Electronic Medication Refill Systems Improving Provider Productivity

This article details the study of a new electronic system implemented by Sharp Rees-Stealy Medical Group in 2014. In their new system, all incoming refill requests are received electronically and distributed to a more focused, centralized team. With a more centralized team, certain protocols were establish to better organized the incoming prescriptions from the personal care physicians that were sending them. The system was used to store and sort multiple types of information, including things such as dosing adjustment and the coordination between their pharmacy and other mail order pharmacies. In 2014, 302,592 tasks were taking in by the newly implemented system which resulted in 140,350 interventions being completed.

This article is important to the field of pharmacy because efficiency is one of the hallmarks of the practice of pharmacy in a community setting. Taking time out of activities such as taking in and organizing incoming prescriptions opens up for more time for the pharmacists to complete other, more important tasks. This includes the consultation of patients, checking outgoing prescriptions for accuracy, and other services such as providing immunizations. In the results and conclusion portion of the study, it reported that the new electronic system saved the team from 20-30 minutes each day. This might not seem very significant at first, but it opens the door for more time to complete patient-focused activities rather than logistical duties with an extra half-hour for the pharmacist and his or her team.

One question I would have for the team would be how to get more physicians on board to use the system. It would seem that getting them to comply and use the system with all their patients would be the most difficult part of making systems like this be functional and successful.
J Manag Care Spec Pharm, 2016 Mar;22(3):204-208.

1 thought on “Electronic Medication Refill Systems Improving Provider Productivity”

  1. I think a more centralized team receiving prescriptions is a great advancement for community pharmacy. Not only have we strayed from the paper systems of early pharmacy and moved towards electronic records we are now using even more advanced technology for managing such a huge amount of incoming prescriptions. The problem with community pharmacy that exists revolved around the idea that pharmacists are highly qualified for clinical roles, but there is no time or reimbursement method for making these services a reality in all communities. Hopefully the technology mentioned in this article allows clinical pharmacists to have more time to complete these unique tasks, which would greatly benefit the community. Physicians need to realize that the number of healthcare providers relative to patients makes it impossible for them to really make a difference in every patient’s life. If there is a way to show physicians that we can lighten some of their workload and help their patients with the clinical services we provide then this new technology will be fully utilized.

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