Tag Archives: medication safety

Improving Senior Medication Compliance - Proficient Rx

Increasing Medication Compliance in the Elderly

Medication compliance is important for every patient, but it becomes even more important for elderly patients; here’s why.

Elderly patients often have several medications to keep up with and take. Unfortunately, this patient group is well-known for often not taking their prescriptions for a variety of reasons. Doctors, nurses, nurse practitioners and others similarly employed in the healthcare industry should take steps to do their part to make sure their elderly patients take their medications and continue to do so until the end of their treatment period.

Reasons for Noncompliance

There are, in fact, several factors that play a part in an elderly patient not taking her or his medication as directed. The individual might not understand the instructions, might not be able to afford the prescription, might not be able to tolerate the medication’s side effects or the patient might not have received the proper education on the medication. There’s also the fact that the patient might have several other prescriptions to take and could forget to take one or more.

It’s also not unheard of for there to be language barriers between patient and doctor, which can lead to the patient not knowing the right way to take a medication, if she or he takes it at all. Physicians also have to make sure they properly encourage their patients to take their prescriptions, and in-office dispensing can most certainly help with that.

The Consequences

When a patient doesn’t take a prescription, he or she runs the risk of being admitted to the hospital, which results in unnecessary medical costs. There are also cases of a patient needing to be admitted to a nursing home due to failure to take medication. Diseases and medical conditions can worsen if an elderly patient doesn’t follow medication compliance, and his or her current treatment might not be as effective.

For senior citizens who work, medical noncompliance can result in a slump in overall productivity. No matter the consequence, it’s clear that there’s a lot at stake when it comes to elderly patients not taking their prescriptions.

Preventing Noncompliance

It can sometimes be difficult to tell when an elderly patient runs a high risk of being medication noncompliant, which is why it’s so essential that doctors, nurses and pharmacists remain diligent about doing everything they can to encourage patients to fill and take their prescriptions. One way to do this is to schedule follow-up appointments to see how patients are doing. Those who are admitted to the hospital should be properly discharged and have a solid discharge plan. Healthcare professionals should also be sure their elderly patients understand their illness or condition so that they comprehend how the medication will help treat their condition or illness.

Before ending an appointment, it’s a good idea to ask patients if they will have or think they might have problems getting or taking their medication. Some might not have a way to get to the pharmacist or not have the money or insurance to pay for a prescription. Even if a patient is able to fill a prescription, he or she might not be able to make out the directions due to being hard of hearing or having poor eyesight, which is something else nurses and doctors should be sure to address.

Medication Compliance Tools

Besides the methods mentioned above, there are additional steps healthcare professionals can take to better ensure elderly patients follow medication compliance. For instance, counting the number of pills left in a prescription and comparing it to the patient’s dosage determines whether the patient has been taking the medication. Doctors and nurses can also simply ask patients if they’ve been taking their medication and ascertaining why not if the individual hasn’t. Dispensing medications in-office is an alternative way to track if patients are taking their medications correctly, as they can keep a better eye on prescription refill dates.

The Importance of Trust

For all the tools and methods used to address medication compliance, none of them are as effective as healthcare providers making sure they form a strong degree of trust with their patients. It’s this trust that not only increases the chances of the patient taking his or her medication, but being content with the treatment results.

By spending more time with patients and knocking down any barriers that might be in their way, it’s entirely possible to improve medication compliance. The smallest of efforts can save time, money and lives.

 

Contact us today to learn how direct dispensing can help improve medication compliance for all patients.

Educate Patients About Drug Interactions - Proficient Rx

How to Best Educate Your Patients About Drug Interactions

Most patients are not educated about their medications or the potential drug interactions that come with them.

They don’t know why they need to take it. They don’t know how to properly take it and they typically have no clue if their medicine will create a negative interaction when taken.

Patients simply trust the instructions given to them by you, their physician. They are not likely to ask questions for a variety of reasons. Some don’t know what questions to ask. Others don’t want to appear dumb, as if they should already know the answer. And still others don’t want to offend you because they know how busy you are and don’t want to interrupt your schedule. They don’t feel their needs are important enough to ask you to stop what you are doing to provide them with education. But that is exactly what you need to do. Educating your patients about their medicines and potential drug interactions can protect both you and the patient from danger.

There are specific things you can do to provide the best education to your patients. Some of these are listed below.

 

Educate Yourself

It would be impossible for you to educate your patients about drug interactions if you didn’t learn them first. The more you know, the more you can share.

There are several ways you can educate yourself on medications and their potential interactions.

  • You can attend a conference specifically on this topic.
  • You can attend an online class that teaches you valuable information on drugs and their interactions.
  • You can meet with pharmaceutical representatives personally or via online programs. You can ask them direct questions about the drugs they develop.
  • You can also spend time conducting your own research. Review studies that involve the medications you prescribe and analyze the results. Furthermore, take better notes on each of your patients who are prescribed prescription medication.

To take better notes, ask your patients better questions about their experiences when taking their medications. This will give you accurate information to help in creating treatment plans.

 

Teach Your Patients About Drug Interactions

Your patients believe everything you say. It is rare that patients question your diagnosis. They believe you are the expert in their health. And this is true. You are the expert in their healthcare. So, as the expert, you can teach patients how to better care for themselves, especially when it comes to drug interactions.

Taking a few extra minutes during a patient visit to thoroughly explain medications can be life changing for your patient. When they understand their medications, they are more likely to adhere to their regimen. This means their chances of improved health significantly increase.

 

Provide Patients with Correct Labels

While not much information can go on a medication’s label, you can still provide important information regarding drug interactions. The more control you have over the label information the better.

