Be Creative to Help Patients Get Their Meds

Pharmacies will maximize ways to get patients their meds...as more people stay home due to COVID-19.

Unique strategies can also improve convenience for patients with busy schedules, transportation barriers, etc.

Help patients adjust Rx fills. Offer med sync if your pharmacy provides it...or check profiles for other refillable Rxs...so patients can get multiple meds at the same time.

Stay on top of your state laws and payer policies...these are often relaxed in an emergency, such as a pandemic or natural disaster.

You may be able to fill emergency Rxs to tide patients over...refill Rxs early...or dispense a 90-day refill on maintenance meds (cholesterol, diabetes, etc), even if the original Rx was for 30 days.

Try calling for payer override codes if you get a days' supply or early refill reject. Document these exceptions appropriately.

Promote technology. Suggest patients use your pharmacy's app, online account, or text service...to check Rx status and costs.

Encourage prescribers to e-prescribe, phone, or fax Rxs...to help minimize wait time in the pharmacy and avoid handling paper Rxs.

Optimize drive-thru or "curbside" services. Continue to verify at least two patient identifiers (address, DOB, etc)...and stay especially alert if someone else is picking up for the patient.

Ask patients to double-check meds in the bag before they drive off...since this is the last stop before they take the med, and most Rxs can't be returned to stock once they leave the pharmacy.

Offer to mail or deliver meds. Confirm the patient's address, Rxs, and costs before sending...and share the expected delivery date.

Take extra steps when mailing or delivering certain meds.

For example, double-bag liquids in a zip-top bag and add extra stuffing to avoid spillage...use ice packs to keep refrigerated meds cool...and get a tracking number if mailing a controlled substance.

See our tech tutorial, Delivering and Mailing Prescriptions, for more tips on packaging, streamlining workflow, and regulatory issues.

And access our Coronavirus (COVID-19) Resource Hub for more guidance to help you navigate the pandemic, including on-demand webinars and CEs.

Key References

  • www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/hcp/pharmacies.html (4-28-20)
  • www.covidbestpractices.com/ (4-28-20)
  • ISMP Med Safety Alert! Community/Ambul Care 2020;19(3):1-4
  • https://naspa.us/resource/covid-19-information-from-the-states/ (4-28-20)
Pharmacy Technician's Letter. May 2020, No. 360510



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