How can Prescribing Workflows work with Virtual Care?

Question: How can physicians providing virtual care, or otherwise working remotely, support requests for new or changed prescriptions?

Context: The COVID-19 pandemic has shifted many patient interactions to "virtual" modes. These include physicians managing prescription refills from remote locations without access to clinic devices (printer, scanner, facsimile) or support staff. The prescriber needs to order medications in the record of care (Connect Care) while getting prescription information to the intended pharmacy.

Answer: Working remotely can be frustrating. It is unlikely that Alberta Health Services (AHS) help desk staff are able to support devices that are not AHS-provisioned. The CMIO portfolio will continue to learn about and support remote workflows for physicians. So, the important "answer" is to ask physicians to share problems with us (cmio@ahs.ca) so we can share-back here.

Alberta has yet to implement e-prescription protocols. Accordingly, outpatient prescriptions get from prescriber to pharmacy by three possible pathways:
  1. Printed and (manually) signed prescription handed to patient who takes it to a pharmacy of choice;
  2. Printed and signed prescription faxed from the physician to the intended pharmacy; or
  3. Documented prescription telephoned by the physician to the intended pharmacist.
The first option does not work with virtual care.  The third option is a fall-back that can be used in any context. The second option can be adapted to virtual Connect Care workflows:
We will post again with suggested workflows when support staff are (remotely) available to help. 

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