Most people encounter a pharmacy on a regular basis. And I find that many patients want to just pay for their medication and go, but they’re missing out on important information. Below, I will detail some “insider tips” that will help you make the most from your pharmacy.
Here are questions to consider asking whenever you pick up your prescription:
- Specific directions on how to take the medication. For example, if you have questions about how much to take, how often to take it, how long to take the medication (days/weeks) etc.
- Side effects to watch for
- What to do if a dose is missed
- How to store the medication
- Drug interactions with any medications that the pharmacy doesn’t fill for you (such as supplements, herbals, over-the-counter medications, etc.)
Use only one pharmacy
It’s best to only use one pharmacy because that pharmacy will have a complete record of all the medications you take. This is important for safety, as your pharmacist can be aware of any potential interactions between different medications you may be taking.
I recognize that people do “shop around” sometimes, such as for pricing reasons, or simply due to convenience—whichever pharmacy is closest to where they are at the time. While retail pharmacies within the same chain should be able to see all your medication records, if you use different pharmacies, your pharmacist will only receive information from your insurance company. This reduces their ability to detect interactions or other concerns.
How a pharmacy processes your new prescriptions
If you bring a paper prescription to the counter at your pharmacy, the process is pretty straightforward. We will put it into the queue and fill it while you wait. Sometimes we will need to collect some basic identifying information, process insurance, and enter any copay coupons you may have been given.
If the prescriber sends the prescription to the pharmacy electronically or by fax, it will drop into the filling queue based upon the time that it arrived. Many patients expect that their prescription will be waiting for them because they saw the doctor send it electronically. Keep in mind that your prescription is worked into the rest of the day’s work—including refills for that pharmacy. Notify the pharmacy that you are there to pick up your prescription but if you’re coming straight from your doctor’s office, you should expect a small wait once you arrive. In this instance, if you are a patient of Deaconess Family Pharmacy, you can call ahead at 812-450-DRUG and let them know you’re on your way to get your prescription.
Tips Related to Refills
- If you are getting low on your medication, don’t wait until you are out before seeking a refill. Prescriptions can expire—there are laws that control how long prescriptions are good for. Prescriptions can also run out of refills. In either case, the prescriber must issue a new prescription (if they deem it medically appropriate), and this takes time. Call your pharmacy when you are getting down to the last 3-5 days’ worth of medication.
- If you have already run out of medication—you didn’t realize you were low—speak with your pharmacist to discuss options.
- If you use MyChart, the Deaconess electronic personal health record, you can use it to contact your physician to ask for a refill on your medications.
Note: MyChart does not pass information to a pharmacy. So when MyChart tells you your prescription has been refilled, that means that the prescription has been sent to the pharmacy—not necessarily that it’s filled, ready and waiting for you.
Additional services provided by pharmacies
Pharmacies do more than just fill prescriptions. Here are some helpful services and expertise that you and your family may benefit from:
- Immunizations. Many pharmacies now offer flu shots, shingles vaccine, pneumonia and sometimes travel vaccines.
- Medication consultation. For Medicare patients, your pharmacy may offer Medication Therapy Management (MTM). This is a clinical service provided by pharmacists that helps patients understand and manage their medications, as well as chronic diseases they may have, such as COPD, diabetes and more.
- Medication questions. Your pharmacist can answer questions and give recommendations about over-the-counter medications—not just prescriptions. For example, if you don’t understand the difference between several different cold/flu medications, we can help you sort them out.
- Help understanding how to administer medications. For example, maybe you’ve never given an injection before—to yourself or anyone else—and you now have a prescription that involves giving shots. We can show you how to do that.
- Helping with access to your medications. If you are having problems affording the cost of your medications, your pharmacist is a great resource. Your pharmacist can work with your provider to find alternatives that may work just as well at a price you can afford. The Deaconess Medication Assistance Program can also help you research manufacturer programs that can help.
More about the Deaconess Family Pharmacy
The Deaconess Family Pharmacy is a full-service pharmacy offering prescription medications and over-the-counter items at a discounted price. The pharmacy is staffed by your trusted Deaconess pharmacists and technicians and offers great service to Deaconess patients and employees.
Deaconess launched the Family Pharmacy to provide a benefit for employees and their families, to provide superior service to patients, and to reduce medication costs overall.
The pharmacy serves:
- Employees, physicians on medical staff, students on Deaconess rotations, and their dependent family members
- Patients of Deaconess and Deaconess-owned facilities
- Deaconess volunteers and board members
Deaconess Family Pharmacy stocks prescription medications, on-contract generics, and a selection of over-the-counter items. If you use a different pharmacy but would like to switch to the Deaconess Family Pharmacy, simply contact us and we will take care transferring your prescriptions.
We are also further expanding our efforts to help patients who are about to be discharged from the hospital. We want to be able to send them home with filled prescriptions—both for their convenience, as well as helping to ensure they will have the medications they need.
For complete details about the Deaconess Family Pharmacy, including location and hours, visit: Deaconess Family Pharmacy. Also, our phone number is 812-450-DRUG (3784).