Posted on November 26, 2019 by Seema Nayani
This blog post builds upon a conversation with pharmacist Abhay Patel during our PrescribeIT® panel webinar on March 28, 2019.
Pharmacist Abhay Patel experienced dropped faxes at his pharmacies on almost a daily basis — faxes he would then have to chase down. This is one of the many reasons Patel moved to e-prescribing with PrescribeIT®.
Patel owns four community pharmacies in the Kitchener-Waterloo region. He’s also an early adopter of PrescribeIT®, Canada’s national e-prescribing service. During a recent conversation, Patel discussed how PrescribeIT® has improved workflow efficiency and system reliability at his pharmacies.
Common problems affect pharmacy workflows, from unreliable fax machines to indecipherable physician handwriting. Enthusiastic about technological solutions, Patel recognizes that these longstanding frustrations can be alleviated with the integration of new tools. “When I took over our first pharmacy, we were still based on paper faxes. We’ve slowly been progressing and increasing our workflow efficiency — we moved to e-faxes.”
But e-faxes only help so much. Although they’re sent via the internet rather than phone lines, they share many challenges with older fax models. Dropped faxes regularly impeded Patel’s workflow. “It’s just a hassle for everybody to try and chase after them.”
For Patel, this wasn’t good enough. Looking to introduce efficiency and simplicity to his pharmacies, he onboarded PrescribeIT® in all his locations eight months ago.
“With PrescribeIT®, we haven’t had issues,” he reports. “There are a lot of advantages over e-faxing.”
Notably, he appreciates facilitated communication with physicians. Because PrescribeIT® integrates seamlessly between a prescriber’s electronic medical record (EMR) and a pharmacy management system (PMS), it prevents the dropped prescriptions that dogged him previously. He explains, “There’s one system listening on both sides, so it knows if it [the prescription] has been delivered or not.”
Of course, implementing any new technology requires a learning curve. And with four locations, Patel works with pharmacists representing a broad range of experience. Yet PrescribeIT® fit well within their existing systems.
“There wasn’t a lot of additional training, in all fairness, for my staff…It was very simple.”
That simplicity and reliability also benefits patients. “For me,” Patel says, “it’s the squeaky wheel. We hear about it when there are problems. And for our PrescribeIT® patients, it’s been pretty seamless.” Not only do patients enjoy a more efficient experience, enhanced communication between physicians and pharmacists makes the experience more effective as well. “You get a more holistic view of the patient…and that speeds up the process.”
Like many industries, pharmacies are streamlining their practices. With their PMS, they are striving for paperless workflows; practitioners are moving away from phone calls and physical drop-offs. Patel acknowledges these changes require a shift in understanding among pharmacists, but he believes that tools like PrescribeIT® can help smooth the transition.
And in the end, PrescribeIT® serves the work pharmacists have done all along.
“PrescribeIT® is just a new route for the prescription to arrive to our pharmacy.”
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Seema 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.