“Telepharmacy is a solution that makes sense, and since we opened our doors it’s made even more sense,” said Jason Reading, Pharm.D., owner, Shoshone Pharmacy.
Earlier this year, the Idaho State Board of Pharmacy updated rules regarding the practice of telepharmacy in Idaho. Before that, Jason Reading, a local community pharmacy owner, met with the board and received approval in the form of a waiver to open a retail telepharmacy site in Shoshone, Idaho, a community he was already serving via delivery service.
We sat down with Jason to discuss telepharmacy in Idaho, how he knew the town would be a good fit for telepharmacy, what the patients think and more.
Q: Tell us about yourself, your organization and your history in pharmacy, how you got started, etc.
"My name is Jason Reading and I grew up in Blackfoot, Idaho. I earned my doctorate in Pharmacy from Idaho State University and I’ve managed a number of different pharmacies, including hospice pharmacies, home IV pharmacies and compounding pharmacies. After coming to R&R Pharmacy in 2010, I acquired it two years later and in 2015 I expanded my operation with the acquisition of Gooding Pharmacy in Gooding, Idaho.
In December of 2016 we opened up Shoshone Pharmacy, a telepharmacy serving the people of Shoshone, Idaho."
Q: How did you first hear about telepharmacy?
"I first heard of telepharmacy at the Pharmacy Development Services (PDS) conference. I saw it and I immediately thought it would be a good fit for Shoshone, Idaho, a community we make deliveries to out of R&R Pharmacy (located almost 20 miles away in Jerome, Idaho)."
Interested in more information regarding telepharmacy in Idaho? Get the infographic!
Q: How did you know Shoshone, Idaho would be a good fit for telepharmacy?
"There’s a need in Shoshone, Idaho, and in general, there’s a need for better healthcare in rural-based communities. The idea of telepharmacy came up and it seemed like a natural fit. The town doesn’t have the population to support a traditional pharmacy, but for telepharmacy it’s perfect. Shoshone has a clinic, a decent rural population (1,500 people) and it’s far enough away where it’s very inconvenient for patients to travel to the nearest community pharmacy. Shoshone also has a progressive doctor and he was all for it. In fact, our remote-dispensing site is located across the street from the Shoshone Medical Center.
We put those things together and thought there’s a real need out here, and although we offered a delivery service, we’re not always meeting their needs. We asked ourselves, “What can we do better?” The answer is telepharmacy. It’s a solution that made sense, and since we opened our doors it’s made even more sense. We’ve had a wonderful reception from the community."
Interested in more about the best locations to open a telepharmacy? Read: The 3 Best Places to Open a Telepharmacy.
Q: Do you think about this new venture as a business move or a service to the town?
"It’s a little bit of both. Yes, there is a business decision there in order to protect our patient population in Shoshone, but at the same time we have so many patients there and our delivery service wasn’t taking care of them as best we can. Telepharmacy is a way we can better serve and take care of patients in remote locations. We want to protect our business interests, but we also want to serve our patients the best we can — telepharmacy makes that possible."
Q: What do the patients think about their local telepharmacy?
"Our patients are extremely happy with their telepharmacy! They’ve really taken a liking to it, and we’ve seen a good amount of patients so far. We’ve only been open for about a month, so awareness is building and people are still transferring their prescriptions. We’ve had a great response from the community and they are excited to support us."
Q: Tell us about your experience with TelePharm? The workflow, the support, etc.
"Our experience has been good! I’ll tell you that I’ve already seen a big workflow improvement from day 1 until now. Everyone is getting used to the system and the software itself is really nice. It’s an investment, but it’s worth the investment. This is our first telepharmacy site so it’s a work in progress, but we’re glad we went with you guys. Although the founder of TelePharm was the first person I talked to, there’s a whole list of folks that have made this a good experience."
Are you considering telepharmacy? Read: What to Consider When Thinking About Telepharmacy.
"Telepharmacy can do a lot for the patients of Idaho."
- Jason Reading, Pharm.D.
Q: Did you look at any other telepharmacy solutions?
"We looked at setting it up and doing it ourselves, but we really wanted a queue that we could work from. The only real workflow we could develop internally would be live video, but I wanted to stay away from that. We looked at ScriptPro but when I looked at the platforms, I just liked TelePharm better. Plus ScriptPro was more expensive. There was one other company I looked at, but they had some communication issues.
Additionally, other systems weren’t as robust and didn’t flow as well as TelePharm. There’s also a lot of support from within TelePharm and I think that was very valuable. They helped in the process of getting licensed and opened. That lends itself to why I stayed with my initial decision of TelePharm."
Q: Would you say your future plans involve telepharmacy?
"When we first looked at telepharmacy, we knew we would start with Shoshone. We have another location we are looking at, and we have a third possibility but we need to do more research on that one. I can see a lot of areas and communities that telepharmacy would work well for. We’re starting to formulate ideas on the future of our operation. Is telepharmacy a part of that? Yes, absolutely. Telepharmacy can do a lot for the patients of Idaho."