Case Study: Pharmacy and ED Doctors Unite

Case Study: Pharmacy and ED Doctors Unite10 Mar 2021

Emergency Consult and Waikato’s Anglesea Pharmacy have partnered to establish new model of care where the pharmacy can be a patient's first port of call.

The doctors behind the tele-health service Emergency Consult assert that their online consultations are intended to not only assist the general public but also support their healthcare colleagues on the frontline.

Dr Martyn Harvey, Emergency Consult’s clinical director, says “We work with healthcare providers, particularly those without doctors onboard 24/7, or whose doctors are becoming overwhelmed, to provide expert back-up. We’re not here to compete for patients, we’re here to provide an alternative pathway to fast, robust care and take some pressure off.”

A tidy example of this is the symbiotic relationship that has been established with Waikato’s Anglesea Pharmacy. The pharmacy has established a dedicated consult room equipped with a computer and camera – ready for walk-ins that present with illness or injury that require attention from an emergency doctor.

Anglesea Pharmacy’s Kim Robb is a clinical nurse specialist who also manages the facility’s Health Hub. Their Health Hub compromises nurse-led clinics for wound care, hearing testing, all vaccinations, cervical screening, blood glucose testing, sleep services and more.

Ms Robb says the nurse or pharmacist attending to a client will sit in on the video call with an Emergency Consult doctor. “It’s a really comprehensive and seamless service. The nurse assisting is able to take temperatures or look in ears and provide observations. The doctor will speak directly to the patient. And by the time the client walks out of the consult room we’re usually already preparing any scripts or treatments behind the counter.”

She says the response to such personalised care has been entirely positive, “I don’t think clients even realise that they’ve gone straight to the top of the tree and spoken directly to a top hospital ED consultant. They just know that it was easy, they were walked through the process, and they got everything sorted quick smart.”

Many of the patients referred to Emergency Consult via Anglesea Pharmacy have presented with wounds that require attention or infections. “They’re not major medical emergencies like car accidents or heart attacks but they are serious and need to be dealt with today” says Ms Robb.

“Because we’re an emergency pharmacy, open until 11pm every day of the year, we often see people at the end of their tether. They may have spent the day trying to get an appointment with their GP, or their issue may have escalated after-hours.”

Thanks to this new service a client requiring a prescription or higher oversight does not need to be sent away; they get ‘seen’ by a doctor on the spot, enabling access to the right treatment, referrals, and medication quickly and efficiently.

Ms Robb estimates that only a small percentage of clients seen by Emergency Consult need further care and are referred up to Waikato Hospital. “Where a client does need to visit the hospital, the doctor will explain exactly where to go, who to see, and their notes go with them”, says Ms Robb.

Dr Harvey, who is also the senior ED physician at the Waikato Hospital emergency department, says that the service has been designed to alleviate unnecessary waiting and helps triage patients, “The Anglesea Pharmacy-Emergency Consult arrangement means that only those people who need hospital care end up in the hospital. Most are provided with everything they need at the pharmacy and are happy and relieved not to end up in ED.”

The Emergency Consult service is just one in a suite of services that Anglesea Pharmacy provides in pursuit of their “first in care” motto. Far from a standard chemist retailer, Anglesea Pharmacy comprises the Health Hub with its extensive rang of clinic services, a Hardy’s health food store, and inner-city delivery service.

Find out more about Anglesea Pharmacy.
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