What needs to be recorded in Connect Care when an outpatient prescription is refilled?

Question: What is the minimum work required in Connect Care (where it is the record of care) when a pharmacy requests a prescription renewal/refill? 

Context: Busy outpatient physicians may receive faxed prescription refill requests from pharmacists serving the physician's patients. The legacy convenience was to simply sign and return the pharmacy fax. 

Now that Connect Care is the legal record of care, physicians new to Connect Care suffer significant information burdens if the pharmacy request is taken as a trigger to enter all meds (for a patient not yet seen in Connect Care), generate a new prescription, print, sign, scan and fax back to the pharmacy.

Unfortunately, e-prescribing (PrescribeIT) is not yet available in Alberta, though Connect Care plans to work with this protocol when tested and ready.

Answer: There are three ways of completing prescription refills in Connect Care, dependent on whether the medication is already entered in the patient's Connect Care chart:

  • For medications not already entered in Connect Care:
    • Hand-sign and fax back the pharmacy-provided refill request, AND enter those medications into the patient’s Connect Care chart (without sending the prescription) to document the prescribing action; OR
    • Enter the medication into the patient’s Connect Care chart and then send the prescription from Connect Care to the pharmacy by direct electronic fax (“eFax”). There are two steps to send via eFax: (1) enter the pharmacy that requested the refill as the patient's preferred pharmacy; and (2) change the order class to "Fax" (the default is "Print") and select the destination pharmacy. See the tip sheet for further details.
  • For medications already entered in Connect Care:
    • Generate a refill order (either through the “Reorder Rx” button in the “Medications” activity, or by creating a new “Orders Only” or “Prescription Refill” encounter) and then send the prescription from Connect Care to the pharmacy by eFax (see above and the tip sheet for further details).

The key is that Connect Care, as record of care, must be used to document prescription activities. Later, when the patient appears for an appointment, a full list of home medications can be generated and validated.

Once over a transition period, charts will be more complete and refill workflows from within Connect Care will prove the fastest way to get things done.