The Remedy for Efficient Drug Refills
With toes tapping and frustration mounting, I’m thinking to myself… I’m waiting...I’m waiting… as I stay holding on the phone for the pharmacy tech to get back to me. This is now my second call in the past 24 hours. “I’m sorry, but we’re still waiting for your doctor to approve the refill request, the tech says.” I’ve now gone from feeling mildly frustrated to being annoyed, knowing I would have to wait even longer for my doctor to refill a critical medication that is essential to my well-being. I like my doctor and know he has a busy schedule, but I can’t help but think that there must be a better way to handle a routine task like approving refills so a patient like me doesn’t have to make follow-up calls and wait several days to receive it.
I’m fairly certain that the reason it takes so long to get a refill approved is because my doctor, like you I bet, has a million other things to take care of such as patients to check on, cases to review, notes to fill out, drug reps to meet with, and staff to manage. And now there is my thyroid medicine to approve. Even though my doctor sends prescriptions electronically, it still requires a few steps for him to approve my refill, and unfortunately this task competes with all the other items on his plate for the day.
I compare this to a recent situation at home when my kitchen timer went off, alerting me that the roast chicken in the oven is done. But at that moment, I’m too busy and distracted with my two-year-old who has just spilled her milk all over our freshly cleaned carpet and the clean clothes I was folding. At that moment, my husband steps in after sensing that my situation is too consuming to stop and deal with the chicken. He is basically acting like a proxy – someone who can step in and help complete routine tasks that distract from something potentially more important for another person in the moment.
Kareo’s eRx Proxy for Refills
From one “proxy” to another - eRx Proxy for Refills is a new tool that enables pharmacies to deliver refilled medications to patients faster. It also saves the initial prescriber (i.e., healthcare provider) time and hassle from having to dedicate part of their day to approving refill requests.
For providers who use the ePrescribing function in their EHR, eRx Proxy for Refills can be delegated to any other provider or clinical assistant in their practice. As the refill requests come in from the pharmacy, it allows the assigned proxy to sign-off on the renewal without having to disrupt the daily workflow of the original prescriber. While the prescribing provider needs to be enrolled in ePrescribing, the assigned proxy is not required to be enrolled.
To be a proxy, the user must simply have people on their staff who are either providers or clinical assistants and there is no limit to the number of proxies a prescriber provider can designate. With Kareo, assigned proxies can ‘approve’ or ‘deny’ a renewal request, with only the original prescribing provider having access to alternate the prescription in any form. Details for assigning eRx Proxy for Refills can be viewed here. Any medication that falls outside of the federal Controlled Substances Act (CSA) can be approved by a proxy.
Responding to a refill request is easy! A proxy will be prompted with a simple binary request- approve or deny. Once approved and submitted, it goes straight back to the pharmacy for fulfillment. If denied, the proxy will have the option to submit why the request was denied from a drop-down list. Denying a refill will automatically send a message to the pharmacy with the reason.
Additional resources to approve basic refill requests can greatly free up your valuable time as a provider. I can say firsthand that I’d rather have my doctor spend more time with me having one-on-one conversations about my health, than having him sit behind a desk approving my medication refill request.
How to Access Kareo’s eRx Refills Proxy
To start reaping the benefits of Kareo’s eRx Refills by Proxy, you need to have ePrescribing, a feature included in Kareo’s EHR software. This is the initial step that users with prescriber authorization in Kareo use to prescribe a patient medication at no additional charge through the clinical system. No paper required! ePrescribing reduces prescribers time spent on the phone and faxing pharmacies, which sets the stage for streamlining refill requests and authorization processes. When a provider enrolls, Kareo’s ePrescribing Enrollment Wizard walks them through a simple credentialing process that helps verify and authenticate NPI numbers, identity(s), and the medical practice. If you’re a provider and haven’t enrolled in ePrescribing through the Kareo EHR, learn more on how to do it here.