Use of Telemedicine to Enhance Pharmacist Services in the Nursing Facility
OBJECTIVE: To conduct a systematic literature review to determine what telemedicine services are provided by pharmacists and the impact of these services in the nursing facility setting.
DATA SOURCES: MEDLINE®, Scopus®, and Embase® databases.
STUDY SELECTION: The terms "telemedicine" or "telehealth" were combined by "and" with the terms "pharmacist" or "pharmacy" to identify pharmacists' use of telemedicine. Also, "telepharmacy" was added as a search term. The initial search yielded 322 results. These abstracts were reviewed by two individuals independently, for selection of articles that discussed telemedicine and involvement of a pharmacist, either as the primary user of the service or as part of an interprofessional health care team. Those abstracts discussing the pharmacist service for purpose of dispensing or product preparation were excluded.
DATA EXTRACTION: A description of pharmacists' services provided and the impact on resident care.
DATA SYNTHESIS: Only three manuscripts met inclusion criteria. One was a narrative proposition of the benefits of using telemedicine by senior care pharmacists. Two published original research studies indirectly assessed the pharmacists' use of telemedicine in the nursing facility through an anticoagulation program and an osteoporosis management service. Both services demonstrated improvement in patient care.
CONCLUSION: There is a general paucity of practice-related research to demonstrate potential benefits of pharmacists' services incorporating telemedicine. Telemedicine may be a resource-efficient approach to enhance pharmacist services in the nursing facility and improve resident care.