How can "non-standard" medications be ordered?

Question: When an inpatient medication is not found on the Connect Care facility list, is there a way to order (request) its use during hospital care?

Context: Whereas outpatient medication orders represent what is dispensable from any of many community pharmacies, inpatient medications reflect what is approved, available and configured within a particular facility. Some medications may not be on the Alberta Health Services (AHS) formulary but still possible to procure or make.  

For example, melatonin can be used for seniors' sleep-cycle regulation. While the AHS Drugs & Therapeutics Committee has removed this non-formulary medication from inpatient facility lists, there may be reason to continue the medication at admission for some patients. Other non-standard medications can be made available in some facilities.

Answer: If a medication cannot be found on inpatient facility order lists (be sure to try different spellings and the generic drug name), it is likely non-standard. A pharmacist will need to check to see if it can be provided. 

The ordering prescriber should request the medication by placing a "Non Standard Medication" order. Enter "non-standard" in the order search box (using the "Facility List" tab if needed). Other synonyms will work including "Other", "Non-formulary", "Custom", "Unable" and "Non".

Upon selecting the "Non Standard Medication" order, one is presented with a pop-up requiring the drug name, form (e.g., "tablet"), request reason (e.g., "patient taking"), together with details of dose, route and frequency.

Once all details are entered, the specific non-standard medication order can be saved as a favourite (be sure to copy in the drug identification details and suitably name the favourite before saving). This will allow the medication to be ordered in the future without having to enter all the data required of a de-novo non-standard order.