The Impact of COVID-19 on Pharmacy Transitions of Care Services
COVID-19 has necessitated alterations to the delivery of healthcare services. Modifications include those made to improve patient and healthcare worker safety such as the use of personal protective equipment. Pharmacy services, specifically pharmacy transitions of care services have not been immune to change which have brought along their own set of unique challenges to consider. This paper discusses how COVID-19 has impacted the delivery of pharmacy transitions of care services with real world examples from Sharp Grossmont Hospital and Hoag Memorial Hospital Presbyterian. Procedures implemented to minimize the spread and contraction of COVID-19 such as minimized patient contact and altered visitor policies have made it more challenging to obtain a best possible medication list the patient was taking prior to arrival to the hospital which has lead to an increased reliance on secondary sources to complete medication histories. Regarding discharge prescriptions, preference has shifted to the use of electronic vs. hard copy prescriptions, mail order, and utilization of med to bed programs and other hospital medication delivery services to limit patient contact in outpatient pharmacies. An improved effort to resolve medication acquisition issues prior to discharge utilizing patient assistance programs and other hospital programs to cover the cost of medications for COVID positive patients under certain circumstances has been seen. This paper highlights the important role pharmacists can play in providing effective communication, supporting continuity of care, and advocating for patient engagement and empowerment during transitions of care in the COVID-19 pandemic.
Herzik KA, Bethishou L. The impact of COVID-19 on pharmacy transitions of care services. Res Social Adm Pharm. 2021;17(1):1908-1912. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.sapharm.2020.10.017