Cardinal Health acquires TelePharm, a digital health startup aimed at retail pharmacies

By Jonah Comstock

Cardinal Health, an Ohio-based healthcare products and services company, has acquired TelePharm, an Iowa-based company which, among other things, uses telemedicine to connect pharmacists to patients. The sale price was not disclosed. The Des Moines Register broke the news

TelePharm was founded in 2012. It raised one $2.5 million funding round in 2014, from venture capitalist John Pappajohn and Bruce Rastetter, president of the Iowa state Board of Regents. It was also a Rock Health portfolio company. 

TelePharm has several different businesses that help pharmacists spread their expertise across multiple pharmacies. This allows local chains with spaced out rural pharmacies to reduce their overhead significantly. One business, TeleCheck, allows for remote verification of medications, one of the most important and time-consuming jobs pharmacists do. 

The other service, which actually allows pharmacists to virtually interact with the patient directly, is called TeleCounsel. It's used by hospitals with a pharmacist on staff to provide discharge counseling for patients leaving the hospital. Talking with a pharmacist before leaving the hospital leads to better adherence, but is often difficult to facilitate because it requires one pharmacist to be in so many different places in a large hospital or hospital system. With TeleCounsel, a pharmacist can talk to many different patients and even counsel patients after they go home.

Cardinal Health told the Des Moines Register that TelePharm's technology will help support existing services. Though based in Ohio, Cardinal Health has 37,000 employees worldwide. The company provides medical products and pharmaceuticals to various healthcare stakeholders, as well as various offerings aimed at cutting costs and enhancing supply chain efficiency from hospital to home. They offer a number of services for retail pharmacies.