With in-office dispensing, you are given the highest authority on what is printed on each label. Providing the prescription to your patients at the point of care allows you to print the label in your office. Before printing, your staff can enter all the information you feel is necessary to keep your patients safe and preventing drug interactions.

 

Provide Appropriate Printed Information

When a patient gets their medications from a pharmacist, they get a bag with numerous pages of written information stapled to the outside. They are asked quickly by the pharmacy staff if they have questions and sent on their way. At no time is the printed information reviewed or explained to the patients. When the patient gets home the written material often goes in the trash. The patients who do choose to look at the information can feel overwhelmed by the technical, medical terminology, graphs and diagrams.

And what about your patients who cannot read?

You can provide individualized printed educational materials for your patients and any caregivers. You can provide information that explains the drug in relation to their diagnosis, as well as any interactions to watch out for.

 

Follow-Up with Your Patients

At the time of their office visit, patients may not have questions regarding their medications or possible drug interactions. They feel the pressure you have on you to complete an office visit quickly and move on to the next patient. Therefore, your patients are trying to cram in as much knowledge as they can in the little time they have with you.

And, they don’t know what they don’t know. Meaning, if they haven’t taken their medication yet, they don’t know what new symptoms will arise in the next few days or weeks.

Following up with your patients, either through a phone call, patient web portal, or email gives both you and your patient the opportunity to assess possible reactions from the medication you prescribed. Patients may not even connect their medication to new symptoms. But you can. Instead of waiting months until you see your patient in-office again, you can evaluate their progress and make needed changes early on. This means your patients do not have to experience unnecessary interactions or negative symptoms for a longer period because you followed up with them soon after their appointment. There are software programs, such as those with in-office dispensing, that can help you schedule and complete follow-ups.

In conclusion, you are the one person who can best educate your patients on potential drug interactions. And you have multiple avenues to do so. Don’t utilize just one way. Instead, take every opportunity to teach your patients about their medicine. The benefits of doing so far outweigh the risks of not educating them. Medication errors are on the rise, especially at pharmacies. These errors can lead to malpractice lawsuits and most importantly, prevents you from reaching your goal of improving the health and life of your patients.

 

Final Thought

Education is one of the best ways to prevent medication errors, especially interactions.

Start with the above listed tips on providing education to patients. You can also get creative and develop specialized education activities that meet the needs of your practice and your patients. It will be a win-win for everyone.

 

Contact Us Today for Direct Dispensing and Telehealth Services to Improve Patient Follow Up - Proficient Rx

Regulations for Repackaging Medication - Proficient Rx

What Are the Sanitation Regulations for Repackaging Medication?

The FDA pharmaceutical lab safety regulations for repackaging medication are extensive, but set in place to protect patients, and you, from any negative consequences.

Sanitation regulations for repackaging medication cover many aspects of the lab and handling of pharmaceuticals. From the facility to the equipment to the staff, each must follow guidelines set forth by state and federal governmental agencies.

The Federal Drug Administration (FDA) also sets forth Current Good Manufacturing Practices (cGMPs) that all laboratories must follow to ensure safety when dealing with pharmaceuticals. These are the minimum requirements to pass inspection.

Hopefully, manufacturers are providing even more precautions on their own to ensure safety to the patient, which also helps protect you and your practice.

Keep reading to learn more on the sanitation regulations for repackaging medication.

Sanitation of the Facility’s Interior

Any facility that will receive, store, repackage, warehouse and handle medicines must follow specific regulations for repackaging medication. The size of the building must be constructed to be large enough, but not too large, to handle all processes of repackaging.

Every area of the facility must be clean and orderly and free of any type of infestation from rodents or insects. Waste must be properly disposed of according to regulations. It shall never be allowed to collect in any one area.

Facility owners must take into consideration that no eating or drinking takes place where medications are processed or packaged. If a staff member violates these rules, they will be reprimanded.

Each state sets forth their own guidelines on top of federal guidelines. For example, in Pennsylvania and many other states, it is a requirement that the area in which repackaging takes place shall only contain appliances, equipment and supplies that are necessary for the process, and nothing more.

Sanitation of Construction and Grounds

Construction materials are determined by regulations and there is a lengthy list of requirements. Concrete walls, plaster and paint, flooring resistant to chemicals, and suspended ceilings are just a few examples of the requirements. Lighting, ventilation, plumbing, and sanitation regulations for repackaging medication can bring consequences if the regulations are not correctly followed.

Proper maintenance of the exterior of the facility are just as important as the interior. The grounds must be cared for so that insects and rodents do not breed and find housing near the facility. Storage of pallets and trash must be done properly to avoid attracting animals of any kind.

Staff need to be trained in how to handle pest control. Meaning, they must consider any chemicals they choose to use to prevent or get rid of pests. These chemicals can interfere with the repackaging process if not used according to regulations for repackaging medication.

Quarantine Regulations

All repackaging facilities must have an area designated for quarantine of medicines that are damaged, outdated, or contaminated in any way. Their disposal process must also be strictly adhered to so cross-contamination is avoided.

Quarantine of original packaging materials and secondary containers that are no longer useful, as well as any misbranded pharmaceuticals, must be disposed of according to the law.

Sanitation of Employees

One staff member could disrupt an entire process and create violations if they are not on board with understanding the importance of following regulations for repackaging medication.

Training is provided to all staff, no matter what their duties. They are trained in how to keep the facility clean, how to properly handle and dispose of contaminated medication, and how to report errors in the manufacturing process.

Trained supervisors are responsible for making sure the rest of the staff follow guidelines. This includes making cleanliness of the facility and the staff a top priority. Staff must learn how to wash hands properly to dealing with their own illnesses such as the flu, learning when to call off sick.

