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September 13, 2017 10:06 PM

Avera eCARE Pharmacy Expanding Quickly

Avera is expanding quickly in places and ways you might not expect.

Avera eCARE Pharmacy now has 100 sites and two locations.

Welcome to the future of health care. An Avera pharmacist is advising a hospital in Bottineau, North Dakota about medications.

Avera eCARE Pharmacy connects pharmacists in Sioux Falls to doctors in hospitals across the nation.

"We review each of the orders that the physicians write in the hospital. We assure that the dose is correct, that they're monitored appropriately, and that there are no allergies to those medications or drug interactions," eCARE Pharmacy Officer Andrea Darr said.

The service started in 2008 with just a handful of South Dakota hospitals.

"We had Miller, Wessington Springs, and Parkston, along with a couple of others," eCARE Pharmacy Officer Cari Davis said.

Now patients stretch across the nation.

"Now we're actually in the suburbs of Denver, Colorado and the suburbs of Dallas, Texas, San Antonio. We're in El Paso, Las Vegas and Houston," Davis said.

In fact, Avera just opened a second eCARE Pharmacy location in San Antonio, Texas.

"Part of the reason for that is it helps us expand more quickly, and it helps relieve the burden on the individual pharmacists for getting so many state licenses," Darr said.

So why would health care systems, especially those in big cities, pay for this service? 

No matter where you are, it can be difficult to find pharmacists to work the night shift.

"We do offer it 24/7, 365. We are always here. It does provide an economical way for smaller facilities to be able to provide that level of safety to their patients without ever taking a break," Darr said.

Which is why these pharmacists don't see a break in their growth.
"I remember when we started, I asked, 'When will we stop?' I was given a number. We have far surpassed that number. I said, 'I don't think there's an end in sight. Is there?' Everybody said, 'No. There's no end in sight,'" Davis said.

No end in sight for a company that has a vision of health care's future.

eCARE now employs around 30 pharmacists. It started with just one in 2008.

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