There’s still a lot of work to be done to get the nation’s pharmacies, big and small, connected with each other and with patients. For rural pharmacies this connection can mean the difference between solvency and closure.
One Iowa City, Iowa-based startup TelePharm, has built a secure, proprietary tech platform that connects rural pharmacies to pharmacists in centralized locations.
The company, which was founded in 2012, has raised a $2.5 million funding round led by well-known medical tech venture capitalist John Pappajohn and Iowa state Board of Regents President Bruce Rastetter.
In the past five years, scores of rural pharmacies have closed because of record low reimbursements from insurance companies coupled with the high cost of keeping a full-time pharmacist on staff. TelePharm can lower a pharmacy’s overhead considerably by using telepharmacy technology to eliminate the need for a full-time pharmacist.
The platform enables a central pharmacist located somewhere else (in a larger city, perhaps) to inspect and verify prescriptions that are being dispensed by technicians in a rural pharmacy. A privacy-compliant videoconferencing feature allows patients to get face-to-face consults with a pharmacist when needed, even from home.
TelePharm also includes patient scheduling, prescription, and workflow applications and can integrate with pharmacy management systems and electronic health records systems, the company says.
The platform is already connecting eight pharmacies in Iowa, Illinois, and Texas. TelePharm says it will use the new capital to grow its 10-person staff, scale up operations, and expand the number of remote services it offers through the platform.
“This funding will strengthen our position in the industry and allow us to continue making our product more efficient and effective for both patients and healthcare providers,” TelePharm CEO Roby Miller said in a statement.
MIller’s company also announced that it’s a part of San Francisco-based accelerator Rock Health’s stable of digital health startups.