Since CMMD and Associates opened in 2004, our team has done constant and daily analysis of what we do well and what we can improve. Every day I receive honest and helpful emails from you, our patients, who help keep my finger on the pulse of our systems. I love the positive feedback and notes of thanks, and while they sometimes hurt to read, I also welcome the complaints — I need to know what we are not doing well, so we can improve upon it.
Over the last six months, our largest volume of complaints has been in the area of prescription refills. And while I never like to hear about unhappy or inconvenienced patients, my biggest fear is a medication refill error. With the US Surgeon General fighting a national opioid epidemic, and patients juggling multiple medications for chronic conditions, prescription accuracy keeps me up at night.
So, we took a long, hard look at our process. I consulted with my two, nearly-full-time prescription nurses. I personally polled patients, doctors, and pharmacists. I spent hours reading how other practices do it, so we could fix our refills problem.
The medication refill triangle has three points: patient, doctor, and pharmacy. It turns out, the fewest errors and inefficiencies occur when the pharmacy communicates directly, via electronic health record, with the doctor’s office. Simple things, like scripts being sent to the wrong pharmacy, and big things, like the wrong dose being refilled, or an unforeseen interaction with a medication prescribed by another doctor, can be avoided by utilizing the pharmacy as the point of contact.
So here is our plan, effective July 1:
When in need of a refill, please contact your pharmacy of choice, and ask them to send us an electronic request. Be sure to allow 48 hours for this request to be processed. Contact your pharmacy early in the day, and early in the week; requests received after 3:00pm will be addressed the next business day, and may take up to 48 hours for completion.
This will be the process for local pharmacies, as well as mail-order pharmacies. If your pharmacy offers automated refills, we encourage you to use this feature. When you are in the office, be sure to request refills on any medications that may be coming due.
For controlled substances such as narcotic pain medications, ADD medications, and sleep medications, you may use our online form to submit your refill request. Unfortunately, not all pharmacies are able to request controlled substances on behalf of patients.
If you take a benzodiazepine such as Ativan, Xanax, or Klonopin, regularly, you will need to make an appointment and discuss your refill with your provider.
To ask us a question or check the status of a refill, send us a message at firstname.lastname@example.org anytime, or, you are welcome to call the office.
Our goal is to eliminate medication errors, enhance efficiency, and maintain the high level of customer service that CMMD and Associates is founded upon. Thank you for coming along with us as we work on a better system. Please let us know how your experiences change with this new approach. It is a work in progress, for sure.
With my thanks,
Christine Meyer, MD