How can you avoid at least these 5 key reasons for a call? One pharmacist has some guidance.
5 Top Reasons the Pharmacy Calls You And How to Avoid Them. Patient Care asked Alex Evans, PharmD, BCGP, to offer up 5 top reasons why the local pharmacy needs to call you. Click through the slideshow above to see which ones made the list and get tips on how to avoid these pesky calls altogether.
Alex Evans, PharmD, BCGP, works in community pharmacy in Jacksonville, Florida, and is preceptor at the University of Florida and Florida AM University.
Reason #1: Illegible Handwriting. While doctors' poor penmanship has long been a joke, it's nothing to laugh at when it could lead to the wrong medication dispensed or the wrong dose being taken. Don't think "Avandia" could look like "Coumadin"? Follow this link and assess for yourself.
How to Prevent this Call. The best way to prevent this type of call, if you havne't done it yet, is to get signed up for e-prescribing. You could hire a medical assistant with neat handwriting to write the prescriptions, or opt for printed, typed prescriptions.
Reason #2: Unclear Directions. Rather than guess what is meant by "Take 1 tab PO q4-6hr for arthritis pain" (after total knee replacement) or "Take 1 tab PO qAM PM," the pharmacist needs to call you before commiting these directions to a label and trying to interpret them for a patient.
How to Prevent this Call. Just read the prescription one more time beore you sign. To avoid this call, it is best to read the prescription before signing it to see if it makes sense. Also, please remember not to put directions in the comments section and leave conflicting directions in the sig section. The pharmacist doesn't want to guess which is correct.
Reason #3: Drug Interactions or Dosing Concerns. A pharmacist might call you if there are serious concerns about how a medication is being dosed, about it it being used unsafely, or because there are dangerous drug interactions that need attention.
How to Prevent This Call. If this call comes in, please take it or let us know when we can call back. Not all office assistants lack medical knowledge but we've all had an experience like the Zocor example above. This call will always be imporant.
Reason #4: Refill Requests. This is a common reason for a phone call from the pharmacy and there are ways to limit the number you receive in a day.
How to Prevent this Call. Include a fax number on the refill line and note that fax is your preferred way to receive requests. Or, sign up for e-prescribing so you can take refills electronically. However, there will likely always be a reason for a refill request by phone, but we can work to limit them.
Reason #5: Insurance Problems. These are just 2 examples of instructions on a prescription that will prompt a call from the pharmacy because insurance companies will not process the prescription without more detail. And, patients have been harmed5 as a result of such vague guidance.
How to Prevent this Call. While this call is a little harder to prevent, taking care of the 2 reasons illustrated in the previous slide will prevent the majority of these calls.
1. Duragesic package insert. Janssen pharmaceuticals. Accessed online June 10, 2018 at https://www.accessdata.fda.gov/drugsatfda_docs/label/2005/19813s039lbl.pdf2. Database of antiretroviral drug interactions: interactions with omeprazole and antiretrovirals. HIV InSite. University of California-San Francisco. Accessed online June 10, 2018 at http://hivinsite.ucsf.edu/insite?page=ar-00-02&post=8¶m=323. Tikosyn-dofetilide capsule. Daily Med. Accessed online June 10, 2018 at https://dailymed.nlm.nih.gov/dailymed/drugInfo.cfm?setid=02438044-d6a3-49e9-a1ac-3aad21ef2c8c#precdi4. FDA drug safety communication: new restrictions, contraindications, and dose limitations for Zocor (simvastatin) to reduce the risk of muscle injury. Food and Drug Administration 2011 June 8. Accessed June 10, 2018 at https://www.fda.gov/Drugs/DrugSafety/ucm256581.htm#Simvastatin_Dose_Limitations5. “Use as directed” can cause confusion for both patients and practitioners. MSA! Articles. Institute for Safe Medication Practices 2016 Aug 25. Accessed online June 10, 2018 at https://www.ismp.org/resources/use-directed-can-cause-confusion-both-patients-and-practitioners