Our Prescription Predicament
I used to think it was ridiculous that my CVS pharmacy always wanted a minimum of 24 hours to fill a prescription. I mean, how hard is it to grab a bottle off a shelf, count some pills, and put those pills in a smaller bottle? Simple, right? Should only take a few minutes, right?
Well, I no longer think that way. Let me go through the steps for you:
- Take the request (either face-to-face, or over the telephone)
- Pull the patient’s chart to see if they have been on this medication before. When was it prescribed? Is it a life-long medication? When was the last blood test performed? Is testing necessary to determine the level of medication in the patient (such as phenobarbital levels)?
- Write the requested medications in the chart including the type, strength, dosage, and quantity of the medication needed.
- Take the chart to the Doctor for approval of the renewable prescription, or issuance of a new prescription.
- The chart goes with the request to the Technicians, who will then fill the prescription. But, they also need to write in the chart that the prescription was filled, and by whom, and exactly what was counted out. They are also responsible to write the label (approved by the Doctor) to put on the prescription envelope or vial.
- Now the chart and medication are brought to the front desk, from where we can dispense the product, mark the chart as closed, and update the computer system.
If the Doctor is busy with patients, sometimes the approval may wait until there is time to review the chart and decide the appropriate dose. If the Technicians are busy, the approved prescription may not be filled until there are no fractious cats, aggressive dogs, or other time-consuming projects in the works. After all, we still have a hospital to run, we are not just a pharmacy.
Prescriptions cannot be rushed. If anyone feels rushed along this process, mistakes could be made, and that could be harmful. We would prefer to fill prescriptions during a lull in the excitement and make sure everything happens correctly.
So, in summary, not only do I now understand the process, but I am also fully behind having a 24 hour notice for a prescription fulfillment. Please, just call us before you actually NEED the refill, don’t wait until you are down to the last pill or two. Also, kindly remember that prescription foods are just that…PRESCRIPTION foods! The same process happens with the food, other than the short step of counting pills or capsules. Calling ahead gives us the opportunity to get all of the paperwork done, and have the food ready for you when you come to pick it up. It helps us a lot.
We will do what we can for our patients. We know the importance of their medications and will fill them at a moments notice when necessary. However, your help, and early requests, are appreciated.
[ JRG ]