Feasibility and acceptability of a virtual clinical pharmacy service for elective orthopaedic inpatients in an Australian metropolitan hospital

Brett Chambers, Julaine Allan, Emma Webster, Anna Packer, Shannon Nott

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

2 Citations (Scopus)
32 Downloads (Pure)


Background: Virtual healthcare services are usually provided from urban centres to outpatient clinics or underserved rural areas. This study utilises virtual pharmacy as an innovative model to provide services to a metropolitan hospital from a rural area.

Aim: This study assesses the feasibility, and patient and staff acceptability of a Virtual Clinical Pharmacy Service (VCPS) in a tertiary metropolitan hospital ward with limited on-site clinical pharmacy services.

Method: Pharmacists from a rural health district provided telepharmacy services for nine weeks. Data on service provision and detection of medication-related issues were captured in the electronic health record. Service acceptability was assessed through a staff focus group and patient acceptability by a patient-reported experience measures (PREM) survey. Ethical approval was granted by the Greater Western Human Research Ethics Committee (Reference no: 2021/ETH00097).

Results: The VCPS demonstrated high utilisation, with 535 clinical and medication reviews provided for 225 patients. Virtual medication reviews identified 151 medication-related issues or recommendations. PREM surveys (n = 22) were supportive of the VCPS model. Staff valued the service and reported ease of access to specialist medication advice and confidence that patient medications were correct. Staff raised patient confidentiality in open wards and lack of experience using virtual healthcare as barriers to the implementation.

Conclusion: Feasibility was demonstrated by high service utilisation, detection of medication-related issues, and measures of acceptability from patients and staff. The VCPS offers a solution to enhance sustainability and service agility by delivery of clinical services when face-to-face is not practicable or available. Further research is required to demonstrate efficacy and to confirm patient acceptability.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)79-86
Number of pages8
JournalJournal of Pharmacy Practice and Research
Issue number2
Early online date08 Mar 2023
Publication statusPublished - Apr 2023


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