Sanitation Regulations For Repackaging Medication Materials

There are numerous codes to be met when it comes to repackaging materials. From labeling to temperature, package materials must comply or not be used at all.

Companies use the best materials to protect drugs while also keeping the cost reduced. They ensure both primary and secondary packaging meets the standards set forth by governmental agencies.

Blister packs are typically used for whole, solid medicines. They are pre-formed by a machine. Blister packs can hold medicines such as pills, gel caps and suppositories. They work well in a variety of temperatures and are tamper proof and very hard to destroy.

Blister packs protect medicines from interacting with any environmental contamination. Plus, they are quite durable and safe.

Bottle forms are often used for liquid medicines. However, they can also be used for pill or gel forms. Glass bottles are mostly used for holding liquids. The glass provides extra security and protection.

Plastic bottles are most commonly used for pill forms of medicine, and sometimes powders. The reason most plastic bottles have an orange or brown tint is because those protect medicines from sun damage, or ultra violet light getting into the bottle and ruining the pills.

Clean Rooms

Clean rooms help provide this healthy environment during the manufacturing of pharmaceuticals. Clean rooms focus on the air in the facility where drugs are manufactured. If the air is clean, everything else in the facility will be cleaner.

A clean room is defined as the space used to contain an area that needs to be free of particles that could potentially contaminate a product. They are also used to control temperature and pressure.

For repackaging medication, temperature, humidity and air pressure are all crucial factors and must be heavily monitored. Using a clean room is essential. If you find the repackaging company you work with is not using a clean room, it is time to switch to one who does.

Your patients can be affected by any type of facility contamination, even it is with the smallest particles. Therefore, repackaging companies take extra steps to follow classification guidelines. Clean rooms help companies remain compliant with Good Manufacturing Practices.

They certify everything from the staff to construction. Clean rooms offer that extra security that gives you the confidence you need to supply your patients with quality medicine.

 

Prepackaged Medication Convenience | Proficient Rx

Convenience of Prepackaged Medication

The use of care givers is on the rise. They have a range of responsibilities including grocery shopping, cleaning, cooking and helping patients with medication. It’s this last duty that Prepackaged medication can be a huge convenience.

Your patients deserve quality care and the best form of medications available. Prepackaged medications offer both your patient and their caregivers the best in quality, ease of administration, and less room for error.

Prepackaged medication makes it easier for care givers to keep your patients compliant, improving their overall health, and helping them be successful in reaching treatment goals.Prepackaged medications provide a higher safety level for care givers and makes administering medication simpler.

Saving the care giver and patient time may be the best convenience offered by prepackaged medication.

These conveniences are discussed in more detail below.

Administering Convenience

With Prepackaged medications, the caregiver can simply separate the individual doses from the rest of the package, open it and administer it to the patient. The caregiver does not have to worry about overdose or under-dose issues because it is easy to track.

The caregiver never has to guess whether medication has already been taken. They can simply use the easy to track counting calendar on the prepackaged medicines. This is also helpful when more than one caregiver is tending to a patient.

It is common that caregivers work in shifts for patients who have extensive medical needs. Prepackaged medication makes it simple for everyone involved in the care of a patient to know exactly how much medication has been administered and when.

Each caregiver can easily monitor patient medication, avoiding errors that can happen when the caregivers are unable to communicate with each other in detail between shifts.

Safety Convenience

As a physician, you want to ensure your patients safety at all levels. Many times, this means you are working with care givers, educating them how to be more careful with patient care. This includes teaching caregivers how to avoid medication errors.

By filling prescriptions within your office, your patients can worry less about pharmacist errors and more about getting well. Pharmacists make mistakes, not on purpose, but it does happen. Prepackaged medicines prevent many of the errors caused by pharmacists and pharmacy technicians.

From misreading prescriptions, cross-contamination or giving the wrong dose, pharmacy errors can be fatal. Another concern is the safety of the container. If the wrong person can get into a medicine package, it could result in negative consequences for the patient.

Medication safety is also important, from how it is stored to its container.

Caregivers can choose Prepackaged medication storage that is easy for them to use but still safe from tampering. Prepackaging companies are experts in containers and the standards set forth for protecting medicine. They follow strict quality control regulations.

All of this means the children and young family members of your patients will not be able to open medication containers that may be left lying around the house. These containers passing quality control procedures make it safer for everyone.

Prepackaged medication allows care givers to feel more confident in administering medicine to their client.

Time Convenience

Prepackaged medications can be dispensed by you at the point of care. This can save both the care provider, the patient and you, substantial amounts of time because you no longer must deal with pharmacies.

Point of Care dispensing saves your patients anywhere from one hour to several hours of time. It saves you time by eliminating pharmacy communications, giving you freedom to focus on the care of your patients. It saves the care giver time, as they do not need to go to the pharmacy and wait.

Dispensing in-office allows the care provider to retrieve the patient’s medication upon checkout. Therefore, they can spend more time caring for your patient and less time waiting in lines.

Labeling Convenience

Correct labeling is important in all medication production, especially prepackaged. The label, even though small, contains a large amount of information that can help a caregiver provide adequate and proper healthcare. Prepackaging facilities know just how vital this information can be.

Name of the physician, brand name of the drug, and patient name are three pieces of information on a label. Other pieces include drug expiration date, safety warnings such as “may cause drowsiness”, and instructions on how to take the medicine.

Some medicines need to be taken with food, while others need to be taken on an empty stomach. Having these instructions available can determine the effectiveness of the medicine. Because patients with caregivers may not be able to remember the necessary elements of the medicinal instructions, being able to use the label as a guide is imperative.

