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Harrisburg, Pa. – A newly published study led by Harrisburg University of Science and Technology Professor Dr. Erik Hefti shows that patient access to telehealth care is associated with a reduced rate of hospitalizations during the COVID-19 pandemic.

The article, titled “Access to Telepharmacy Services May Reduce Hospital Admissions in Outpatient Populations During the COVID-19 Pandemic,” has been published by Telemedicine and e-Health. Hefti, who teaches Pharmaceutical Sciences at HU, co-wrote the article with colleagues Benjamin Wei and Kristen Engelen.

“Hospitalization is often a traumatic and expensive event. This study investigates the impact that access to telepharmacy services had on hospitalization rates here in Pennsylvania during the early stages of the COVID-19 pandemic,” Hefti said. “In a large outpatient population, we found that access to telepharmacy services was associated with significantly reduced rates of hospitalization, which is a desirable outcome from a payer, provider, and patient perspective. This opens the door into further, prospective investigations into the value of remote delivery of pharmacotherapeutic care.”

The following is an abstract from the work:

 “Avoidable hospital admissions put increased pressure on already strained health care resources, causing emotional and financial distress for patients and their families while taxing the health system. Pharmacist involvement in patient care has been shown to improve health care outcomes. Telepharmacy allows for personalized interaction and access to pharmacy services in a flexible format. The primary aim of this report is to explore the impact that access to a personalized telepharmacy service has on the hospital admission rate in an outpatient population before and during the COVID-19 pandemic.”

To view the study and its conclusions in its entirety, visit this link.

Harrisburg University’s offers a 36-semester hour Master of Science degree program in Pharmaceutical Sciences, which consists of advanced training in characterizing drug action and disposition.  More on the degree is found at


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