Overall, clinicians were supportive of the virtual models of care however all participants commented on challenges with pharmacists not having a physical presence on IPUs.
The transition to virtual models of care during the COVID-19 pandemic has brought about a paradigm shift in medication management. This study explores the experiences and perspectives of hospital clinicians on this transition, particularly focusing on the medication management and safety issues of COVID-19 patients.
- The study was conducted through semi-structured qualitative interviews with doctors, pharmacists, and nurses involved in the management of COVID-19 patients in a virtual model of care (home or hotel).
- Clinicians were interviewed face-to-face or via MS Teams between March and May 2022.
- The interview schedule included 13 questions and prompts to explore perceptions of medication management and safety aspects.
“When you’re in front of a patient, you can see if [they are] understanding what you’re saying. And obviously you’ve got a medication list in front of, you’ve got the physical meds so it’s a lot easier to counsel and to see if they understand. But when you’re giving someone counselling over the phone, you’ve got nothing. Essentially, you’re just hoping that they can obviously read the medication summary and take the meds appropriately. But you really have no idea.”
— Study Participant
- Four major themes emerged from the data: complexities involved in efficient handover between Inpatient Units (IPUs) and virtual models of care; lack of clarity on roles and responsibilities between hospital and primary care clinicians; communication challenges when pharmacists work remotely; proactive management of specific medication safety risks.
- A common thread throughout the themes was concerns for potential impact on patient safety.
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