How clinical pharmacists power innovative virtual care

RxLive’s co-founder and CPO, Kristen Engelen, recently spoke with Tricia Killingsworth, one of the first Chief Pharmacy Officers in the healthcare system in the US. Tricia was a pharmacy technician before she went to pharmacy school, and that experience helped set the tone for her career as a Pharmacy leader.

Our conversation dives deep into how leaders can replicate Tricia’s level of patient-centric service, and how team-based care powers an impactability-driven, value-based pharmacy practice.

When pharmacists are empowered with the right virtual care tools, it often results in patients experiencing a level of care beyond what’s possible when health care is offered only in person. It all begins by keeping the focus on the patient and, as Tricia says, “using technology to bring people together.” 

Tricia’s first move into providing virtual care was grant-supported and focused on using virtual oversight technology to ensure accurate medication preparation. Then, pharmacists would use a telehealth platform to speak with patients and ensure they understood their medications prior to discharge.

“We need the data to be able to identify the patients that we can take care of and who would benefit most from being seen by a pharmacist,” Tricia says. “I’ve never been in a position where I have enough pharmacists to see every single patient.”

As we’ve previously written, virtual care and telehealth tools offer powerful solutions to the pharmacist shortage.

Tricia agrees. It’s important, she says, “to use data to track and see if you’re making the impact on patient care that you anticipated…and also share that data out with others to demonstrate how pharmacists can make a difference in the quality of patient care and patient outcomes.”

But virtual care models offer benefits for pharmacists and providers, too. Pharmacists, for their part, often experience a better quality of life when they can work from home and have better work-life balance. And this, in turn, makes it easier for networks to hire the pharmacists and techs they need.

For a deep dive into Tricia’s thoughts on telepharmacy, watch the full interview below.

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.