Refill Request Metrics: What You Should Be Measuring

Forward-thinking healthcare organizations are constantly looking for ways to be more efficient, create capacity, and improve the overall delivery of care. One area of focus that can have a significant impact on reducing provider burnout, improving patient satisfaction, and more is the prescription refill request workflow.

Every organization processes refills a little differently. Some are delegated, some are not. Some have a centralized team, others are decentralized. Some have standard, written refill protocols, while other organizations may have loosely-defined protocols. Regardless of how refill requests are completed, here are a couple of metrics every organization should be monitoring to help ensure peak efficiency.

Turnaround Time

This is the average time it takes for a refill to be sent back to the pharmacy after receiving the initial request. A common benchmark for this metric is 24-48 hours, though it’s not uncommon for turnaround time to reach 72+ hours, especially when providers are processing their own refill requests. Reducing turnaround time to 24 hours or less positively impacts patient satisfaction and reduces the number of duplicate requests received.

Staff Productivity

Staff productivity is often measured as the number of refill requests that can be completed per hour or day by one FTE. This metric is most closely associated with the long-term viability of your refill request workflow because it ensures processes are scalable and cost effective across the entire organization.

If providers are processing refills themselves, this metric will vary greatly based on volume and efficiency of each provider. Organizations that have a centralized, delegated approach, however, typically see 50-100 refill requests per FTE per day. Top performing sites that use refill automation technology can see this metric reach over 500 – an impressive goal to work up to!

Another way to measure productivity may be the number of minutes spent per request. An industry average is 5-10 minutes, but with refill automation technology, that can be reduced to 2-3 minutes or less.

Measuring these metrics is only the first step to improving refill workflow efficiencies though. Once you have a baseline, you must choose where you want to focus your improvement efforts, set a goal, and determine how you’ll reach the goal. Then, continually monitor and evaluate to track progress and make adjustments as necessary.