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IT support strengthen pharmacist clinics

Then we come to information technology support. We are going to talk about data storage, communication between departments, electronic medical records, outcome and quality analysis, and the last one, which is not in our case because in Taiwan, we have national insurance. So, the billing and reimbursement will be an issue in your situation.
So, in Taipei Veterans General Hospital, we also have qualified IT support. Because as you already know in the laboratory support part, the data storage, the IT also give a great support to do the data management. And, it also doing a very good job in communications between departments. This is a case that if the doctor provide their service in ambulatory care, or the medication records will be clustered in OPD medical records. And if you click it, it will have a list that all of the doctors and pharmacist clinics are showing here. So, you can see that we have our medical records from anticoagulation clinics. And, we also have medical records from anti-arrhythmia clinics and cardiovascular surgery clinics.
So, that if the doctors are seeing their patients or the pharmacists seeing their patients, they can click different medical record to see the intervention from your medical team And, however, the IT support did not do very well for the medication documentation as you know that this is the service that we are doing our medical records. And, it’s all free text. If you come to free text, it is time consuming and because the time is limited, the records will be very rough. And in the future, it is very difficult to do the analyze for the outcome and quality. So, in that case, we built up our own anticoagulation clinic system.
In this system, you can create a standardized pharmacy SOAP automatically, and this system will calculate the stroke and bleeding risk automatically. And, the best thing is that it will record and take notes of all the service day and all the lab data so that you can do the service outcome calculation and analysis very easily. And, the last part is clerical support. It is about clinic schedule, appointment, and phone calls. Usually, in the past ten years, you may have a receptionist in front of your clinics. However, the receptionist is replaced by the electronic technology. So, in our hospital, we have an online clinic schedule, So, the patient can go to the web page in our hospital.
It will know the clinic schedule is every Wednesday afternoon and every Tuesday morning. And, it also printed in paper form, So, the patients can have the clinic schedule with them and if they want to make an appointment with us, it can make a phone call or you can do it by electronic. We will talk it later. And, the clerical support will also do the referral. However, our IT support already help us to do this. The patient in anticoagulation clinic is 100 % by doctors’ referral. So, the initial visit always comes from the doctors. So, the doctors have to choose our clinical code, which is 0G2 for Tuesday morning. And, you have to choose the referral date.
Once they click these two steps, and the referral is done. And, the patient will come to our clinic for their initial service. Once they finish their initial service, they can have a follow up appointment online or by phone or by receptionist. This is an example of our online appointment schedule. If the patients go to the web page, it have appointment service for initial visit or for follow up appointment. The anticoagulation clinics is not showing in the initial appointment, it only shows on follow up appointment. And, you can see that once the patients click the anticoagulation clinics, then they can schedule their follow up appointment. And, the receptionists need to deal with the phone calls.
If you don’t have real receptionists sitting in front of your clinics, then you need to build up a way for the patient. Once they have any problem, they can make a call to ask for help. So, this is our prescription bag, and on the bag, it’s transparent. And, we have some information that if you have any problem, you can make a call and pharmacists will answer your phone call during the office hour. So, If the patient is enrolled in our anticoagulant clinics, and they have any problem, they make a call through this number, and we will communicate with the pharmacists in that department, and they will know that all.
They will refer this patient to our clinics or help this patient to reschedule the earlier available appointment. And, there is another way if the patient just throw away their prescription bag, they can go to our web page of our department. And, we have a direct line for pharmacy consultation, and clinical pharmacists will answer the phone, and the patient in our anticoagulation clinics, if they have any problem, they can make this call and pharmacists will help them to make the earlier available appointment.

Ms Wung explains IT and clerical support, which are just as important as the support from physicians and laboratories. She then explains how both services are managed by the IT department at TVGH.

Key concepts

Support from the IT department is another crucial factor of setting up pharmacist clinics. They assist in data storage, communication between departments, electronic medical records, outcome, and quality analysis. They also manage billing and reimbursement, however, this does not apply to Taiwan due to the presence of national insurance.

IT department manages the electronic systems that compile and store medical records. Allowing healthcare professionals to access the same patient information and communicate efficiently.

However, the current medication documentation system needs more work. The system does not offer much support in the documentation. When physicians write medical records, they need to type everything in free text. Due to time constraints, these medical records end up very rough and hard to analyze.

Thus, the anticoagulation clinic uses its own system, which automatically generates standardized pharmacy SOAP notes. This system will also calculate the stroke and bleeding risks automatically.

Referrals and appoints are managed by the IT department. Appointments can also be arranged via the TVGH website. Patients would receive medication bags with the clinic’s phoneline printed, this allows them to enquire clinical pharmacists directly.

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  • How does technology support pharmacist clinics in your hospital/country?
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