Blog post by:  The Redheaded Pharmacist

Sometimes I think that the fax technology we use to contact doctors, insurance companies, other pharmacies, and even patients at work doesn’t really do it’s intended job. It’s as if there is a technological black hole that our faxes slip into after you hit that fateful send button. Or at least it seems that way when you send a request to a doctor and don’t hear anything back for several days about some problem or refill request despite sending multiple requests. Shouldn’t this communication system work flawlessly? The answer is only if people on the other end bother to respond!

I’m questioning the merits of the fax today because I’ve recently had a couple of situations at work where it seemed like no matter how many times I sent something to a doctor’s office I never received even a courtesy call back in response. Needless to say that kind of silence from a practitioner is frustrating when you are trying to secure new refills for a patient’s medication they can’t exactly decide to stop abruptly.

In one specific instance we had sent a refill request to a doctor for a patient’s seizure medication. What was frustrating was that we had sent the request four times and even left a voice mail or two begging for a new prescription. And all the while the store had forwarded the patient pills so they would not miss a dose of something as critical as this. You would think that the doctor would realize that this medication is kind of essential for this patient and give us a call back in a reasonable amount of time but it doesn’t always happen.

And then there are those prior authorizations that sit in your work-flow waiting to be processed. We recently processed a prescription for a patient for one of those brand name only super expensive drugs that no insurance company on the planet wants to cover unless a prior authorization is obtained from the prescribing physician. We all deal with these situations now more often than we should but it usually is a relatively simple process. Send the request, wait for the approval, and then process the prescription and dispense the medication to the patient. That sounds simple enough considering the convoluted process involved. But the pharmacy staff doesn’t know if and when a prior authorization is approved or denied unless someone actually calls us to let us know! That seems simple enough huh?

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