In response to the COVID-19 pandemic, temporary measures introduced earlier this year allowing pharmacists to deliver medicine reviews for eligible patients via telehealth have been extended to 31 March 2021.
How do I prepare for a telehealth consultation?
Preparation is key. Call the patient initially via telephone. Explain the process and ascertain that the patient can clearly hear and understand the conversation to determine if a telehealth consultation would be appropriate.
Before committing to a telehealth medicine review, it is also important to ensure the patient has a reasonable grasp of the technology to be used, or has a support person to assist.
Set up the camera to provide a neutral background so you are at approximately eye level with the screen (and the patient). Ensure you won’t be disturbed by people in the background to give necessary privacy.
It is also recommended that you email the patient in advance a copy of the ‘How to prepare and what to expect’ consumer leaflet and relevant patient consent form.
Use secure services
Access to telehealth consultations is fairly new for most pharmacists, so it is important to be mindful of conducting them in a way that is secure and private.
This includes not only the service used to conduct the interview, but also any emails that contain patient data.
Avoid using free, unsecure services.
Face-to-face is preferable
Where possible, medicine reviews should be conducted face-to-face. If this is not achievable and a telehealth consultation is appropriate, prioritise the use of videoconference over audio-only options.
Make sure the patient can see and hear clearly before jumping into the interview. Ensure that they are in a quiet and preferably private area so they are comfortable in providing all relevant information to you.
Ensure that the patient understands the consent process. Document that the consent has been obtained before commencing the interview.
Just as you would when conducting a regular medicine review, ask the patient to have all medicines and any dose administration aids close by.
For more information, visit:
For best practice guidance on conducting medication reviews, visit:
RHYAN STANLEY BPharm MPS is a Senior Pharmacist – Policy in PSA’s national policy team in Canberra, leading work on the COVID-19 microsite of psa.org.au as part of the pandemic response.
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