How can a medication be orderable but not available?

Question: Ordering prescribers may search for a medication, find it in a "Preference List" of specialty-specific search results, then order it only to discover that it cannot be provided at the ordering facility. How can this happen?

Context: A medication order is initiated by performing a search for the desired item, form and dose. Order search results default to present any matching personalizations ("favourites" organized in a "Browse" tab in order search) first. The next "Preference List" tab gathers search results commonly ordered by one's specialty. Finally, a "Facility List" shows the AHS formulary (but not necessarily stock on hand at a local facility).

It is possible for a medication appearing on the Preference tab or the Facility tab to not be locally available. It is also possible for an item to be available via the Facility tab when that item is not included in the Preference tab listing of search results. If an order is placed for an item not immediately available, Pharmacy Services will contact the prescriber to provide an estimated time of availability, or possible alternatives.

Answer: Effective mitigations include:

  • Familiarity with local ordering options
    Prescribers familiar with a facility will have developed awareness of any limitations to what can be ordered and promptly provided at that facility. Prescribers less familiar can always ask a colleague, or check with the facility on-call pharmacist.
  • Preference Personalizations
    Saving specific medications, including details of the form, dose, route and frequency, can build up a highly relevant quick-list that makes ordering easier and also ensures a good fit with fast facility medication provisioning. 
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