With nearly 70 percent of the American population using at least one prescription drug and more than 50 percent using two, it is critical for health systems to have efficient prescription renewal processes. Although medication usage is high and continues to rise, with a seamless renewal workflow system, healthcare professionals can quickly approve prescription requests and avoid delays in patients receiving their prescriptions.
In spite of the widespread (and increasing) use of prescription drugs, many health systems still rely on time-consuming renewal processes that take up to three days to complete one renewal. Facing an average of 10 renewal requests per day, providers spend up to 30 minutes per day on prescription renewals, taking time away from patient care. These refill management demands contribute to provider burnout and leave patients waiting days for their medication while the renewal request sits in a provider’s inbox.
Standardized protocols allow physicians to transition renewal tasks to clinic staff, but many prescription renewal protocols are vague, lack specificity, and are hard to locate in a busy clinic setting. Additionally, most existing workflows require a provider or staff member to temporarily abandon the EHR to reference a protocol, leaving room for distraction that could lead to errors, and increasing the time it takes to complete the renewal. Relying on this manual process can also result in improper chart review or mistakes that can compromise safety and quality.
Healthfinch® by Health Catalyst: Charlie™ for Refill Management optimizes a health system’s prescription renewal workflow by using its platform to embed medication renewal protocols directly into the EHR. Standardized, evidence-based protocols allow physicians to offload renewal delegation tasks to clinic staff, freeing up 30 minutes of provider time per day to focus on top-of-license work and spend more time with patients.
With every renewal request, Charlie for Refill Management presents all relevant patient data (e.g., the patient’s last renewal, dosage, visit, and labs) and compares it against more than 1,000 protocols—based on leading health experts like the Food and Drug Administration, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, and American Diabetes Association—to determine whether the request is safe to renew.
At the time of a renewal review, the staff member in charge of completing the request can simultaneously review multiple areas of a patient’s history (e.g., if the dosage has changed or if the medication is still on the patient’s active medication list) to ensure the medication is safe to approve. Rather than collect this information manually, Charlie for Refill Management automatically scours a patient’s chart to gather the necessary information and present it directly in the EHR, attached to the renewal request. It even goes a step further by recommending the next steps and clearly marking each request as “In Protocol” (meets all protocol criteria and can be approved) or “Out of Protocol” (may need patient follow-up or provider review) (Figure 1).
Health systems realize significant time and cost savings when using Charlie for Refill Management, both from enhanced renewal workflows, as well as delivering higher quality care by closing care gaps. For example, Martin’s Point Health Care estimated that each renewal request was taking approximately five minutes to complete. After implementing Charlie for Refill Management, renewal request time dropped to just a minute and a half, saving 3,300 hours of staff time in six months while also reducing duplicate renewal requests.
Fueled by a robust, evidence-based protocol library with dedicated workflow optimization support, health systems of any size can reach peak efficiency in routine prescription renewal tasks. Healthfinch by Health Catalyst’s renewal solution, Charlie for Refill Management, streamlines prescription renewal workflows by embedding decision support for providers and their staff directly into the EHR. With a comprehensive view of patient information attached to each renewal request, providers can safely offload renewal tasks to staff, reduce turnaround time for patients, and uncover missed or additional revenue with proactive care gap identification.
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