Labels will also note if refills are available and if so, how many. It will have contact information for the doctor and an account number or serial number that can be traced back to the prescription ordered. Labels make it easy for the caregiver to keep the patient on track with their treatment goals.

Compliance Convenience

Compliance is when your patient follows through with the recommended treatment plan you created. Patient health goals are more easily met when caregivers can use prepackaged medications in their routine. Together, you and the caregiver can monitor the patient’s intake and measure their outcomes.

Caregivers are motivated to help patients reach health goals. They like to be able to show progress to the physician.

Because you are prescribing prepackaged medicines in your office, you can educate the caregiver. Education is an essential key to helping the patient remain compliant in their treatment.

For instance, you can explain to the caregiver why you are prescribing certain medications, how they help the patient, normal and abnormal side effects to look out for, possible interactions, and the best way to consume the medication.

You can also ask for feedback from the caregiver and give them the chance to express any concerns they may have. Because you are sharing responsibility for the care of your patient, it is imperative the caregiver is on board with your treatment goals. This sets all of you up for success.

 

 

 

Medication Re-packer | Proficient Rx

Benefits of Working with a Trusted Medication Re-packer

There are over 100 steps involved in the production of repackaged medicines. DEA and FDA guidelines are strictly followed when creating medicines to be used by physicians who are dispensing at point of care, and especially checking on the process used by the medication re-packer as well.

Therefore, you should avoid randomly picking a repackaging company. Instead, do your homework to find the best. When you work with the best re-packager, you will reap the numerous benefits they have to offer.

A medication re-packer will give your medications a bar code, customize a label for you, allow you to choose packaging and do all of this for minimal costs. Using a medication re-packer has shown to decrease waste of medication by patients. It has also shown to streamline how your office functions due to the superior software technology you receive.

A medication re-packer can make it easy for you to keep track of inventory and needed refills. And all of these can help you better track patient outcomes. It gives you more time to focus on the important aspects of your practice like spending more time with patients and helping them reach health goals.

Below are some other benefits discussed in more detail.

Product Preparation

Temperature can change the structure and effectiveness of a medicine quickly. Repackaging facilities take extra measures to make sure medicines are kept at temperatures conducive to keeping the potency and form intact.

Medicines are susceptible to degradation. To prevent this and any loss of potency, repackaging companies do whatever they can to make sure packaging provides adequate barriers to the drugs but are also easy to use by the patient.

Companies use the best materials to protect drugs while also keeping the cost reduced. They ensure both primary and secondary packaging meets the standards set forth by governmental agencies.

Correct labeling is important in all medication production, especially when done by a medication re-packer. The label, even though small, contains a large amount of information. Repackaging facilities know just how vital this information can be.

Product Safety

Repackaged medicines are stored and packaged in a clean, safe environment. The rooms are temperature controlled and have added security to protect the medicines. Monitoring is controlled with the use of state of the art computerized technology.

Repackaging facilities are held to higher standards than pharmacies. How often do you see pharmacists cleaning their counter tops when filling prescriptions? Germs transferred from a pharmacist’s counter to a medicine can cause adverse reactions. Plus, it is just unhealthy.

There are specific standards a medication re-packer company must follow when it comes to preparing bottles, multi-unit or individual unit packages. The containers must be better than the original container from the manufacturer.

The new containers must take into consideration moisture, light, vapors, sealants and compatibility with the drug itself.

Repackaging of controlled substances makes them safer for you, the physician, and for the patient. Controlled substances, and all other repackaged medicines, are coded and labeled. Meaning, they are traceable all the way back to the manufacturer.

This provides all people involved with a security that if a medication is stolen or misused, it can be tracked to verify where the medicine originated and for whom or what it was intended.

Product Environment

For prepacking medication, temperature, humidity and air pressure are all crucial factors and must be heavily monitored. Using a clean room is essential. If you find the prepacking company you work with is not using a clean room, it is time to switch to one who does.

Your patients can be affected by any time of facility contamination, even it is with the smallest particles. Therefore, prepacking companies take extra steps to follow classification guidelines. Clean rooms help companies remain compliant with Good Manufacturing Practices.

Choosing a repacking facility that has their clean room tested and approved through a certification process means they will have the airflow in their facility tested for visualization, volume and velocity to make sure they meet standards for repacking medications.

This means you can stress less about the quality of your medications.

Compliant with Laws

The Federal Drug Administration (FDA) sets forth Current Good Manufacturing Practices (cGMPs) that all laboratories must follow to ensure safety when dealing with pharmaceuticals. These are the minimum requirements to pass inspection.

If repackaging companies fail to adhere to the regulations, they are warned, inspected and eventually shut down and prevented from operating. Repackaging companies are expected to provide documentation and visual proof that all regulations are being met.

The World Health Organization sets forth dispensing guidelines that must be followed by the physician and practice staff. Repackaging companies make it easy for doctors to comply with these guidelines, which cover the entire process from writing the prescription to handing medicine to the patient.

Quality Control

There are multiple quality control processes involved to ensure safety for patients. Keep reading to find out more about how safety is increased by quality control of repackaged medications.

Repackaged medications undergo quality control processes that prevent counterfeiting.

Drugs are registered, making it many times harder for counterfeit criminals to manufacture and deal the product.

The containers used at the repackaging company must prove to be better than the original container from the manufacturer.

The new containers must abide by moisture, light, vapors, and sealant regulations.Repackaging companies are experts in containers and the standards set forth for protecting medicine.

Repackaging of narcotics and other controlled substances has very strict quality control processes. Controlled substances are coded and labeled. Meaning, they are traceable all the way back to the manufacturer.

