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Telepharmacy Extends Kmart’s Customer Experience

Kmart recently opened a telepharmacy in Des Plaines, IL, which marks the company’s first-ever remote dispensing pharmacy.

Telepharmacy is the delivery of pharmaceutical services via telecommunications to patients and signifies a growing industry trend of using mobile technology to operate in-store pharmacy services more efficiently.

A primary appeal of telepharmacy is its potential to expand access to pharmacy care in smaller rural communities, some of which cannot support a full-time pharmacist or cannot easily recruit a pharmacist to reside in their region. Telepharmacy can potentially give patients in remote locations access to professional pharmacy care that could not be received locally, which can lower costs and improve patient safety through better patient counseling, drug administration monitoring,[2] and compliance monitoring. Sharing of pharmacists between sites can also decrease costs in existing facilities, which might no longer need to employ a full-time pharmacist.

At the Des Plaines Kmart, located at 1155 E Oakton St, the telepharmacy allows a Kmart pharmacist the ability to perform clinical services outside of direct dispensing, such as immunizations and health condition assessments. While telepharmacy allows for remote servicing, operated by a certified pharmacy technician, an off-site Kmart pharmacist performs the same quality checks and will answer questions about prescriptions via video chat on a tablet located at the Des Plaines store.

Illinois is on the growing list of states that have implemented legislation permitting telepharmacy practices—a trend Kmart officials believe is essential to operating an innovative and effective pharmacy business model in the face of an ever-changing healthcare industry.

Jennifer Speares, Kmart Pharmacy’s senior director of compliance and administration, talked to Loyalty360 about the company’s first-ever telepharmacy.

“In 2017, the Des Plaines Kmart became the home of the company’s first remote dispensing pharmacy, also known as a telepharmacy,” Speares explained. “A method of delivering pharmaceutical services via telecommunications to patients, telepharmacy signifies a growing industry trend of using mobile technology to operate in-store pharmacy services more efficiently. The model provides a Kmart pharmacist added flexibility to perform clinical services outside of direct dispensing, such as immunizations and health condition assessments.”

Telepharmacy is the delivery of pharmaceutical care via telecommunications to patients in locations where they may not have direct contact with a pharmacist. The goal is to expand access to pharmacy services particularly in remote areas and underserved populations.

“Kmart Pharmacy works directly with states to expand telepharmacy in areas where access to pharmacy services is most needed,” Speares said. “Currently, Kmart pharmacy is looking to expand telepharmacy in additional store locations this year.”

Kmart Pharmacy continues to be ranked No. 1 in customer satisfaction and “we take that very seriously,” Speares added. “We believe that our pharmacists and pharmacy technicians are best-in-class and will continue to provide the same great care beyond the counter in all our pharmacy locations. Our goal is to create and maintain access to our pharmacy services for existing patients and new patients. Our patients love our pharmacy associates and enjoy the personalized service. We can provide that access and care with the advancement of telepharmacy services.” 

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