Helping Pharmacists and Staff Do What They Love: Make People Feel Better

August 26, 2019

How often do pharmacists stand face to face with patients who are sick, tired or frustrated, who then walk away from the medication they need? Too often, according to many pharmacists we've talked to.

Patients are often surprised by the out of pocket cost of their medication when they reach the pharmacy or their prescription is delayed because a prior authorization is missing and must be completed before the prescription can be filled. When this happens, pharmacists are stuck making phone calls to or returning faxes from prescribers and health plans. Which means they aren’t spending time ensuring high quality medicines are prescribed, supplied, and explained. This is operational inefficiency at its “finest.”

More than two thirds of pharmacists have to call health plans to get drug formulary coverage information and one third of pharmacists spend time calling health plans to access medication cost information for patients.

And while helping patients feel better is what drives pharmacy staff, many pharmacists we’ve talked to have expressed their own frustrations in being pulled away from their passion (helping patients) in order to do paperwork, manually search for cheaper medication alternatives, track down authorizations, etc. With 37 percent of chain pharmacists reporting high stress levels directly associated with excessive paperwork, something needs to change.

Prolonged stress and a work-life imbalance are the top two reasons for pharmacy staff burnout.

Together with prescribers and pharmacists, Surescripts puts patients at the center of everything we do. In order to create a healthy experience for the patient, we must also support the people who care for them. Here are some of the things we’re doing to help pharmacists and staff evolve their role and work more efficiently:

  • Lowering the cost of e-prescribing (70% since 2009)
  • Leading the industry-wide transition to NCPDP SCRIPT standard v2017071
  • Improving the accuracy of e-prescription transactions (64% since 2016)
  • Recognizing the role pharmacies play in improving e-prescription accuracy through the White Coat Award for pharmacies

Beyond that, the Surescripts Network Alliance contributes to a better prescription experience for patients and pharmacists:

Pharmacies play a significant role in the patient journey, as well as healthcare overall. The Surescripts network helps bring more actionable intelligence into the prescribing workflow, gives pharmacists the ability to spend more time with patients, and eases their administrative burden to make work/life balance possible. Surescripts is committed to partnering with pharmacies to continue to create tools that improve the lives of patients and the people who care for them. Because it’s time to get pharmacists back to doing what they love.

What do you think? Is it time to get your pharmacy team back to doing what they love?

Related Articles

June 18, 2020

An Exercise in Trust: One MS Patient's Journey

Multiple sclerosis, a debilitating condition that continues to damage the central nervous system even when no new symptoms are present, requires specialty medications to help patients. Despite the impact of therapy for this chronic condition, patients often wait an excruciating amount of time – sometimes two weeks or more – to start therapy. Read more...
May 13, 2020

Survey Says: Specialty Pharmacists Want More Time for Patient Care

Specialty medications treat challenging chronic conditions such as cancer, multiple sclerosis and rheumatoid arthritis. Some specialty medications improve the quality of lives, some save lives. So why are patients waiting an average of four days — and up to 10 — to get their critical prescriptions filled? Read more...
January 27, 2020

Prescribing Specialty Medications Should Be Easy. And Now, It Is.

In my work developing new health IT products, I often hear stories about patients who go to the doctor and receive a devastating diagnosis. The story may start out simply enough, with a patient suffering from terrible headaches. But instead of being told they are dehydrated, suffering from a vitamin deficiency, or a lack of sleep, they get the news that they have cancer. Read more...