• Run by NHS Highland Pharmacy Team.
  • Taking place in three remote and rural dispensing GP practices in the Scottish Highlands.
  • Will test the use of telehealth to improve patient access to pharmaceutical care, thereby optimising the use of medicines: improve how they are taken, address side effects, titrate doses and ensure appropriate monitoring.
  • Different types of telehealth will be tested, with centrally based pharmacists providing advice and prescribing medicines.
  • This project will run from January 2017 to April 2018.

There is currently inadequate pharmaceutical care for patients in remote and rural areas served by dispensing GP practices. New regulations in Scotland mean patients from these practices should receive pharmaceutical care from a clinical pharmacist independent prescriber. But, as yet, this does not often happen, meaning patients do not receive optimal medicines care, and are at increased risk of poor outcomes and/or adverse drug reactions.

To address this issue, NHS Highland has piloted a service through which a pharmacist independent prescriber provides face-to-face medication reviews for patients at dispensing practices. The pharmacist works to improves medicines outcomes through advice, prescribing or referral to other professionals.

However, spreading this service to all dispensing practices is challenging due to the vast geographical area of the Scottish Highlands, limited transport infrastructure and difficulty in recruiting professionals to remote areas.

The aim of this project is to find out if telehealth can be used to deliver this pharmaceutical care service. Pharmacists will be based in a central location and will contact patients by telehealth technology, such as video or telephone, in their own home or workplace. Telehealth will also be used to connect the pharmacist to the GP practice’s computer system, enabling the pharmacist to access medicines information and to enter information on outcomes.

The project will involve three remote and rural dispensing practices, and will be available to any patient who is prescribed a repeat medicine. The service will provide pharmaceutical care to patients who do not currently receive it in order to optimise their use of medicines.