Enhancing Patient Care
The Evolution to Virtual Pharmacy in the 2030 ASHP Healthcare Initiatives
patient care

The inclusion of virtual pharmacy in the inpatient hospital setting is a significant shift towards integrating technology with healthcare, presenting unparalleled opportunities to elevate patient care. As we progress towards the 2030 American Society of Health-System Pharmacists (ASHP) healthcare initiatives, the adoption and optimization of Virtual Pharmacy stand out as key priorities for integrated health systems.

Strategic Implementation and Focus Areas

The strategic deployment of Virtual Pharmacy has revolutionized traditional pharmacy roles by transitioning aspects of order verification to environments with fewer distractions. Virtual Pharmacy associates are equipped with a focused work queue that aligns with the organization's strategic goals. This approach has allowed Virtual Pharmacists to concentrate on high-volume orders needing quick turnaround times, specifically targeting departments such as the Emergency Room, Surgery, Maternity, Postpartum, and Nursery. By reallocating these tasks off site, on-site pharmacists are afforded the bandwidth to focus more on operational duties and specialized clinical care, perfecting the balance between efficiency and quality patient care.

Operational Efficiency and Patient Care

An extensive review of hospital operations in one health system from January 2018 to June 2023 illuminates the substantial impact of Virtual Pharmacy, particularly within the Emergency Department (ED).

Efficiency in Order Verification

A notable achievement within the Virtual Pharmacy initiative has been the significant improvement in the order verification process. Order verification within 10 minutes significantly improved by 16.7%, jumping from 73.6% to 90.3%. This progress not only met but exceeded the system's target, confirming over 90% of orders are verified within a critical time limit. This is only made possible by the improved efficiency of Virtual Pharmacy.

Accelerated Antibiotic Administration

The efficacy of Virtual Pharmacy extends to enhancing the timeliness of antibiotic administration for critical cases:

  • Pre-Virtual Pharmacy: 28.2%
  • Post-Virtual Pharmacy: 50.9%
  • One specific Location:
    • Baseline: 35.3%
    • During Virtual Pharmacy: 68.6% (↑33.3%)
    • After Virtual Pharmacy Removal: 54.9% (↓13.7%)

These statistics highlight Virtual Pharmacy's vital role in speeding up essential interventions, thereby improving patient outcomes.

Expansion Opportunities and Patient Engagement

Virtual Pharmacy's existing structure offers significant potential for growth and expansion to the outpatient settings. Examples include Medication Therapy Management (MTM) and patient counseling. By providing personalized care through tailored MTM and counseling, Virtual Pharmacy could significantly boost patient engagement, promote shared decision-making and adherence to treatment plans. This approach not only elevates patient safety and outcomes but also presents scalable opportunities for the further integration of Virtual Pharmacy services within the healthcare delivery framework.


Virtual Pharmacy is not an entirely new concept but is at the forefront of healthcare innovation and is strategically positioned to fulfill the ambitious goals of the 2030 ASHP healthcare initiatives. Through strategic implementation, operational efficiencies, and expansion opportunities, Virtual Pharmacy is reshaping the healthcare landscape, setting new benchmarks for efficiency, clinical outcomes and patient engagement. As the healthcare sector continues to evolve, the ongoing enhancement and integration of Virtual Pharmacy will be crucial in realizing a more efficient and patient-centric healthcare ecosystem.