Repackaging facilities must follow strict guidelines when it comes to keeping their environment clean. Pharmacies are not held to the standards repackaging facilities are required to follow. From room temperature to how often and with what counters are cleaned.

Because of the many quality control processes of repackaging facilities, you can feel confident prescribing repackaged medication to your patients because they go above and beyond ordinary standards.

Working with a trusted medication re-packer is essential when dispensing medications at the point of care. A good medication re-packer allows you to be an even better physician.

 

Medication Quality Control | Proficient Rx

Increasing Safety Through Medication Quality Control Via Repacking

Because you care so much for your patients and their overall health, you would be devastated to learn that a medication you prescribed did them harm. They weren’t harmed because of anything you did. They weren’t harmed by anything the patient did. Instead, they were harmed by the medication they received at the pharmacy. Incidents like this do happen.  And with the increasing numbers of patients who need medication, the more errors are likely to occur without additional medication quality control.

Common Medication Errors in Pharmacies

Pharmacists never intentionally make medication errors. They are accidents. These accidents include getting similar looking medications mixed up. Meaning, the patient receives a medicine that resembles their own medication in appearance, but not ingredients.

Another example of an error is when patients are accidentally given someone else’s prescription. Furthermore, giving a patient the wrong dose of the right medicine is more common than you think.

All these errors can be fatal.

Accidents such as these have prompted the creation of new packaging formats with better medication quality control. Repackaged medication is becoming very popular.

What is Quality Control of Repackaged Medicine?

Repackaged medications mean a manufacturer’s supply of medications are sent in bulk to a packaging facility and then are transferred into smaller containers or packages to make it easier for a patient to use.

Repackaging companies purchase medicines in bulk. They then use more convenient and safe packaging to provide more structured doses.

Some packages are made for unit dosing. Meaning, one pill is accessible at a time. The packaging is labeled so the patient does not get confused as to when they are supposed to take their medicine.

When a company does everything it can to make sure a product or drug is in top quality condition, they are practicing medication quality control.  They put the drug through processes and experiments to make sure errors are non-existent.

Both manufacturers and packagers take extra steps to maintain this quality with each drug, making consistency a reality within a drug class.

Medication quality control involves all the actions a company takes to make sure medicines are pure, safe and compliant with all laws and regulations.

Medication quality control is important for many reasons. Keep reading to find out why quality control is a must when providing medicine for your patients.

 

There are multiple medication quality control processes involved to ensure safety for patients. Keep reading to find out more about how safety is increased by quality control of repackaged medications.

Medication Quality Control to Prevent Counterfeiting

Counterfeiting mostly happens online, when unethical manufacturers try to pass on illegal forms of medication to consumers. This is a serious crime with severe penalties that will be enforced by the Federal Drug Administration.

Counterfeit drugs usually have the wrong ingredients or the wrong doses of the right ingredients. Both are dangerous for patients.

Repackaged medications undergo medication quality control processes that prevent counterfeiting.

Drugs are registered, making it many times harder for counterfeit criminals to manufacture and deal the product.

Inspectors who participate in extensive training and work for repackaging companies, can identify counterfeit pharmaceuticals. They can then file the right complaints or assist in taking legal actions against the counterfeit criminals.

Medication Quality Control Compliance

Both the Drug Enforcement Agency and the Federal Drug Administration have regulations and medication quality control assurances that repackaging companies must follow.

If repackaging companies fail to adhere to the regulations, they are warned, inspected and eventually shut down and prevented from operating. Repackaging companies are expected to provide documentation and visual proof that all regulations are being met.

The World Health Organization sets forth dispensing guidelines that must be followed by the physician and practice staff. Repackaging companies make it easy for doctors to comply with these guidelines, which cover the entire process from writing the prescription to handing medicine to the patient.

Closure Quality Control

The containers used at the repackaging company must prove to be better than the original container from the manufacturer.

The new containers must abide by moisture, light, vapors, and sealant regulations.

Repackaging companies are experts in containers and the standards set forth for protecting medicine.

All of this means the children and young family members of your patients will not be able to open medication containers that may be left lying around the house. These containers passing medication quality control procedures make it safer for everyone.

So, not only is your patient protected, but so are their children.

Quality Control of Narcotics

Controlled substances are being abused daily by patients, even some of your patients. They overtake their medication, they sell them on the street or trade them for their drug of choice.

Controlled substances are also abused by manufacturers who want to use them for illegal purposes.

Repackaging of narcotics and other controlled substances has very strict medication quality control processes. Controlled substances are coded and labeled. Meaning, they are traceable all the way back to the manufacturer.

This provides you and your patients with the reassurance that if a medication is stolen or misused, it can be tracked to verify where the medicine originated and for whom or what it was intended.

Environmental Quality Control

Repackaging facilities must follow strict guidelines when it comes to keeping their environment clean. Pharmacies are not held to the standards repackaging facilities are required to follow. From room temperature to how often and with what counters are cleaned.

It makes you wonder just how often busy pharmacists take the time to clean their sorting and compounding counters during a day. Germs transfer from one site to another, from one medication to another.

Repackaging medications prevents this from happening due to the medication quality control environmental safety measures that must be followed.

In addition to these measures, quality control of repackaging facilities includes security tactics including cameras and personnel. Monitoring is controlled with the use of state of the art computerized technology.

Because of the many medication quality control processes of repackaging facilities, you can feel confident prescribing repackaged medication to your patients because they go above and beyond ordinary standards.

 

Avoid Wrong Medication | Proficient Rx

What Happens if a Pharmacy Gives the Wrong Medication?

The results of a pharmacy getting the wrong medication can be devastating, and even fatal. A Johns Hopkins Medical report claims medical errors are the third leading cause of death in America.

