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Implementation of a pharmacy-led virtual academic detailing program at the US Veterans Health Administration.

Himstreet JE, Shayegani R, Spoutz P, Hoffman JD, Midboe AM, Hillman A, Marin J, Chen A, Smith JP, Manning JM, Almeida A, Gray CP, Erhardt TA, Garcia CC, Freeman BA, Christopher MLD, Bounthavong M. Implementation of a pharmacy-led virtual academic detailing program at the US Veterans Health Administration. American journal of health-system pharmacy : AJHP : official journal of the American Society of Health-System Pharmacists. 2022 May 24; 79(11):909-917.

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PURPOSE: To provide a summary of the implementation of a virtual academic detailing pilot program at the US Department of Veterans Affairs (VA). SUMMARY: In September 2018, VA Pharmacy Benefits Management implemented a virtual academic detailing ("e-Detailing") pilot program across 3 regional networks. Academic detailing involves multifaceted collaborative outreach delivered by trained healthcare clinicians to other clinicians using targeted educational interventions that improve clinical decision-making. Across VA, academic detailing programs are primarily staffed by specially trained clinical pharmacist specialists. Implementation began with an in-person meeting to train academic detailers on using the virtual academic detailing platform (VA Video Connect) and virtual soft skills, which was followed by regular facilitation meetings to address issues and share experiences. During e-Detailing program implementation, coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) emerged, prompting the US Department of Health and Human Services to declare a public health emergency. VA followed with restrictions on nonessential travel for all employees, thus hampering in-person academic detailing activities. Fortunately, e-Detailing provided an alternative channel for academic detailers across VA to continue delivering critical outreach to providers during the pandemic. Qualitative assessment of academic detailers'' and providers'' perceptions on e-Detailing highlighted the need for local leadership support for e-Detailing and telehealth, the efficiency of virtual compared to in-person visits, and potential time savings resulting from avoidance of long commutes. CONCLUSION: The timing of e-Detailing implementation during the COVID-19 pandemic illustrates the need and potential for a virtual platform to deliver timely provider outreach.

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