Pharmacist-Led Renewal Clinic: The Gift of Time and Money

Medication Review


The most common medications, usually for chronic conditions, that need to be renewed continuously for varying lengths of time. This can cause extended workloads and operational challenges for providers and staff. Patients are not seen each time that a refill is needed. This can be due to the fact that they already had a follow up appointment, the patient has an appointment scheduled, etc.1 Medication doses can also change between refills due to labs, response or adherence issues, all of which make it very difficult for the provider to prescribe groups of medications that all need renewing at the same time.1 The burden presented to the workflow can be outlined in this practical example.

Common Scenario:

Medical Assistants (MA) are tasked with preparing prescription renewals as they are received from the pharmacy or patient. The MA then gathers the necessary information and sends it to the provider. The provider looks back at previous notes on the patient, checks labs, checks for upcoming appointments, and decides how many refills to assign this medication.
This is to be managed while balancing the other responsibilities that the MA has; taking calls, rooming patients and gathering information for the providers; Providers care for patients, chart visits, order labs, and need to be available for any issues that arise – All tasks must be completed, and if they can’t be done during the normal work day, providers must finish these at the end of an already long day.
Now, facilities are incorporating technology and partnerships to find efficiencies.

Problem solvers are integrating a pharmacist-led renewal service to reduce the time burden on providers to keep up with medication renewals for their patients. Incorporating an onsite pharmacist allows both provider and support staff, to focus on patient care and well-being. These pharmacists are dedicated throughout each workday to make sure that renewals are processed quickly and efficiently for each and every patient. Adapters are benefitting from this service due to:

1. Increased revenue to the practice
2. Increased time
3. Increased efficiency

Increased Revenue

The average provider has approximately 20 renewals each day to address. If each one of these takes an average of three minutes, that is an extra 60 minutes of work each day.
The average appointment time is 20 minutes and can be billed at a minimum of $150 for the visit. Getting rid of the time you need to take to do renewals, with 60 extra minutes each day equates to:

Three extra appointments each day x $150 per appointment (average) = $450 per day
$450 extra per day x 22 work days in a month = $9,900 extra billing per month or…
$118,800 per year!

Cost of pharmacist to manage renewals:
$4.00 per renewal done x 20 renewals/day = $80.00
$80.00 x 22 work days per month = $1,760 per month
$9,900 – $1,760 = $8,140 profit to clinic per month

Net gain to clinic:
$97,680 per year

*Note: This is only for one physician. If the clinic has multiple physicians, the net gain is higher.

Increase in Time for Medical Assistants and Support Staff

Most often in the clinical setting the provider’s support staff is stretched very thin. Not only do they have to do their normal functions, but they must get any renewals that come in electronically; by fax; by patient call or by pharmacy call. This can take a huge toll on the support staff and can be detrimental in the accomplishing their normal workload.
Pharmacist-Led Renewals compliment your practice by providing time for clinical workers to do the jobs they were hired for.

Increased Efficiency for Lab Monitoring and Patient Follow Up

The Pharmacist-led Renewals are designed to add to the patient care experience. Specific guidelines are followed to make sure that medications and chronic conditions are monitored appropriately. Medications are renewed if patients are compliant with monitoring, compliant with follow up appointments, etc.1 This practice allows for better patient care and more thorough monitoring of the patient from all aspects.

Clinical support services – such as Pharmacist-Led Renewals – help a practice gain the time that is needed to provide the most effective care possible to patients. Collaboration with all medical staff is necessary to achieve the highest level of care possible, while increasing the potential revenue of the facility and giving a practice the give of the two most desirable commodities out there….time AND money!

1. McKinnon A, Jorgenson D. Pharmacist and Physician Collaborative Prescribing For Medication Renewals within a Primary Health Centre. Canadian Family Physician [Internet]. 2009 Dec [cited 2016 Jan 20]; 55(12): 86-91.