Medication errors account for more than one million emergency room visits each year, according to the Center for Disease Control.

What Are Medication Errors?

A medication error is defined as any event that can be prevented but due to error on the part of the physician, pharmacist or patient, causes harm to the patient.

Such errors can happen due to labeling or packaging errors. Errors can also happen due to compounding, pharmacist dispensing, and even the education provided to the patient from the pharmacy staff.

Pharmacists are busy. They receive hundreds of orders every day from patients who want their prescriptions filled immediately. Because of this type of pressure, it is easy for a pharmacist to miss the mark in various stages of the prescription filling process and hand out the wrong medication or otherwise mess up.

Patient Can Have a Negative Reaction

Pharmacists can accidentally get medicines mixed up. Some medicines have similar sounding names. Some have similar shape, size and colors. When compounding and sorting multiple medicines on the same counter, mix-ups can happen and the wrong medication could be given.

Accidents like these can lead to allergic reactions in patients who trust the pharmacist to get it right.

Allergic reactions can vary from person to person. Hives and rashes can appear on some people who are dealing with a negative reaction. Some may get a high fever, while others may feel their airways swelling or closing from the wrong medication.

Nausea, vomiting, itchiness and coughing are signs to watch for. They will be quite noticeable, making you feel very uncomfortable.

Wheezing and difficulty breathing are more serious symptoms of an allergic reaction. It is important to get medical treatment immediately for any of your reactions, especially to avoid an overdose from the wrong medication or amount.

Patient Can Overdose

Overdose means to take too much of a substance. In this case, it means a patient taking too much of a prescription medicine. When learning about overdoses, you must understand that to overdose, there must be a dose that is first considered safe.

The prescribed dose is the amount the doctor feels will be most effective for treating the patient’s ailment. If someone takes more than the base dose, overdose can become a reality.

Overdoses can be intentional, accidental or due to pharmacist error.

An overdose can happen when a patient takes a higher dose of a medication than they should have. An overdose can also happen when a patient takes the wrong medication, thinking it was the right medicine. Furthermore, an overdose can happen when a patient takes too many medications.

All these are often mistakes created at the pharmacy.

Whether the pharmacist misread the doctor’s prescription or put a label on the medicine with a typo, overdoses do take place way more often than they should.

Patient Can Die

There are several cases in which a patient has been given the wrong medication or the wrong dose of a medicine by a pharmacist and it has lead to their death.  On top of all the pain and heartache this creates, it also sets up a pharmacist for a major lawsuit.

Take the case of a young boy who was given the wrong medication by a pharmacy that was 1,000 times higher than prescribed. Errors like this are devastating for everyone involved. It is devastating because these errors are preventable.

How to Avoid Wrong Medication 7 Other Errors

It is becoming more and more clear that dispensing at the point of care is the safest way to help patients receive the right medication at the right dose for treatment.

Physician dispensing is becoming popular across the nation and patients are feeling the love. This is a convenient and practical service your patients appreciate. In-office dispensing has many benefits.

The most noticeable benefit is safety and reduction in medication errors including the wrong medication or wrong strength.

Physicians can prescribe medications and fill those prescriptions using prepackaged medication, which arrives in individual doses contained in blister packaging for added safety.

Prepackaged medication can be ordered for the specific amount of medicine needed versus getting a bottle full of pills that make it easier for a patient to take more than needed.

Other Safety Benefits of Doctor Dispensing

Storing and accessing prepackaged medicines are easy for you. When you prescribe a prescription, you simply retrieve it from a locked cabinet in your office. The next step is for you to print the label.

Ensuring information is correct on the label is very easy to do when prescribing at the point of care. The information you enter into the computer is automatically printed according to compliance laws in order to avoid giving out the wrong medication or wrong instructions. To further safety, the computer software can alert you if there are interactions between medications.

It makes you verify the information before printing. And because you have hundreds less prescriptions to fill, you have the time to make this effort a priority.

The software can also alert you to when refills are needed for a patient. This ensures they are not missing any doses and having a lapse in treatment.

Medical Accuracy | Proficient Rx

The Importance of Medical Accuracy

Most physicians are confident in their medical accuracy. However, just because confidence is high does not mean they are indeed correct in their diagnoses. One study of 118 physicians across the United States were studied.

The results found that physicians were only 55 percent accurate. However, their confidence in the medical accuracy of their diagnoses was very high. These are alarming results. But with over 10,000 medical diagnoses to choose from, you can see how this can be a frequent problem.

In addition, making a diagnosis is based on many factors including lab tests, consultations, and truthful reporting on the part of the patient.

Despite all of this, medical accuracy is necessary for many reasons, some of which are listed below.

Avoid Malpractice Lawsuits

According the National Practitioner Data Bank, there were over 140,000 medical malpractice payout reports filed in the United States in 2016.

While personal injury lawyers may be okay with these statistics, physicians are not.

Physicians want to do whatever it takes to avoid such malpractice lawsuits. Steps you can take to avoid lawsuits is to spend more time with your patients to make sure your evaluation is complete for the greatest chance of medical accuracy.

Patients forget a lot of their own personal medical histories. If you have enough questions in your evaluation, you are likely to gain the most accurate information from them. This will lead to accurate diagnoses rather than misdiagnoses that can lead to legal issues.

Avoid Causing Injury to Your Patient

Misdiagnosis has been reported as a main reason for injuries caused to patients. Injuries can include the side effects medicines produce. Injuries can also be caused by interactions between medicines or allergic reactions the patients have because of taking the wrong medicine.

