13 Ontario hospitals deploy 24/7 telepharmacy service
August 11, 2021
DEEP RIVER, Ont. – NTS Virtual Health Solutions has assisted 13 hospitals in Northern Ontario simultaneously implement both the PowerGridRx Telepharmacy platform and after-hours/weekend telepharmacy services. The PowerGridRx platform allows the pharmacy team to efficiently monitor all new medication orders, both scans of written orders and computerized prescriber order entry (CPOE), within a centralized queue.
“This has been our organization’s most ambitious rollout of a patient safety initiative,” said Kevin McDonald (pictured), director of NTS Virtual Health Solutions. “PowerGridRx has been built by pharmacists to automate the pharmacy workflow – a critical workflow in the medication management process which is usually incomplete, disjointed and time consuming.”
Some of the hospitals that went live with PowergridRx recently are: Blanche River Health, Chapleau Health Services, Hornepayne Community Hospital, Lady Dunn Health Centre, MICs Group of Health Services, Sensenbrenner Hospital, and Weeneebayko Area Health Authority.
The PowerGridRx platform is integrated with the hospital’s electronic health system, pulling all relevant laboratory results into the same screen where orders are processed. This is a feature which no electronic health record, whether it be Meditech, Cerner or EPIC, is capable of doing today, the company said. The platform has been proven to reduce turnaround time and to help provide more clinical interventions – resulting in better outcomes for patients.
“In addition to being a patient-centered workflow, the platform has several unique features to support site specific compliance with clinical policies,” said Joyce Totton, the pharmacy systems coordinator at NTS and lead for the PowerGridRx implementation. “There is an integrated Reference Library allowing pharmacists to quickly access documents when reviewing orders. Automated routing of orders as they arrive to specific pharmacy team members is another unique feature which helps ensure certain orders are only reviewed by the expert. For instance, all antimicrobial orders can be routed to the Antimicrobial Stewardship pharmacist.”
PowerGridRx is the key to enabling 10 of these northern Ontario sites receive full after hour pharmacist support that started on May 1 this year.
“While every hospital has an onsite pharmacy, the majority of hospital pharmacies close after hours. In smaller communities, the hospital pharmacy is closed all weekend. However, Healthcare is 24/7, and the benefits of pharmacist availability around the clock providing patient care activities is very real,” says McDonald.
With after-hours telepharmacy support, a single pharmacist can provide information to healthcare providers and review every medication order for appropriateness and safety before medications reach the patient – for many hospitals at the same time, no matter how many kilometres of highway, rail, or muskeg separate them. This is the first step to preparing for the eventual transition to the safest CPOE environment for all of these small hospitals.
The first Canadian installation of PowerGridRx, in November 2020, was at an offsite Covid-19 location at Hamilton Health Sciences, along with telepharmacy support provided by NTS during the pandemic. Several more hospitals are in the pipeline for implementing PowerGridRx over the next 6 months. And many more hospital sites are moving their hospital pharmacy services 24/7/365.
NTS Virtual Health Solutions is Canada’s leading telepharmacy provider of remote hospital pharmacist services working with over 55 hospitals across Canada. The PowerGridRx platform has been developed by PipelineRx, a leading provider of telepharmacy services in the United States.