Providing technology and process that brings ease, transparency, and efficiency to every phase of backup pharmacy management.
PRIMARY INTENDED OUTCOME
When a long-term care (LTC) or closed-door pharmacy partners with a healthcare facility, a federally mandated requirement obligates the pharmacy to provide medications to that facility within a certain amount of time. To remain in compliance, the LTC pharmacy must be able to respond at any time of day. The process of fulfilling this requirement can be challenging for these pharmacies, both financially and logistically. TracRx™, a secure, web-based portal by Care Services, parent company of MedCallRx and GeriScriptRx, allows LTC pharmacies to schedule backup medication fulfillment and delivery and provides visibility into the entire process – from order placement to point of delivery (POD) signature. Powerful analysis reporting identifies trends in drug use and provides opportunities to improve operational performance and manage costs.
When a LTC pharmacy receives a stat or after-hours drug request, the need usually involves an urgent situation where a patient may be unable to wait until the next scheduled delivery to receive medications. In these situations, the drug may not be available in a facility’s on-site emergency kit or dispensing unit, and the industry practice for emergency medication delivery is less than four hours, or at the next scheduled dose. For LTC pharmacies serving facilities in rural areas, or for requests that occur during off hours, driving into the pharmacy to fill and deliver medications is onerous and costly. “Choosing to partner with a backup pharmacy provider is an important business decision for many LTC pharmacies,” said Jay Palin, president of backup pharmacy services at Care Services. “Pharmacies have to weigh the cost of staffing an on-call or around-the-clock pharmacist versus using a backup pharmacy partner for after-hours or emergency support.” With standard backup pharmacy processes, following up on a medication order to check whether it has been filled, or to confirm pickup and delivery, is most often done by phone calls to both the delivery service and the dispensing retail pharmacy. “Typically pharmacy or delivery notifications are delayed,” said Palin. “In order to track status during the fulfillment and delivery process, the LTC pharmacist has to make several phone calls, which is clearly inefficient and time consuming.” Further, all too frequently, when LTC pharmacies decide a backup pharmacy order needs to be placed, decision points are not typically documented. “If the reason for using a backup pharmacy is not documented, it’s difficult for LTC pharmacy leadership to make operational decisions to improve future outcomes,” said Palin.
Care Services realized there was an opportunity to streamline the management of backup services and create more transparency in the process. “Given all that is on their [LTC pharmacies] plates, creating a new backup pharmacy process was not on the top of anyone’s list,” said Joe Boures, chief executive officer of Care Services. Boures decided to convene a client advisory council to learn more about the challenges faced by the company’s clients and tailor the company’s new technology portal to solve previously unmet needs. “Our clients were not bashful in providing a lot of insight about what would help them be more efficient and capture the data they needed.” The goal was to find the best entry point requiring the least amount of effort for LTC pharmacies with limited resources. To that end, Care Services created a user-friendly digital interface in TracRx that is poised to make backup pharmacy spreadsheets and duplicative data entry obsolete.
A new learning curve is never appealing to pharmacists who are already busy. “The biggest challenge [to TracRx] is probably change management,” said Boures, “until our clients see how easy and intuitive the portal is to use, the benefits they receive through proactive notifications and reporting, and realize that it takes less than 10 extra seconds per order to save them multiple time consuming phone calls afterward.” The TracRx system automatically lists all pharmacies in network by proximity, eliminating the need to search manually. “We currently have 70,000 pharmacies in our network,” said Palin, “and the portal updates automatically to include any new ones. A spreadsheet can’t do that.” The TracRx system is also fully integrated with delivery services provided by Complete Delivery Solution, the medication delivery division of Care Services, enabling LTC pharmacies to schedule and track deliveries seamlessly. From the C-suite perspective, the ability to produce quarterly business reviews is invaluable. “Using old processes or systems, pharmacists wouldn’t be able to answer questions about why certain meds were being sent for backup or how long it was taking,” Palin said. “With TracRx, medication fulfillment and drug delivery data can be analyzed down to the facility level.”
Following our initial roll-out to a small group of clients, upgrades to the TracRx system continue to happen in response to users’ priorities. “This is an ongoing process,” said Boures. “So far, we have been able to integrate the majority of requests.” Currently, the TracRx portal is available for clients of Care Services’ affiliate companies, GeriScriptRx and MedCallRx. “Our plans are to roll TracRx out to all of our clients, and simultaneously work with other companies to get this service out to another swath of pharmacies,” said Boures. Ultimately, Care Services sees the TracRx portal as a game changer that will provide big benefits to all of their clients. “ We want to make TracRx available to anyone [in the LTC pharmacy space] using backup pharmacy services,” said Palin.
The TracRx portal provides real-time visibility into the entire backup medication ordering process, from start to finish. The portal’s user friendly dashboard makes managing and monitoring a request easy and documenting important data simple. TracRx allows long-term care and closed-door pharmacists to:
• View backup medication status.
• Schedule and track deliveries.
• Set customized notifications.
• Analyze all medications and deliveries down to a facility level.
• Create utilization and fulfillment reports.
This post is related to:Telepharmacy & After-Hours Order Entry