PipelineRX to further expand telepharmacy at rural hospitals

Telepharmacy developer PipelineRX received another investment from the California Healthcare Foundation that will help it expand its services to more rural hospitals through a partnership with the California Hospital Association. The foundation in 2012 was one of the initial investors in San Francisco-based PipelineRX, which was founded by CEO Brian Roberts in 2010. Last year, […]

Telepharmacy developer PipelineRX received another investment from the California Healthcare Foundation that will help it expand its services to more rural hospitals through a partnership with the California Hospital Association.

The foundation in 2012 was one of the initial investors in San Francisco-based PipelineRX, which was founded by CEO Brian Roberts in 2010. Last year, it raised $5 million from AMN Healthcare Services.

The latest investment from the foundation wasn’t disclosed, but it will help the expansion to critical-access hospitals through the partnership with the CHA’s Rural Healthcare Center.

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The company is hoping to carve a niche in the rural healthcare market, pointing to research that shows rural hospitals have higher rates of medication errors, often because of a shortage of staff pharmacists, especially at nights and on weekend. In an attempt to address the shortage, PipelineRX took a chapter out of the staffing industry and began outsourcing pharmacists by way of telemedicine, allowing a pharmacists in San Francisco to remotely fill prescriptions at a hospital in, say, Eureka, or other far flung regions of California.

The idea was inspired by teleradiolgoy, which similarly takes medical images like CT scans and transmits them electronically to experts who can analyze and share ideas from thousands of miles away.

California has 34 critical access hospitals that currently don’t have access to 24-7 pharmacist care or review for administration of medications in the hospital setting, the company said.

“Many critical access Hospitals struggle with limited staff availability and therefore limited hours of on-site pharmacy coverage,” Peggy Broussard Wheeler, vice president of Rural Health Care and Governance at the California Hospital Association, said in a statement. “Telepharmacy companies like PipelineRx may be a solution to fill the gap and have a positive impact on medication safety in these communities.”

PipelineRX is also likely to build out an analytics platform that would look to capture potentially useful data such as geographical prescription patterns, different interventions that are taking place, safety measures and proper dosage amounts, among other areas.