Posted on May 12, 2020 by Katie Bryski
Have you ever wondered where a work day has gone? A few minutes troubleshooting here and there can add up with astonishing speed. In a busy clinic, those small diversions carry a heavy weight.
It’s a too-familiar story for nurse practitioner Christine Fitchett. As part of the Cottage Country Family Health Team in Muskoka, she knows the importance of efficient workflows in a fast-paced environment. Unfortunately, the clinic’s reliance on auto-fax for prescribing was proving a challenge for clinicians and patients alike.
Auto-fax runs on the same technology as regular fax. As such, it’s prone to many of the same problems, including dropped messages. Fitchett found that her prescriptions were getting lost as auto-faxes failed to reach pharmacies — leading to frustrated patients and rounds of phone tag with pharmacists.
These continuous call-backs took time from Fitchett’s already busy days, as relying on the phone often leads to delayed responses. “Sometimes it takes half a day or a full day to hear back from them [pharmacies],” she explains.
She set about searching for a better solution. “I sit on our IT team within our family health team, and one of our physicians talked about PrescribeIT® at one of our team meetings. I looked into it and thought it’d be a great tool for my patients.”
It didn’t take long for workflow efficiencies to manifest. “It’s saved me a lot of time,” she says. “And I love the fact that I can directly communicate with the pharmacies.”
This functionality has drawn interest from other nurse practitioners. In a recent study conducted by Canada Health Infoway, 69 per cent of nurse practitioners rated “secure instant messaging between you and your pharmacist” as a high-priority feature of e-prescribing services. More effective clinical communication enables smoother collaboration. “I’m having an improved relationship with my pharmacies,” says Fitchett.
Patients reap the benefits of these streamlined processes too. “From a patient perspective, what I’m noticing is that they’re less frustrated.” As PrescribeIT® sends a prescription directly from a prescriber’s electronical medical record (EMR) to a pharmacy management system (PMS), patients don’t need to worry about lost prescriptions. That saves them time, and it also facilitates better health outcomes. With PrescribeIT®, Fitchett can confirm when medications have been filled and dispensed, which helps her ensure that her patients get the care they need.
As they are at the forefront of providing patient care, nurse practitioners like Fitchett are instrumental in advancing digital health adoption and use in order to enhance patient experiences. “I’m able to focus more on giving patient care,” she says. And that is no small thing.
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Katie Bryski serves as Coordinator for Marketing and Engagement at Canada Health Infoway. She is particularly interested in how digital health relates to intersectionality.