the way they would if they walked in. It’s the same quality.”Other companies specializing in digital health technology offer similiar services to the health care industry, including Teledoc, American Well, Doctors on Demand, and LiveHealth Online. Many of these services are primarily utilized by physicians and their patients, although some pharmacies have already reported offering telemedicine service to prescription drug customers.The Impact of Telemedicine on Pharmacists and Implications for Controlled Dangerous SubstancesProgressive Care announced the beta launch of Tele-PharmCo on Thursday,Mars explained that often times physicians do not have time to review medication with patients, leaving the patient with questions and concerns. Telemedicine software helps fill this gap of care by allowing patients to review dosing with their pharmacist, go over proper medication use, refill their prescription, discuss adverse reactions, and address other concerns from their homes. The Tele-PharmCo video conferencing service provides this convenience without eliminating a meaningful conversation between patients and their pharmacist.“We want health care and technology to provide more personal service and not automated service. We found it was beneficial to insert the pharmacy in a more meaningful way,” noted Mars.Tele-PharmCo can be particularly beneficial for elderly patients who may have a more complicated medication regiment. An issue that pharmacists often see with elderly patients is confusion over old or unfinished prescriptions that have not been disposed of and whether they are supposed to take them with their current regiment, according to Mars.“They can have dozens of bottles and may not know exactly what they’re supposed to be taking. On our platform, they bring the whole thing to the screen and we can tell them whether they are supposed to be taking it,” she stated.The face to face interaction provided by Tele-PharmCo can also provide clarity for patients who may be forgetful or have trouble staying adherent to their medication, noted Mars.“It helps for patients to see us. It’s not just a stranger over the phone—it’s someone who cares. It’s someone who’s going to address them by name,” said Mars.Tele-PharmCo will initially be available on customized kiosks, tablets, and desktops, but the company eventually plans to launc a mobile application. Progressive Care also plans on implementing these devices in senior living facilities, long-term care settings, physician’s offices, clinics, and in their DischargeRx program for hospital transitional care management. Patients will also be able to utilize the app on their home desktops, which could have a huge impact on patients with mobility issues, according to the press release.ReferenceProgressive Care Inc. Announces Beta Launch of New Proprietary Tele-PharmCo Software Platform for Real-Time Patient to Pharmacist Video Interaction. Progressive Care. Oct 18, 2018. https://markets.businessinsider.com/news/stocks/progressive-care-inc-announces-beta-launch-of-new-proprietary-tele-pharmco-software-platform-for-real-time-patient-to-pharmacist-video-interactions-1027629653. Accessed October 18, 2018.
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