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Documentation Pays Off in More Than One Way

Quality documentation ensures that pharmacies get paid for clinical services and offers a way to engage with patients.

With an increase in in-store services at the pharmacy, the value of good documentation has never been more important. Randy McDonough, PharmD, MS, BCGP, BCPS, FAPhA, CEO of Towncrest Pharmacy Corp, took the stage at the National Community Pharmacists Association (NCPA) 2022 Annual Convention, held October 1 through 4, 2022, in Kansas City, Missouri, to share his take on the importance of documentation. According to McDonough, he’s been a fan of documentation since his days as a pharmacy student—and follows the adage, “If you didn’t document it, you didn’t do it.”

Across his 8 pharmacies, McDonough has added significant revenue to his business with care plans. “eCare Plan is a noun,” he said. “It is a technology, a platform. Care planning is a verb.” Filling prescriptions might bring patients in the door, but the services that McDonough submits care plans for bring in significant revenue and help the patient achieve better therapeutic outcomes.

Changes to services aren’t made overnight; McDonough adds them incrementally, and only after he believes that a service will both serve the patient and increase revenue. Additionally, the pharmacy’s staff must be able to handle the new service. Such services could include immunizations beyond the basics or providing health screening services to area employers.

For many in pharmacy, the main reason for documenting may be to ensure payment. “[Payment] is important, but the main and primary reason why we document is for patient care,” McDonough noted. In the United States, medication-related issues costly issue. In the ‘90s, common wisdom was that for every dollar spent on a therapy, a dollar was spent to correct it—but today, the cost to correct has only gone up, outstripping the cost of the therapy. Taking the time to connect with patients will often pay off in the end, leading to greater patient engagement. In fact, McDonough has patients come into the pharmacy proactively, sharing, for example, recent labs, which could reduce medication issues.

Another reason to document everything, according to McDonough? Payers can audit a pharmacy at any time to ensure that services were actually rendered. Regular documentation can also create a legal record of care, which may come in handy.

When it comes to the actual documentation, McDonough had the following tips:

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  • Documentation need not be lengthy and exhaustive. Most documentation at his pharmacy is often acute and short.
  • Making the move to better documentation takes time. Not every pharmacy will have the same timeline.
  • Don’t forget: Care plans are dynamic.
  • Utilize pharmacy technicians to the top of their abilities and foster the desire to buy-in to the documentation process. Ensure that they know how they help the process and what it brings to the business.

The process to create a functional documentation workflow doesn’t happen overnight. Neither does the collaboration needed with physicians, which may require persistence. Addressing this, McDonough said, “There are certain things that drive collaboration. One of those things is trust. The other thing is competence. How is somebody going to trust your competence, unless they see the knowledge you have for the interventions that you give them.”

Drug Topics’ coverage of the 2022 NCPA Annual Convention and Expo is sponsored Prescryptive Health.

Reference

1. McDonough R. Documenting and getting paid for the value you provide. Presented at: National Community Pharmacists Association 2022 Annual Convention; October 1-4, 2022; Kansas City, MO.


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