We’ve been noodling on various ways to reduce the Electronic Health Record burden for our docs. One thing we’re going to change, across our system, is the way we set defaults for new prescriptions and for prescription renewals, for non-controlled, long term maintenance medications, like for diabetes (eg insulin, metformin), hypertension (lisinopril, hydrochlorothiazide), heart disease (metoprolol, spironolactone), and so on.
What does it mean? In the past, we have prescribers writing for 30 days, 60 days or 90 days supply of medication, and then some random number of refills, up to 1 year. As our practices get busier (and with the pandemic, as we have fewer clinical staff in our offices), the volume of prescription renewal requests are growing quickly. Why not, with these low-risk, unchanging medications, to reduce the burden for both prescriber and patient by writing for a 90 day (maximum allowed) supply and specifying 4 refills?
Our previous default, 3 (three) refills gets you to 360 days, for the patient who renews on time, so adding a 4th refill allows you to fill within 365 days (maximum allowed by federal law).
The countervailing federal law, for Medicare patients, is that annual visits will not be paid by insurance within 365 days, it must be AT LEAST 365 days since last annual visit. So… you can see how patients could routinely run out of their meds a week before their earliest annual appointment.
Hence, the song above: “King of the Code.”
CMIO’s take? The Solution: “90 by 4, don’t bother me no more.” Thanks to Christine Sinsky for the pithy rhyming couplet. This will take a chunk of unnecessary work out of our inbaskets and get us back to more important patient care.