Office of Rural Health and Primary Care - pharmacy models

Successful Model for Rural and Underserved Communities

Ottertail’s Econodrug

Target Population: Everyone in Ottertail with medication needs

Geographic Area: Ottertail, Minnesota

Description: Ottertail’s Econodrug is a telepharmacy, which allows the store to provide prescription medication to customers without a pharmacist on the premises. In Ottertail this saves residents a 20-30 mile drive to the next pharmacy.

Pharmacist Polly Steeves and four technicians work full time between the Ottertail and Wahpeton, North Dakota locations. Their computer technician is in the telepharmacy once a week and available on call. Econodrug’s parent company in Wahpeton offers a wide variety of medications quickly.

Interactive technology focuses a camera on the work of pharmacy technicians to monitor and help them as they fill prescriptions. The equipment is so advanced that it can pick up the numbers and letters imprinted on pills.

Steeves presented detailed information on her telepharmacy proposal to the Minnesota Board of Pharmacy. The Minnesota Board does not use pharmacy technicians as much as North Dakota does, so they were skeptical. The Board did like the idea that there would be a pharmacist there two to three times a week if the volume increased enough, full time. The pharmacy reports all prescription numbers and any errors monthly to the Board.

Steeves also provides information on insurance that her customers can understand, counsels customers on brands of medicines and how to save money and explains insurance forms.

Plans for the Future:

  • Screen for cholesterol, diabetes and blood pressure.
  • Move to a largest space in a new strip mall where they will be able to offer products beyond medications, such as gifts, health and beauty supplies, in a more convenient location.

Contact : Polly Steeves, R. Ph.
387 S. 11 th St.
Wahpeton, ND 58075
701-642-2336 phone
701-642-1470 fax

A printable version of this model (PDF: 21KB/1pg)

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Updated Thursday, February 10, 2011 at 10:37AM