When Makala saw the fax come in from a mail-order specialty pharmacy she knew there could be trouble. A prescription refill request for one of her patients didn’t seem right. The patient was being treated at the hospital clinic, helped by Makala, the on-site specialty pharmacy liaison, but prescriptions were filled with a mail-order pharmacy as required by the patient’s insurance.
Makala knew the patient and remembered she had gone off the medication requested on the fax order and started a new treatment six months earlier. Should the patient receive her old medication the health consequences could be dire at worst, or very confusing at best. Acting on her hunch, Makala called the mail-order specialty pharmacy to verify the refill request. After several rounds of back-and-forth between the clinic nurse and the mail-order specialty pharmacy she discovered that the refill was for a different patient at the clinic. The patient name on the fax was incorrect.
After tracking down the correct patient and matching the refill a potential crisis was averted. Thanks to a personal connection between the patient and her in-house pharmacy liaison, the correct patient got her medications on time, without a treatment gap, and the misnamed patient did not take her old medication.
The modern model for specialty pharmacy care puts patients in the center of a team made up of providers, nurses, in-clinic patient liaisons and a group of subject matter experts who perform the vital work required to make medications available and affordable to patients. Communication and personal connections between all care team members and the patient can be lifesaving.