Offering safety-net and rural hospitals access to remote pharmacy consultations
Date Awarded: February 14, 2012
CHCF’s Health Innovation Fund invests in PipelineRx, a telepharmacy company that offers safety-net and rural hospitals access to remote pharmacy consultations. Each year in the United States, an estimated 7,000 deaths and 250,000 injuries are associated with medication errors.
Moreover, research has shown that rural hospitals have higher rates of medication errors because they have a difficult time retaining qualified, experienced pharmacists and lack many of the pharmacy innovations that urban hospitals utilize to improve medication accuracy and efficiency. Many rural and safety-net hospitals also cannot afford to hire pharmacists for overnight and weekend coverage — when a large percentage of medications are administered to patients.
A study published in 2013 in the American Journal of Health-System Pharmacy found that remote review of medication orders by pharmacists when the hospital pharmacy was closed decreased the number of potential adverse drug events reported and improved job satisfaction among nurses.
To address the need for timely, affordable pharmacy consultation services, PipelineRx (formerly Pipeline Healthcare) offers telepharmacy and remote medication order processing services to US hospitals. Through the PipelineRx portal (IT and communications platform) a hospital pharmacy client can connect with a licensed pharmacist who is experienced with in-patient hospital care. This around-the-clock service enables real-time order review, better throughput, higher quality and safety outcomes, and increased access to essential pharmacy services. Finally, PipelineRx provides its clients with a complete record of all medication orders, client interactions, and clinical interventions. On average, the innovative telepharmacy services cost 65% less than traditional pharmacy staffing business models.
With the support of CHCF, PipelineRx will expand its client base to include safety-net hospitals, including public, critical access, and rural facilities throughout California and across the country. PipelineRx pharmacists have clinically verified over 1.7 million medication orders since 2010 and currently serve eight California hospitals.
CHCF invested in PipelineRx because the telepharmacy model has the potential to address significant health care access challenges in a cost-effective way, increasing the quality and safety of care delivered in under-resourced care settings.