For years, a troubling scenario has been plaguing pharmacies: For prescription inhalers that require semi-annual tests for refills, clinic staff have struggled in getting asthma control tests (ACTs) completed before refills are needed.
Often, patients have already been given a grace-period refill. Because some patients may not return for follow-up visits, tests are not completed, leaving prescriptions unfilled.
Now, ACTs can be done on site at any Fairview Pharmacy, rather than during follow-up appointments in a clinic. These tests cannot be completed at other pharmacies like CVS or Walgreens.
No clinic visit needed
“We’ve expanded the opportunity for patients to get ACTs done without the need for an appointment,” says Jeri Nowak, retail pharmacy clinical program specialist for Fairview Pharmacies.
The process stemmed from the refill authorization program, when too many requests were returned to the clinic because staff couldn’t approve refills.
The process involves pharmacy staff helping clinicians gather much-needed quality metrics.
“We’ve heard thanks from physicians, too. They’re on board with what we’re doing and appreciate that we’re trying to capture these responses,” says Jeri.
“We felt like we wanted to be a part of helping to improve those numbers.”
Pharmacy staff began initial training to process ACTs in 2012, but it failed it catch on. The push relaunched in May, as part of Asthma Awareness Month, and the process has since taken off.
“It’s a win-win,” Jeri says.