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.