Maintaining updated patient information in your pharmacy software is not a difficult task. However, it’s something that most pharmacies struggle with.
This tends to stem from all the other responsibilities falling on the shoulders of pharmacy professionals today. When you’ve got a line out the door, checking to make sure Jerry Jones’s home phone number hasn’t changed is something that is easily pushed to the back burner.
To help you stay up to date on the information that helps you better take care of your pharmacy patients, we’ve gathered five easy ways to maintain patient information in your pharmacy system.
Patient Intake Forms:
When new patients come into your pharmacy, instead of taking their information verbally, ask them to fill out a patient intake form. This can include all their basic demographic information, insurance information and other information that may help you or them in the future, such as:
- How did you hear about us?
- If you’re located in multicultural area and have members on staff that are bi-lingual, ask what their preferred language is.
- Are you interested in our delivery service? Then, proceed to ask for their address.
- Ask if they’re taking multiple medications, and then use this as opportunity to plug your adherence program.
These forms contain PHI, so you will either need to shred the document or lock it away in a secure place once you’ve entered the information into your system and follow your HIPAA policy.
Don’t know where to start with an intake form? Don’t worry!
2D Barcode Scan of Driver’s License:
If your pharmacy POS system is capable, you can use your 2D barcode scanner to scan driver’s licenses to save patients’ time when filling out and intake form or when asking for updated information. On the form above the demographic section you can state, “If you have your driver’s license and all information is correct, you need not fill out this section of the form. If any information on your license is incorrect, please correct the information below.”
In a fast-paced world where we’ve grown so used to technology expediting processes for us, patients will appreciate this. It also highlights your investment in pharmacy technology and separates you from other pharmacies.
Patient Insurance Look Up:
It happens on occasion. People forget their wallets – we all do it. Maybe it is the first of the year and a patient hasn’t received their new insurance card yet. Perhaps they took it out to make sure Dr. Smith is in their network and forget to put it back in their wallet. Also, it’s becoming increasingly common for insurance providers to not hand out cards. The point is, there are many reasons a customer may not have their insurance card.
This is where insurance look up comes in. If the patient can provide you with a little bit of information, typically their last name and the last four of their social security number, you can look up their commercial insurance policy through your pharmacy software. Also, depending on the capabilities of your pharmacy software, you may be able to look up Medicare Part D and (in some states) Medicaid plans.
Customer Web Portal and Smartphone App:
When patients come in, encourage them to sign up for an online account for your pharmacy’s web portal or to download your pharmacy’s app. This can give them access to their information on demand and allow them to make changes whenever they have time. They will also have the ability to order refills using these.
If you’re stuck on how to get them to sign up, try bag stuffers and in-store advertisements, and don’t forget to play up the convenience factor. They’ll love it.
In some pharmacy software systems you can set a system reminder to encourage you to verify that patient information has not changed and to update any new information. These reminders can be set every six months or a year, whatever timeframe works for your pharmacy. This works patient information verification into the normal check out process, so it’s done quickly while the patient’s file is already open.
Also, it’s easily bypassed if you happen to be extremely busy that day.
Pro tips for collecting patient information:
- Ask for email addresses. You can use these create an email marketing campaign — send them promotional emails, holiday and birthday email and coupons to drive OTC sales. They will love the fact that you think of them and stay in touch even when they may not need your services.
- Incentivize form completion. Provide a simple bowl of chocolate near the counter that provides a reward for completing a patient information update form including their email address. It’s amazing what people will do for a piece of candy.
- Offer incentives for their time. Sometimes patients don’t want to take the time to slow down and give you their information, so offer them something if they do, like candy or a ticket in a raffle drawing. “We’re updating patient information, would you like to take a few minutes to go over your information with me? You could win a $25 gift card to Starbucks.”
Never let collecting patient information sit on the back burner. Using these five simple methods will help you maintain patient information without throwing off your checkout workflow.
Don't forget to download your free patient information form below.