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ISU awarded telepharmacy grant

August, 5, 2015

Let’s say you’re taking Coumadin and want to know how the popular blood thinner will mix with your other medications. What about the diabetes medication Metformin—could that explain your lower backache and drowsiness?

Finding answers to health care questions can be difficult in rural Idaho communities where medical resources are in short supply. But thanks to a $13,000 grant, Idaho State University researchers could be a step closer to bringing clinical pharmacy services to underserved communities that want them.

“Our long-term goal is to integrate clinical pharmacy services with rural primary care practices to provide team-based care,” said John Holmes, a licensed pharmacist and assistant research professor at ISU’s Clinical Research Center and Family Medicine Residency program.

He and his team—associate dean for clinical research Rex Force and assistant public health professor Elizabeth Fore—are studying the pharmacy landscape in the rural communities of Arco, Challis and Council.

Arco and Challis currently have full-service telepharmacies— where prescriptions are filled through a telecommunications network linked to ISU’s Bengal Pharmacy in Pocatello.  Council was added to the mix because of the western Idaho community’s past experience with telepharmacy services.

Researchers plan to study barriers to the delivery of clinical pharmacy services and collaborative care—such as classes to help rural patients manage medications, optimize drug therapies and improve quality of life—and how to overcome those barriers.

The grant— from the Institute of Translational Health Sciences at the University of Washington—began May 31 and will run for two years.

Holmes has also been accepted into a two-year training program offered through UW’s Northwest Center for Public Health Practice. The program, called the Patient Center Outcomes Research Partnership, helps scientists, clinicians and health care managers develop methodology to conduct patient-centered research.

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