Quality process and testing are the foundation of every good compounding pharmacy but we are often asked, “How does a pharmacy know that their quality assurance programs are paying off?” A second question usually follows – how they can also build their business utilizing these quality efforts.
Fortunately, several recent programs have given us insight into looking at quality with a new measuring stick – patient satisfaction and patient outcome.
So, how can we use these measures and techniques to improve and build a compounding practice? In the business of a compounding pharmacy, we need to ask these bottom-line questions: “Was the outcome of the treatment successful?” And, “Is the patient satisfied with their experience, and will they return in the future?”
In fact, the basic measure of quality – as defined by most experts – is “The product or service that adequately meets the expectation for which it was offered.”
7 TIPS TO CREATE GOOD DOCUMENTATION PRACTICES IN YOUR LAB
Measuring the outcome of a treatment protocol can provide for great case studies when communicated with physicians. What do great case studies and gauging patient satisfaction have in common? They both require Good Documentation Practices (GDP). Most healthcare providers are too busy to take the time and effort to follow up with their patients in a consistent and documented manner.
To make sure GDP are followed, documents should be made:
- Accurate: The document must be error free – accurate data
- Complete: Required information must be attached to document
- Permanent: Cannot be erased
- Legible: The document must be understandable
- Timely: Required information must be documented at the time the work is performed. NO back dating
- Clear: The document must limit the misinterpretation of what was performed or recorded
- Traceable: Each aspect of the document must be traceable, such as, who recorded it, where and why
Proper documentation doesn’t have to be time consuming and can be made into an easy task.
If you would like more information about GDP, we recommend registering for the Quality in Compounding Symposium. Glenda Lampkin will cover these practices and explain how to effectively make them part of your workflow in the lab.
3 POSITIVE RESULTS
Measuring outcomes and gauging patient satisfaction have many positive outcomes for a compounding pharmacy, but in our minds, three stand above all others:
- Marketing. Measuring the outcome of a treatment protocol can provide great case studies when communicated with practitioners. Most healthcare providers today are too busy to take the time and effort to follow up with their patients in a consistent and documented manner. When you can do this you build a valuable service with this important part of the health service team.
- Word of Mouth. One other benefit of this effort unique to compounding is that it may encourage patients to talk to their friends about the positive response that they had to their compounded medications and more specifically how pleased they were with your pharmacy in particular. We are always amazed by how many people, including practitioners, do not know how a compounding pharmacist can help them, and this little effort may pay off in a big way.
- Customer Retention. Finally, but maybe the most significant to your business growth – by following up with your patient base, you minimize the “lost out the back door” customer effect. Many compounders fail to realize that the easiest and best way to build a practice is to retain and encourage the patients you already have coming to your pharmacy.
- Start by talking with your practitioners. Explain why you are starting the program, how you plan to use the data you collect, and what feedback you will pass on to them. Ask them what their preferred method of communication is (phone, email, text, etc.) and how they would like to handle any recommendations you may see advisable.
- On the initial visit with your patient, explain that you will be following up with them once a month. This up-front conversation will significantly reduce call-backs or unanswered calls. And make sure the patient understands two very important aspects of their medication:
- How and when to use the medication.
- How to store the medication – does it need refrigeration? What about leaving it in a hot car in the summer?