Tele-pharmacy in rural Scotland: a proof of concept study

Jackie Inch, Frances Notman, Margaret Watson, David Green, Robert Baird, James Ferguson, Caroline Hind, Brian McKinstry, Alison Strath, Christine Bond, Telepharmacy Research Team

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

5 Citations (Scopus)
7 Downloads (Pure)

Abstract

INTRODUCTION: Technology enables medical services to be provided to rural communities. This proof of concept study assessed the feasibility and acceptability of delivering community pharmacy services (CPS; including advice, sale of over-the-counter products and dispensing of prescriptions) by tele-technology (the Telepharmacy Robotic Supply Service (TPRSS)) to a rural population in Scotland.

METHODS: Data collection included the following: postal surveys to local residents; focus groups/ interviews with pharmacists, other healthcare professionals (HCPs) and service users, at baseline and follow-up; TPRSS logs. Interviews/focus groups were audio-recorded, transcribed and thematically analysed. Descriptive statistics were reported for survey data.

RESULTS: Qualitative results: Pre-installation: residents expressed satisfaction with current pharmacy access. HCPs believed the TPRSS would improve pharmacy access and reduce pressure on GPs. Concerns included costs, confidentiality, patient safety and 'fear' of technology. Post-installation: residents and pharmacy staff were positive, finding the service easy to use. Quantitative results: Pre-installation: almost half the respondents received regular prescription medicines and a third used an over-the-counter (OTC) medicine at least monthly. More than 80% (124/156) reported they would use the TPRSS. There was low awareness of the minor ailment service (MAS; 38%; 59/156). Post-installation: prescription ordering and OTC medicine purchase were used most frequently; the video link was used infrequently. Reasons for non-use were lack of need (36%; 40/112) and linkage to only one pharmacy (31%; 35/112).

DISCUSSION: Community pharmacy services delivered remotely using tele-technology are feasible and acceptable. A larger study should be undertaken to confirm the potential of the TPRSS to reduce health inequalities in rural areas.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)210-219
Number of pages10
JournalInternational Journal of Pharmacy Practice
Volume25
Issue number3
Early online date2 May 2017
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 1 Jun 2017

Keywords

  • Journal Article
  • community pharmacy
  • remote supply
  • technology

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    Inch, J., Notman, F., Watson, M., Green, D., Baird, R., Ferguson, J., Hind, C., McKinstry, B., Strath, A., Bond, C., & Telepharmacy Research Team (2017). Tele-pharmacy in rural Scotland: a proof of concept study. International Journal of Pharmacy Practice, 25(3), 210-219. https://doi.org/10.1111/ijpp.12376