Using doctor dispensing software or a web based portal can all but eliminate this problem. The software is installed with technology that can detect possible harmful interactions among drugs you are prescribing and help increase medical accuracy with prescription dispensing.

It can also compare your patient’s chart with a medicine you prescribe to check for potential allergic reactions.

Avoid Patient Death With Increased Medical Accuracy

A CNN headline reads, “Medical errors may be third leading cause of death.” That is an alarming statement. According to the Institute of Medicine, misdiagnoses contribute to ten percent of patient deaths in the United States.

You are in the business of patient care and while mistakes do happen, you want to take every extra measure to ensure medical accuracy and avoid fatalities among your patients.

Misdiagnoses can happen for many reasons, from physician inattention to patients not telling the truth about their symptoms. To protect yourself from a misdiagnosis, employ a stricter evaluation system.

Have patients sign off on their own evaluations, giving them the opportunity to add information and verify that everything they have told you is true.

Avoid Prescribing the Wrong Medicines

Prescribing the wrong medicine can harm a patient. Prescribing the right medicine for a wrong diagnosis can harm a patient. Furthermore, the wrong dosage of the right medicine can harm a patient. This makes medical accuracy when it comes to prescriptions paramount in maintaining a reputable practice.

This is another time when using a web based portal could come in handy. The software installed will recognize if the medicine is incorrect, alerting you to act.

With the number of patients, you see in a day or week, you could benefit from help in identifying issues with the medicines you are prescribing. The software can also keep you updated as to whether the patient is compliant with taking their medications.

When patients are compliant and your medical accuracy improves, you both get better results.

Improved Health Outcomes

Medical accuracy leads to patients reaching their treatment plan goals. They start showing signs of getting healthier. They report feeling better and being able to participate more actively in daily activities. They are noticeably happier.

You are meeting your goals as a physician when your patient outcomes increase. You too can feel good about the way you practice medicine. How healthy your patients become partially depends on how well you do your job.

Being accurate in your diagnoses and in prescribing the right medicines are two ways you can evaluate yourself. It is how your patients will measure your performance.

Use tools that can help you make the right decisions when treating patients. Implement services such as in-office dispensing that gives you more control over how you treat patients. Use the web based portal that comes with round the clock support. Take advantage of the software benefits that range from checking for drug interactions and allergies to billing to claims submission.

Using tools such as these can help you reach your goals of having successful patient outcomes and maintaining medical accuracy.

medication quality control | Proficient Rx

The Importance of Medication Quality Control

The quality of a product, especially in the pharmaceutical industry, should be taken into consideration from the moment it is created until the expiration date. Quality should not end as soon as the product leaves the manufacturer or as soon as it reaches the patient. This makes medication quality control an important factor to consider when deciding where to get your medications from.

Quality needs to be analyzed at all levels. From the initial combination of ingredients, compounding, sorting, packaging, shipping, distributing and even consuming are steps covered through quality control procedures.

What is Medication Quality Control?

When a company does everything it can to make sure a product or drug is in top quality condition, they are practicing medication quality control.  They put the drug through processes and experiments to make sure errors are non-existent.

Both manufacturers and packagers take extra steps to maintain this quality with each drug, making consistency a reality within a drug class.

Medication quality control involves all the actions a company takes to make sure medicines are pure, safe and compliant with all laws and regulations.

Medication quality control is important for many reasons. Keep reading to find out why quality control is a must when providing medicine for your patients.

Medication Quality Assurance

Medication quality control and quality assurance are different, yet both are necessary when it comes to manufacturing and supplying medications.

Quality assurance includes the processes and procedures that are implemented to assess the operations associated with the production of a medicine.

No Counterfeits

The Federal Drug Administration defines a counterfeit drug as one that is sold as a product without proper authorization.

Statistics on counterfeit drugs are alarming.

Internet sales of counterfeit drugs are around $75 billion. These counterfeit drugs have either the wrong ingredients or wrong amounts of the ingredients, making them dangerous for patients. It has been reported that around 80 percent of counterfeit drugs consumed in the United States come from overseas.

Drugs should be registered to avoid counterfeiting. Registering drugs makes it many times harder for counterfeit criminals to manufacture and deal the product.

Inspectors who participate in extensive training can identify counterfeit pharmaceuticals. They can then file the right complaints or assist in taking legal actions against the counterfeit criminals.

Safety for Patients

The World Health Organization has a prequalification process that can assess the safety and quality of medicines. They make sure medicines meet appropriate standards. They also have the capability of evaluating and prequalifying ingredients used to make pharmaceuticals in order to increase medication quality control.

Reduce Liability

Medical malpractice lawsuits happen every day, even when the physician has a great reputation. There are eager people who want to file negligence claims against physicians, even when the doctor has done everything right.

If patients are given medicines that have the wrong ingredients, serious health hazards could occur. This could lead to malpractice or liability issues for your practice. The drug manufacturer could also be held responsible. Therefore many, including prepackaged companies, take extra steps to ensure medication quality control.

To avoid any liability such as this, make sure the packaging company you choose to work with values quality control processes. Good packaging companies will be excited to tell you all the safety tests they have passed as part of their medication quality control process. They will want you to know they strive for perfection in every area, from sorting to labeling to shipping.

Customer/ Patient Loyalty

If your patients are consistently given products that are proven to be top quality, they will want to continue with you as their provider. Patients do not want to have to switch physicians. They seek long-term relationships with service providers.

As a physician, you seek loyal customers who will support your practice for many years. One of the main ways to keep patients on your roster is to provide them with the best medicines.

Patients want to feel better, quickly. Supplying them with medicines that have undergone strict medication quality control assessments and passed according to quality standards will show your patients you care about their health.

