Pharmacy Appreciation Month: A Pharmacist’s Perspective on how we can Improve Collaboration with Prescribers

By Seema Nayani

March is Pharmacy Appreciation Month, a yearly national campaign to celebrate pharmacists and their contributions to Canada’s health system. To contribute to the conversation with my fellow pharmacists this month, I’d like to reflect on our expanded role in caring for patients during the pandemic and discuss how we can collaborate with prescribers more efficiently.

Pharmacy Appreciation Month: A Pharmacist’s Perspective on how we can Improve Collaboration with Prescribers

During the pandemic, pharmacists have continued to be key points of contact for patient prescriptions, health care information, and education. However, we have expanded our role by administering COVID-19 vaccinations and testing, and we have increased our scope so we can better help patients manage opioids safely.

With this expanded role, there have been new opportunities for pharmacists to collaborate with other health care professionals to ensure patients get the best care. But sometimes, collaboration can be challenging, especially in community practice. For example, communicating with prescribers about a prescription isn’t always easy since we are often using an unreliable and outdated technology — the fax machine.  Pharmacists, physicians, nurse practitioners, and other health care professionals need modern tools to collaborate efficiently; the fax machine certainly isn’t the answer. One tool that does make sense is PrescribeIT®, Canada’s national e-prescribing service.

PrescribeIT® integrates with both the electronic medical records used by prescribers, and pharmacy management systems, enabling e-prescribing directly within clinical workflows. Pharmacists can also more easily connect with prescribers to ask questions, request clarifications about prescriptions, and collaborate on patient care using the secure clinical communication feature.

Many of the pharmacists and prescribers I have talked to who use PrescribeIT® say the clinical communication feature was a ‘game changer’ once they started using it. Since they can securely message clinicians they collaborate with directly from their clinical systems, they can save time and can avoid having to log into separate solutions or portals. Having the ability to securely communicate from a clinical system also allows a message history to be captured within the patient’s record, which is essential for continuity of care.

While I have heard pharmacists share the benefits of PrescribeIT’s clinical communication, like being able to receive responses in a timelier manner than traditional methods, I have also heard that streamlining is needed to fully maximize the potential of this valuable feature.

By listening to clinician feedback just like this, my PrescribeIT® colleagues and I can get important insights about the value the service is providing and how it can be improved. Through the PrescribeIT® Product Excellence feedback process and the PrescribeIT® Workflow Excellence stream, we are taking feedback from the field and developing resources to support our partners to address high priority areas to ensure all of PrescribeIT’s features, including the clinical communication workflow, are optimized to support collaboration.

As we celebrate pharmacists this month, let’s show our appreciation by listening to their needs and supporting them with the right technology and tools so they can collaborate efficiently with other health care professionals to ensure patients get the best care.

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About the author
Seema Nayani

Seema Nayani

Seema Nayani is a practicing pharmacist, and continuously looks for opportunities to implement digital health solutions to improve patient care and the clinician experience. She is the Manager, Medication Services at Canada Health Infoway where she provides clinical expertise and support to a number of Infoway initiatives, including PrescribeIT®. Seema graduated from the University of Toronto, and holds certifications in Healthcare Information and Management Systems, Geriatrics and Diabetes.