Part 3: Appointment Reminder Calls
The information in Part 1 examined the process of training pharmacy support staff members to call and offer the patients the CMR as an annual medication review benefit.
In Part 2 of this series we discussed how to set up a system where anyone in the pharmacy could access the MTM appointment calendar. Now that we have set up a pharmacy with a universal scheduling system we can put into place the process of “Appointment Reminder Calls”.
Part 3: Reminder Calls
These are very important as they should be done the day before or the day of the appointment. They should NEVER be done by the pharmacist unless absolutely necessary.
Would you expect your doctor or dentist to call you personally to remind you of your appointment?
I personally prefer that my techs do a reminder call on the day before the appointment. This gives us time to alter the schedule if the need arises.
During the reminder call, the technician is trained remind the patient of their appointment, gather any lab work that was requested from the physician’s office and remind the patient to BRING ALL OF THEIR MEDICATIONS.
The most important part of this conversation, of course, is stressing that they should not show up without their medication bottles…all of them! I encourage patients to “clear out their medication cabinet” during this time.
I tell technicians to tell them that I want to see every OTC, vitamin, sample, prescription bottle or snake oil supplement that they own! And you know what, it works!
I tell them that I will throw away any outdated or unused bottles that they want to get rid of and help them clear out their “medication clutter”. This is a great way to also make sure that they are keeping their medications in a secure area. That way you can bring up the possibility of a locked medication cabinet if there are children or outside help coming in and out of the home.
A Personal Impact Example
Just the other day my mother-in-law asked if I would get her some more turmeric curcumin from the pharmacy I was working in because she couldn’t find it on Amazon. I quickly asked her why and for how long she had been taking this supplement (without my or her doctor’s knowledge). She said she had been on it for 3 months and it was really helping her arthritis.
That is all fine and great except for the fact that she requires high doses of Coumadin for a past history of blood clots! I told her that I didn’t think she needed to be taking something that would interact with her Coumadin and thin her blood even further. She called her doctor and he agreed. Now she’s upset because we won’t let her take her “magic arthritis pill”, but she understands the risks.
This is just one example of the types of interactions that could be caught during an annual medication review by the pharmacist and why I am so passionate that pharmacy can make a difference in healthcare.
The more patients we help like this, the more weight pharmacists will be given to carry and that is ok with me!
So train your technicians to always ask and train your patients to always tell. It will make your MTM appointments so much smoother.
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