May 28, 2015
1 min read

Pharmacist-managed medication refill clinics ease physician workload

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Establishing a pharmacist-managed medication refill clinic decreased workloads for physicians, and improved refill-request processing time and patient care, according to recently published data. 

“The findings of this study demonstrate the positive impact of a clinical pharmacist managed medication refill clinic. An advantage of the collaboration was that the clinical pharmacist had the ability to review both the pharmacy medication record as well as the [electronic medical record], helping to easily identify medication noncompliance, incorrect medication request, therapeutic duplications and requests for which the patient already had a prescription on file,” the researchers wrote.

Researchers conducted a case study, from a cohort receiving refill approvals or denials from a clinical pharmacist from 2008 to 2010, to evaluate the effectiveness of pharmacist-run refill centers on physician workloads.

During the 2 year study period, 5,706 refill requests were managed by the clinical pharmacist, which resulted in a 60% decrease in physician refill requests.

Among all refill requests, 42% required an intervention from the pharmacist, which included patient reminders for lab testing or physician visits, patients requesting incorrect medications and patient failure to request prescription refills.

The researchers noted that for future medication refill centers, a full-time clinical pharmacist may be a good option to fully oversee the center and further decrease physician refill requests. 

“Chronic diseases are a significant cause of morbidity and mortality, especially in patients with poor adherence. The increase in morbidity resulting from patient adherence may in turn cause undue burden on the health care system. As the number of individuals seeking medical care increases, the demand on physician time similarly increases. Multidisciplinary team approaches to patient care and chronic disease management, such as those involving pharmacist-physician collaborations, have resulted in positive outcomes in patient care, as well as patient and physician satisfaction,” the researchers wrote. – by Casey Hower

Disclosure: The researchers report no relevant financial disclosures.