Part 2: Using a Universal Pharmacy Scheduling System
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As an independent pharmacist, I sometimes am asked to help train pharmacy staff to implement new MTM and clinical service programs.
When having technicians schedule CMR appointments for me I like to have everyone be able to access the same online calendar. Using a system like Google Calendar for the entire pharmacy to access can be a good way for multiple staff members to be able to see, update and plan the patient MTM appointments.
There are a couple of paid online scheduling like ScheduleMax that will allow you to set up patients and the software will automatically send out a reminder text on the day before the appointment.
I am a big proponent of getting community pharmacies organized in a way that makes sense for them to be able to offer clinical services in a sustainable way. A pharmacist spending hours calling, scheduling and preparing patients for MTM is not sustainable. Many pharmacists don’t have the extra time and resources to be able to commit hours to these activities.
How to train pharmacy support staff to integrate clinical services optimize your daily workflow is identified in Part 1 of this article on “Making the Call”.
The next logical step in that process is having a place to store the MTM appointment information.
Mirixa and OutcomesMTM have scheduling software as part of their program, but in my opinion it is too time intensive for staff members to log in and view the calendar every time an appointment needs to be checked. There is also no "alert" functions available in the platform software systems. For these reasons, I like to use online scheduling software such as Google Calendar or even a paid scheduling system like vCita (referral link) or ScheduleMax.
Using the pharmacy's email account calendar or creating a new Gmail account for the sole purpose of scheduling MTM appointments may be a good idea. Then any person on staff can see the appointment and inform the patient of the next steps in the process.
Once a patient agrees to the CMR and is scheduled for appointment, the patient is entered into the scheduling calendar. Then on the day of the patient's appointment another staff member can see the appointment on the calendar and call to remind the patient to come into the pharmacy (discussed in Part 3).
The main idea is to put systems in place so that each time a patient becomes eligible for a CMR, the patient does not fall “through the cracks”.
Systems help create similar patient experience year after year, can help the staff work more efficiently and save the pharmacist a ton of stress when trying to work MTM into the workflow.
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ABOUT THE AUTHOR:
Blair Green Thielemier, PharmD is an independent MTM consultant pharmacist. She is the founder of BT Pharmacy Consulting, LLC. and works with pharmacists to create and build clinical services programs. More information about Dr. Thielemier and BT Pharmacy Consulting, LLC can be found at http://btpharmacyconsulting.com