Document Type


Publication Date



Access to pharmaceutical services in rural areas has been affected by a national shortage of pharmacists. Telepharmacy, a subspecialty of telemedicine, has involved the utilization of telecommunications to deliver pharmaceutical services to consumers located at a distance. The number of telepharmacy programs in the United States and worldwide has been progressively increasing. The purpose of this research project was to examine the effect of the utilization of telepharmacy on rural hospitals’ access to pharmaceutical services. The methodology of this qualitative study was a literature review. Four electronic databases were employed to retrieve peer-reviewed journal articles, and three websites were accessed for pertinent information. Sixy-six articles were utilized as references. The findings demonstrate that telepharmacy networks have provided some benefits through which pharmaceutical access to rural areas has been enhanced. Networks have hastened medication order entry and order processing, increased on-call consultations and after-hours orders, and reconciled medications. Various states have reported promising results after implementing these networks. Moreover, networks have also permitted thorough checking of orders in both urban and rural pharmacies, thereby limiting medication errors. Overall, telepharmacy has had a positive effect on access to pharmaceutical services in rural areas. Such networks could diminish the problem of rural pharmacist understaffing, especially after hours and during vacations. Telepharmacy could also aid in reducing medication errors, which have increased as a result of the inability to recruit and retain pharmacists in rural areas. Telepharmacy should be utilized as a tool to maintain the pharmacist-consumer relationship.


Copyright © 2018 The American Health Information Management Association (AHIMA). Reprinted with permission. All rights reserved.