Evaluation of a remote hybrid staffing model for ambulatory clinical pharmacists in a pediatric health system during the COVID-19 pandemic

Am J Health Syst Pharm. 2022 Jan 28;zxac022. doi: 10.1093/ajhp/zxac022. Online ahead of print.


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Purpose: To describe and quantify patient care activities performed by ambulatory clinical pharmacists supporting medical specialty clinics in a pediatric health system utilizing a hybrid staffing model during the coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) pandemic.

Methods: Five ambulatory clinical pharmacists, integrated within a health-system specialty pharmacy (HSSP), utilized a web-based data collection tool to record time spent performing patient care activities over a 2-week period. Work location (onsite or offsite) of the pharmacist was reported for each activity. Activities were classified as direct or indirect patient care. Direct patient care activities were subcategorized as telemedicine appointments, in-person clinic appointments, HSSP call center work, medication access support, electronic medical record consults, and previsit planning/postvisit documentation. Administrative tasks and precepting were considered indirect patient care activities.

Results: A total of 1,190 activities were completed, with 77% of all activities performed offsite. Direct and indirect patient care activities accounted for 871 (73.2%) and 319 (26.8%) of total activities, respectively. No activity took longer for the pharmacists to complete offsite versus onsite.

Conclusion: Using a hybrid staffing model employed by a pediatric health system, ambulatory clinical pharmacists were able to efficiently provide a high volume of direct patient care activities even when working offsite. Rapid adaptation and implementation of telemedicine services was critical for pharmacists to continue to provide essential services within pediatric medical specialty clinics.

Keywords: ambulatory clinical pharmacist; coronavirus disease 2019 pandemic; specialty pharmacy; telemedicine.