|March 26, 2013
Contact: Roz Hutchinson, 316-719-3341, roz.hutchinson@ viachristi.org
Verizon grant to help expand ePharmacy to rural Kansans
Via Christi Health will soon expand its ePharmacy program, which utilizes technology to connect Kansas-based health care providers and patients in underserved communities with a $30,000 grant from the Verizon Foundation.
“We’re grateful for this funding from Verizon and their support of our outreach program,” said Mark Gagnon, PharmD, director of ePharmacy for Via Christi Health. “This technology helps connect rural communities in Kansas with Kansas-licensed pharmacists. We are able to provide remote pharmacy coverage when the pharmacist is not on-site to review medication orders.
“By supporting the medical team at the local hospitals, we help to improve patient safety, the quality of health care and keep the patient close to home.”
The benefits of ePharmacy include increased access to pharmacy services in rural Kansas; improved patient safety; improved clinical coordination of drug therapy; and improved formulary compliance.
The ePharmacy program utilizes a Web-based software application to support pharmacy needs in rural hospitals by providing electronic supervision and education to community and critical access hospitals where staffing and resources are limited.
Electronic supervision of ePharmacy uses technology to oversee pharmacy operations and provide patient services, including drug review and monitoring, medication dispensing, oral and intravenous compounding verification, and medical staff-to-patient counseling and education. The remote order entry service process is performed by clinical pharmacists who are at computer stations to receive scanned and faxed medication orders from nursing stations at client hospitals. The pharmacists compare the order with a digital image of the patient's medication profile to ensure that the correct medication is ordered for the patient. They also check the patient's age, height and weight, and whether a patient has any chronic health problems that the medication, if administered, could negatively impact.
“Verizon is honored to support Via Christi Health as it strives to connect more patients to quality health care providers, no matter where they live,” said Brendan Fallis, president of the Kansas/Missouri Region, Verizon Wireless. “We are committed to helping our community and proud to assist Via Christi Health in its effort to address and remedy the severe shortage of pharmacists in rural Kansas, and the company’s utilization of ePharmacy is a significant step in the right direction.”
Verizon Foundation provides powerful solutions for critical societal needs in the areas of health care, education and energy management. The Foundation’s health care initiative supports technology-enabled patient care programs improving quality and access to care for underserved communities.
The $30,000 grant will support ePharmacy services at critical access hospitals across Kansas including Community Memorial Healthcare in Marysville; Hiawatha Community Hospital in Hiawatha; Wamego City Hospital in Wamego; Mitchell County Hospital in Beloit; Harper Hospital District No. 5 in Harper; and Sumner County District No. 1 in Caldwell.
About the Verizon Foundation
The Verizon Foundation is focused on accelerating social change by using the company’s innovative technology to help solve pressing problems in education, healthcare and energy management. Since 2000, the Verizon Foundation has invested more than half a billion dollars to improve the communities where Verizon employees work and live. Verizon’s employees are generous with their donations and their time, having logged more than 6.65 million hours of service to make a positive difference in their communities. For more information about Verizon’s philanthropic work, visit www.verizonfoundation.org; or for regular updates, visit the Foundation on Facebook (www.facebook.com/verizonfoundation) and Twitter (www.twitter.com/verizongiving).
About Via Christi Health
Via Christi Health, a Catholic-sponsored ministry affiliated with Marian Health System and Ascension Health, is the largest provider of health care services in Kansas. Via Christi employs more than 10,000 in its hospitals, senior villages, physician offices and health services. In fiscal year 2012, it provided $90.5 million in community benefit to those it serves, including the poor. Visit viachristi.org.