A practical, immediate solution to address the pharmacist shortage

The provider shortage continues to stress both providers and their patients. We’ve written before about how well positioned pharmacists are to help fill the gap. But increasingly, there’s a catch: pharmacy teams are as burned out as the doctors and nurses they work with.

Pharmacists’ mix of pharmaceutical knowledge and clinical experience provides a unique addition to value-based care teams. And when pharmacists are overtaxed, it impacts all providers throughout the network.

So how can networks increase support for all providers while continuing to deliver efficient patient care? Expanding capacity by integrating a fractional network of tech-powered pharmacists offers a practical, immediate solution.

In this post, we’ll look at three benefits you can realize by tapping RxLive’s fractional network to address the pharmacist shortage.

#1: Double your in-house pharmacy efficiency via a fractional network

The past three years have made it increasingly difficult for pharmacists to help all the patients that need their care. With RxLive, however, you can double your in-house pharmacy’s efficiency.

And at the same time, integrating RxLive reduces your pharmacy team’s workload. So how can existing pharmacy teams assist twice as many patients without further stressing their staff?

RxLive’s solutions:

  • Balance care delivery. In-person care will always be necessary. But some tasks, like reviewing formularies and clinician consults, can be completed remotely. RxLive’s pharmacists take on this work to help your existing pharmacy team focus on patients in the pharmacy.
  • Integrate tech: RxLive’s tech tools integrate directly into your network’s existing platform along with third-party apps like SureScripts. This helps the pharmacists treating your patients to identify key indicators of health, including medication mismanagement and potential drug interactions. 
  • Rely on data. Access to patient data such as EHRs allows pharmacists to make decisions that include the context of a patient’s care history.

The result? A more efficient workflow that elevates patients’ quality of care – and fosters a more balanced worklife for the provider.

And that increases the likelihood your pharmacists can continue to deliver patient-centered care in the future.

#2: Get answers to clinical questions in five minutes – or less

Are your pharmacists too taxed to fill all the prescriptions they receive in a day? If that’s the case, they’re likely missing some of your physicians’ calls for consults, too. But with access to RxLive’s fractional pharmacist network, a pharmacist can answer clinical questions in five minutes or less.

Say a physician in your network is treating a COPD patient for Covid. They want to prescribe Paxlovid. But pulmonary disorders are outside of the physician’s practice area. And they’re unsure of potential for interactions between Paxlovid and the oral steroids used to treat COPD. 

So the physician reaches out to a pharmacist for a consultation.

If the pharmacist is assisting a patient or speaking with another clinician, that call may go unanswered. Without an answer, the physician may opt to delay treatment. That can complicate the patient’s care – and even their health.

RxLive’s strategic partnership with Picasso MD, however, offers answers. Through the Picasso MD app, primary care teams can quickly receive answers to specialty questions, including pharmacy. Empowered with that information, clinicians can design the protocol that best fits the patient’s needs – including whether to refer them for an additional consult.

#3: Deliver on-demand care to meet evolving patient needs

Efficiently delivering care means navigating the peaks and valleys of when patients need it. Many, for example, prefer appointments earlier in the day to limit time away from work. And ailments from allergies to the flu can create seasonal spikes in demand that further tax overworked care teams.

A fractional network helps meet that demand without requiring a health system to hire additional pharmacists. And through RxLive’s model, networks can adjust care delivery to match their patients’ dynamic needs:

  1. Illustrate. With My.RxLive you can import patient data from EHRs and merge it with data from third-party applications such as SureScripts, CareQuality, and CommonWell. This delivers a unique view into your patients’ health.
  2. Design. RxLive.ai lets you sort that data with deterministics you choose. For example, differentiating between COPD and diabetes patients recently diagnosed with Covid. Then, your in-house team can use this information to develop medication protocols for these patients.
  3. Deploy. Physicians can then reference these protocols during consultations, reducing the chance of adverse interactions. 

What’s more: this process takes place across a two- or three-week cycle. So you can develop solutions that match your patients’ current needs. And if you want to pilot another idea? Again, it’s less than a month from concept to delivery.

Enfranchising clinicians and patients through digital delivery

Though on-the-ground clinicians will always be needed, pharmacists aren’t immune to the allure of remote work. And even if providers are available where they live, many patients struggle to access in-person appointments.

Telehealth offers a way to reintegrate disenfranchised clinicians into the workforce. At the same time, digital delivery removes barriers between patients and their care.

Want to learn more about how RxLive can enfranchize patients and providers? Contact us.

Kristen Engelen, PharmD
Kristen Engelen, PharmD, is the chief pharmacy officer of RxLive and a certified consultant pharmacist; she has over a decade of experience in retail pharmacy settings. Kristen became an RxLive co-founder because of her passion for geriatric pharmacy, with a focus on the intersection of pharmacy and aging.