Cover Story | Gaining Traction

An Information Exchange Network Model

Jason Briscoe: “There are examples out there. For instance, we’ve seen technology come into the market that remove pain points for a pharmacy related to the prior authorization process. It makes it much more easy for us to identify a prior authorization as necessary and forward that onto the prescriber. It eliminates pain points at the prescriber’s office too, around inbound phone calls or inbound manual faxes, and every pharmacy having a different way of notifying a prescriber’s office about a prior authorization. Then fast forward to the plan and they have particular forms they want filled out in particular ways. Well, here’s an example of a network involving multiple entities that has removed pain points and all the while, let’s hope that the patient is benefiting because they’re faster to receive the medication they were intended to receive.”

A Proposal: Make Clinical Data Exchange Like an e-Prescription

Jason Briscoe: “What if clinical data for a patient could be exchanged in some type of basket of information. What I’m envisioning are bi-directional communications in the form of controlled orders that are modeled on an electronic prescription. But instead of an prescription order, now here’s this electronic instruction that attaches to the patient record with critical clinical data in it.”

Delivering Patient Education More Uniformly and Efficiently

Karen Merrill: “I think we need to be doing more in our stores with technology, whether it’s self-serve kiosks, laptops, and the patient’s own devices. As it is, we’re asking our pharmacists to say the same thing over and over as they counsel and educate each patient. We have a marketing division within our group here and we’re putting together training videos and we’re using technology to say, “While I’m filling your prescription, sit down and watch this little video clip that we put together of your pharmacist telling you how to use your inhaler or why your medication is important for your diagnosis and what you can expect from taking it correctly.”

Jason Briscoe: “That’s an approach we’re exploring as well, because not only is it important that we free up our pharmacists’ time, but you also meet patients in a way that they want to be met. If somebody would prefer a video that they can pull up on their smartphone at a later time to reading a patient education insert or having a direct consultation with our pharmacist, they should have that choice. We want to provide a whole chest of tools that effectively takes care of the patient in a way that they would like to be taken care of, and this can make us more operationally efficient at the same time, well I think that’s a really good approach.”

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Creating Rules-based Protocols to Manage Patients

Jason Briscoe: “Whether it’s identifying the right patients and prescriptions for central fill, the patients that should be enrolled in your medication synchronization program, or those that should be contacted about other services like immunizations, there needs to be some technology and integration and some planning to do this efficiently. You need to have the ability to identify those patients within your pharmacy management system and them, for example, set rules about how and when to send notifications.”

“I’ll give you an example. If somebody is not enrolled in our med sync program, then we want to send an outbound notification as soon as all of their prescriptions reach a status of waiting for pickup. On the other hand, if we’re working ahead on a patient that is enrolled in med sync, we may have those prescriptions prepared three days in advance of when they would expect to pick them up on their appointment date. In that case, we don’t necessarily want a text message or phone call going out three days in advance of their appointment date that says, your prescriptions are ready for pickup, because now you’ve created a possibility for confusion. That patient might come right in to pick up the prescriptions and you won’t have the time blocked that you may want to spend with them. That’s just one simple scenario.”

Setting Expectations for Store-Level Staff

Jason Briscoe: “We preach to our folks: Let us here take care of the dollars and cents. You, as a pharmacist at store level, your challenge and what we’re tasking you to do is be the best pharmacist you can be. I hope some day that pharmacy care is not as transactional. That its not so much, here comes this opportunity forwarded from a plan through an MTM platform to a pharmacy. That’s very transactional. Some day, if we continue to prove our worth, we’re going to have more skin in the game. It’s almost be careful what you ask for. We’re asking to be measured and paid based on how we care for patients. The time will come when that’s in fact the way things work. But when it does, we all better be ready to execute. So leveraging technology along that way to free up time so that store-level pharmacists can do these things is of the utmost importance.” CT