Keeping patients safe has and will always be the top priority for Primary Health Care Corporation (PHCC) in Qatar, and while the COVID-19 pandemic has affected every aspect of healthcare in one way or another, safety is not something to compromise on. To limit patients’ exposure to the virus, PHCC developed a proactive program that allows patients to take their medications from the comfort and safety of their homes via a home delivery service.
Current research shows that virtual pharmacy services with home delivery provide an efficient and cost-effective way to enhance patients’ care. Furthermore, the service is helpful in improving adherence rates to medication. Multiple studies have reported that mail order pharmacy services improved patients’ access to medication, especially for those with disabilities and chronic conditions, as well as elderly patients.
PHCC developed a reporting process to identify patients who need medications urgently (chronic conditions, refills, etc). It started with a manual process in which pharmacy leads developed a report of pending medication refills for patients. These refill reports were created using Cerner’s electronic health record to enable an easier method of extracting information. The team then obtained patient demographics to contact them and made an agreement with Qatar Post to deliver the medication to their homes. The program also allowed patients to receive education and get their questions answered from the comfort of their homes by adding virtual consultation to the pharmacist workflow.
PHCC successfully launched the service for the home delivery of prescribed medications in collaboration with the Ministry of Public Health, which facilitated the implementation and provision of the service free of charge to the residents of Qatar. All medications were delivered via Qatar Post and six months after launch, the service served around 64,213 patients. This included the delivery of 70,357 medications, with an average of 450.8 medication packages delivered per month.
This service will likely expand in the future based on the success seen thus far. There are opportunities for improvement as well, such as centralizing the service, enhancing tracking abilities and development of a specific app for this service, amongst other initiatives.
Please read this paper for more details on the process, implementation, and outcomes.
Acknowledgements: Alexandra Tarazi, Manal Al-Zaidan, Mohamed Izham, Mohamed Ibrahim, Mohamed Ghath Al-Kuwari, Azza Mustafa Mohammed, Mansoor Nawaz Mohammed, and Samya Al Abdulla
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