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How two pharmacists tapped into telehealth to improve care for transplant patients

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For patients who have recently undergone an organ transplant, medication adherence is critical. That is why two pharmacists at NewYork-Presbyterian Hospital decided to start seeing patients virtually, enabling them to maintain continuity of care after discharge from the hospital.

For patients who have recently undergone an organ transplant, medication adherence is critical. That is why two pharmacists at NewYork-Presbyterian Hospital decided to start seeing patients virtually, enabling them to maintain continuity of care after discharge from the hospital. Nicholas Jandovitz, PharmD, clinical pharmacy manager in the kidney and pancreas transplantation program, and Demetra Tsapepas, PharmD, the program's director of quality and research at the New York City-based hospital, realized transplant patients faced two problems: they often needed follow-up care and medication guidance after discharge, but the hospital lacked the clinic space to let pharmacists see patients in a designated outpatient setting. But NewYork-Presbyterian has a well-developed Innovation Center that has created a pathway for clinicians to execute interesting ideas, especially in telehealth. Partnering with the Innovation Center and using the hospital's in-house telehealth app, NYP OnDemand, the pharmacists have offered follow-up telehealth consultations to 21 transplant patients since January. "One of the interesting things about transplant patients specifically is they are lifelong patients—they require medication to sustain their health and livelihood," Tsapepas said. "This ability to have continuous interactions with them outside of the care environment is important." While it is still too early for any specific findings, both pharmacists are tracking and analyzing metrics such as virtual visit duration and comparing that to the amount of time the patient would spend traveling to the hospital. Jandovitz noted that, overall, patients have been excited that the hospital offers a more convenient service.

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