HealthSpot, MedAvail Technologies team up to enhance telehealth
DUBLIN, Ohio — HealthSpot has formed a strategic partnership with MedAvail Technologies, which created the MedAvail MedCenter telepharmacy kiosk, to enable HealthSpot station locations to provide pharmacy services in addition to acute care telehealth services in locations where there is no retail pharmacy, such as employer sites and community locations.
The HealthSpot station — a private, walk-in kiosk that enables patients’ immediate access to medical diagnostics from doctors via high-definition videoconferencing and interactive, digital telehealth tools — could now be co-located with a MedAvail MedCenter telepharmacy kiosk, which is currently in pilot phase at locations in Illinois.
The MedCenter could support the dispensing of prescription drugs and OTC medications through live, two-way conferencing with a pharmacist after a visit with a provider inside the HealthSpot station. At the completion of the Healthspot visit, the provider has the ability to send an e-prescription to the MedAvail MedCenter for fulfillment.
"HealthSpot is dedicated to increasing accessibility while creating a truly integrated healthcare experience for the consumer. This experience means being able to receive care from a provider and then easily be able to fill the prescribed meds after the visit and consult with a pharmacist if needed. MedAvail allows consumers to get pharmacy services in non-pharmacy locations and is the perfect addition to HealthSpot’s platform for extended reach of convenient, affordable health care across the country," stated Steve Cashman, founder and CEO of HealthSpot.
"The cooperation we have with HealthSpot will have a significant positive impact on accessibility and health outcomes for consumers," added Ed Kilroy, CEO of MedAvail Technologies. "We believe innovative telehealth solutions like HealthSpot have a consumer-centric edge that pairs well with our vision to bridge the gap for consumers needing pharmacy services."
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Cuomo supports Binghamton University’s pharmacy school
BINGHAMTON, N.Y. — New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo is set to include $10 million in his 2014-2015 executive budget proposal for Binghamton University to commence site acquisition and design work for a School of Pharmaceutical Sciences and Pharmacy.
"We all have been talking about a School of Pharmaceutical Sciences and Pharmacy and Harvey, the governor and I have had a number of conversations about moving forward and accelerating it," State Sen. Thomas W. Libous said. "The governor has reached out to me that he will be putting $10 million into his budget proposal on Tuesday, part of an overall $60 million investment. We see this as a couple-year process, but we believe that with the governor’s support we’re on a fast track. He made it very clear to me that this is the real deal."
The school will most likely be built in Johnson City, N.Y., Libous added. Upon completion, the building is expected to be about 70,000 gross sq. ft.
"Our current plan is to have 300 students when we’re fully enrolled — 240 DPharm students and another 60 PhD students when we’re up and running," Binghamton University President Harvey Stenger said. "We’ll initially hire about 12 clinical and 12 research faculty, and with the additional graduate students, it will make a nice community, create jobs and attract research dollars."
Binghamton submitted a Letter of Intent to SUNY to establish the school back in September 2013. A full proposal will be submitted this spring. The approval will allow Binghamton to develop the second public school of pharmacy in the state of New York.
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Study: Pharmacist intervention improves shingles vaccine rate
COLUMBUS, Ohio – A new study from researchers at Ohio State University is reporting that older patients who receive written information on shingles were almost three times more likely to get vaccinated than those that didn’t receive a similar communication. The study is also one of the first to show that using a patient’s electronic medical record coupled with pharmacist intervention markedly improves preventative care of shingles over the current standard.
While people over the age of 60 account for more than half of all shingles cases, less than 15% get the vaccination that helps prevent the blistering skin rash, which can cause lingering nerve pain, researchers noted.
The research team, led by Stuart Beatty, a pharmacist with Ohio State’s College of Pharmacy, says that the low vaccination rate is due to a combination of factors including lack of awareness, cost, access to clinics able to store the fragile vaccine and the fact that face-to-face appointments don’t offer enough time to discuss shingles, also known as herpes zoster.
“With older patients, there are usually more pressing health issues to discuss during routine appointments, so herpes zoster falls off the list,” Beatty said. “Plus, as a live vaccine, it’s not appropriate for people with certain illnesses. There usually isn’t time to figure all that out in a regular office visit.”
Neeraj Tayal, an Ohio State Wexner Medical Center general internist on the research team, noted that while the numbers of patients vaccinated may seem small, the study was conducted from 2010 to 2011, a time when the national vaccination average was actually 6%, far lower than today’s average of 15%. Tayal also suggested that despite the overall low vaccination rate, the results challenge the notion that there are too many logistical barriers to this type of effort.
“It took pharmacists a matter of minutes to review the chart and mail out a prescription. This saved the physician time, the patient time, and improved the overall health of our patients,” Tayal said. “By utilizing pharmacists as members of a care team, many perceived logistical barriers were managed and overcome.”
For the six-month study, which was supported by the Ohio State Center for Clinical and Translational Science, Beatty and his team used electronic medical record data to identify more than 2,500 patients over the age of 60 without a documented herpes zoster vaccination. Some were randomized to receive information about shingles via a secure email linked to their online personal health record or a mailed postcard, while others received no information outside what they may have gotten in a routine doctor visit.
Pharmacists reviewed the EMRs of patients who had received emails or mailed information to identify eligible vaccine candidates, and then sent them a vaccination prescription via standard mail, along with a list of local pharmacies that offered the vaccine. Vaccine fulfillment was tracked by reports submitted to the team by local pharmacists.
Patients with an active PHR that received email information on shingles had the highest vaccination rate of 13.2% compared to a rate of 5% for patients with an active PHR that did not receive the email information. For patients that did not have an active PHR but did receive mailed information, the vaccination rate was 5.2% compared to a rate of 1.8% for patients without an active PHR and received no information.
The study was published in The American Journal of Medicine.
Cost has, no doubt, been a factor, with a copay of $90 being required-- even from insured persons 60 years of age or older. But many potential patient/customers, pharmacists and health insurers do not know that federal law and Affordable Care Act regulations prohibit the imposition of cost-sharing requirements with respect to immunizations recommended by the Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices of the Center for Disease Control and Prevention. On June 6, 2008, that Committee publicly wrote: Zoster vaccine is recommended for all persons aged >60 years who have no contraindications, including persons who report a previous episode of zoster or who have chronic medical conditions. If you were previously 60 years of age or older at the time of your immunization and you were charged a co-payment, you might want to consider seeking a refund from your insurer and/or help from your pharmacist in citing this policy. If pharmacists were not aware before, this may be helpful for you to know. Ronald L. Hammerle, Chairman Health Resources, Ltd. Tampa, Florida www.healthresourcesltd.com