You can feel proud to explain to patients the amount of inspection and confirmation of quality the medicine you are prescribing undergoes. This will help your patients feel secure. They trust you. You want to be able to honor their trust.

In return, patients will remain loyal while also recommending you to others, growing your client list.

It is important for you, as a physician, to double and triple check the medication quality control processes associated with the medicines you prescribe. Find out for yourself if the company is reputable and if it values quality. You owe it to your patients to make sure they receive the best product available.

 

 

 

Pre-Packaged Medicines | Proficient Rx

5 Reasons Pre-Packaged Medicines are Safest

Pre-Packaged Medicines contribute greatly to the healthcare industry. It contributes how much money is saved and wasted. It contributes to patients adhering to their plans and can prevent accidental overdoses.

Packaging of medicine also can aid in errors made by doctors and pharmacists.

Below are five ways the use of pre-packaged medicine can provide safer use among patients.

1. Patients Take Medicine as Prescribed

Reports state that patients do not take their medicine as prescribed. One of the main reasons they do not do this is because they forget if they have taken their dose for the day. Even if they use pill organizers, it can be confusing.

The cost in America of not taking medicines as prescribed is close to $300 billion.

It has been reported that at least ten percent of the American population is on five or more medications. This can be very overwhelming for those trying to stick to a regimen that works. Patients often forget which medicines are best taken in the morning and which at night.

They forget which medicines may interact if taken together and which are best when combined.

Pre-packaged medicines eliminate this confusion. Your patients will be able to tell if they have taken the correct dose, providing safety and reducing the fear of overdose.

2. Prevents Accidental Overdose

When patients do not have an effective system of tracking the medication they have taken throughout the day, they may accidentally take too much of their medicine.

Accidental overdoses occur mainly with those who are taking prescription pain medicines. In fact, just in the United States, around 60,000 people accidentally overdosed on prescription medications such as opioids in 2016.

Patients on pain medications may not be thinking clearly due to the effects of the medication. This can lead them to abuse their medicines, which can ultimately lead to accidents.

With pre-packaged medications, patients don’t have to think about their dose or count how many pills are left in their bottle. This will allow for improved outcomes.

3. Improves Patient Outcomes

When patients accidentally misuse their medications, or forget to take them altogether, they have poor outcomes. Meaning, their health suffers and conditions worsen.

With  pre-packaged medications, patients do not have to wonder if they have taken their medicines or not. The packaging tells them. This system keeps a person on track with their medicine schedule, allowing them to experience the full benefits of the medicines prescribed to them.

Calendarized blister packaging is becoming very popular. It has shown great improvements in patient outcomes. With specific dates on the packaging, patients know exactly when to take their medicine. Instructions are also provided as to when to call for refills.

As reported by the National Center for Biotechnology Information, a study showed pre-packaged medicines with reminders had a positive effect on both patient adherence and outcomes.

Another study found that patients with diabetes benefited from pre-packaged medicines in keeping their blood pressure down and their glycemic levels in a healthy range.

Pre-packaged medicines can also eliminate errors with dispensing medicines that sound alike and look alike.

4. Reduces Pharmacist and Doctor Errors

You are human. You make mistakes. Dispensing medicines is one area where you want to make as few mistakes as possible. Pre-packaged medicines can help with this, especially when it is the doctor dispensing the medication directly.

If you work in a hospital, you know just how complex the medication systems can be. The more people involved with a prescription, the more room for error. There are many reasons for these errors, from lack of training to environmental stress.

Pre-packaged medicines can reduce all of the reasons, especially with simply getting them mixed up.

There are many medications that sound alike and look alike. When you are busy and in a rush, the two can be mixed up. Your patients trust you to know that you are giving them the right medication. They trust you so much that they will take their medication without hesitation, even if it appears different.

This is why you have to take every precaution necessary to ensure your patient’s safety.

A very recent example took place in England, where a pharmacist prescribed propranolol instead of prednisone to a patient. That patient died. In his trial, the pharmacist admitted the medicines were next to each other on the shelf and their packaging was similar.

Devastating events like this can be reduced and even eliminated with pre-packaged medication.

5. Pre-Packaged Medicines are Becoming Smarter

The packaging of medicine is constantly being reviewed and tested and upgraded. Pre-packaged medicines are currently child-resistant and elderly friendly. However, they are constantly being improved for patient safety.

Current designs are being tested to add a smart element to the packaging. One that can connect with technology such as a smart phone to enable reminders for patients to take their medications on time. Smart apps and programs are showing much progress in this field.

The materials used for packaging are child-resistant but are not hard for the elderly to open. They are sensitive to helping medicines remain the right temperatures also.

Patients often store their medicines at the wrong temperatures, causing them to lose effectiveness. Pre-packaging materials are able to protect the longevity of the medicines so the effectiveness remains strong.

All these Reasons benefit the patient the most, not the pharmaceutical companies.

Currently, the way medicines are packaged benefits the pharmaceutical companies the most, not the patient.

Pharmaceutical companies have been known to create packaging that forces you, as the doctor, to waste medicine. For instance, a patient may need 30 miligrams of a medicine that only comes in 20 miligram packaging.

You must use a full and another half of the medicine to give a patient the correct dose. What happens to the rest? It is thrown away. But the manufacturers of the product have doubled their profits.

This is an unfair practice that can harm the patient and the industry. When the goal focuses on money rather than properly treating the patient, errors can be made. Prepackaged medications can help solve this issue.

By investing in the use of pre-packaged medicines, you are putting your patients care as the top priority. You are helping them take their medicines as prescribed, which helps them improve their quality of life.

 

Learn More about our prepackaged medication services or contact us today to determine how we can best meet your needs!