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Pharmacy Processes

"Exceptional Service, Exceptional People"

A motto can say a lot about a company and who is working for that company. At Pharmacy Alternatives, we take pride in our motto in all departments. It's not just a line to us. We are always striving to evaluate and to improve our processes so our customers get the service they need and deserve. This motto is a part of all the pharmacy processes that we perform every day in getting your medications filled, packaged, and delivered to you in a timely manner.

Order Entry

Your pharmacist processes new orders as they come in by phone or fax. The preferred method for sending in orders is to fax them. This puts the order in the pharmacy queue to come up in our computerized Docutrack system. Docutrack is just what it sounds like: it tracks documents. The system's two computers sit side by side. One computer's screen shows the prescription that you just faxed to us. On the other computer, the order entry technician or pharmacist pulls up the patient's entire medication history. In this way, every new order or communication that comes in via the fax machine can be electronically "stapled" together forever and becomes a part of the patient's history. The pharmacist takes new orders and enters those into the system for the first time so that they will be filled right away by the dispensing pharmacist. An order entry technician enters in recurring or refill orders to be filled. It is a unique and efficient system that keeps you - and us - organized!

Medical Records

Sincerely caring about you, we make sure that information used in your medical care or for your loved one is correct and current, thereby assisting the nurse and other caregivers to provide the best healthcare. Keeping our line of communication open to the nursing team who provide care for you or your family member makes it easy for them to contact us to request any changes or updates or to ask any question about the variety of MARs (Medical Administration Records), treatment records, or physician orders that meet the needs of that client or organization. Since we have specific medical records staff dedicated to serving certain clients or homes, we get very familiar with the records we update. We care about the accuracy of all the records we prepare each month. We look forward to giving you our best!

Dispensing Medications

Times have changed since the lone pharmacist stood behind a divider and methodically counted out the prescribed amount of pills and dispensed them into a vial. Many advances have occurred in pharmacy technology to allow us to package thousands of pills in a day in a more efficient and more accurate manner. Pharmacy Alternatives' specialized robotic dispensing and packaging machine makes it easy to get hundreds of bubblepacks packaged in a day. With the bar code reader on top, we know exactly what medication is going in and coming out. The chances of error are greatly decreased from the old lone pharmacist method. In addition, we can serve many more customers with this system! We still hand-package medications that require specialized instructions, such as two pills per bubble or if vials or liquid medications are needed.

Specialized Packaging

We provide medications in bubblepack cards for most organizations. These cards have clear plastic "bubbles" of 31 or 62 bubbles per card, making it easier for clients, staff, and families to identify the medication encased inside. This decreases the potential for medication counting errors, increases drug recognition, and works effectively with the variety of medication administration systems used by many organizations where clients may administer their own meds or nurses/staff may give the meds. These cards also eliminate much of the guesswork for families who may occasionally be required to give medications.

Shipping and Delivery of Medications

Shipping is a key part of pharmacy processes. We take everything into account, including potential natural disasters, seasonal temperature changes, and road closings when shipping out medications. Weather can often play a role in how we ship the meds. We utilize all resources to make sure that customers get what they need. If we have flooding in an area, we look for alternate open routes to get to the customer. If we have a blizzard in another area, we know that all of our couriers have 4-wheel drive vehicles and that they understand we expect 100% even during the worst weather.

The integrity of your medications is so important that the slightest weather change can disrupt that process. We work to make sure that nothing affects your meds. All refrigerated medications are sent in a cooler or in a separate box from all other medications.

We understand that many of our customers have activities to attend at different times and that time demands are important. This is why we determine the BEST method for delivery of your meds, whether it be UPS, a private courier service, or some other method. Considerations include individual features of your geographic area (like mountains, distances between delivery sites, common weather patterns) and the needs of a specific organization. Every package is tracked with a system that UPS and our courier services have provided for us. We can tell where a package is at any given time, when it will be delivered, and who signed for it. We can even email or fax a copy of the signature to you at your request within minutes. You are in the best hands possible when you entrust your medication needs to Pharmacy Alternatives.

Quality Assurance

It is imperative that you receive the medications that the doctor ordered for you, in the doses you are supposed to get, at the times you need to get them. For that to happen, several things must occur. First, the order must be written correctly by the physician and sent by fax to the pharmacy by the nurse, staff, family, or customer. If this is a new order, it must then be reviewed by the pharmacist in combination with the medication history, allergies, and other pertinent information in the Docutrack system. The pharmacist looks for potentially dangerous drug interactions, allergy to the medication, and other contraindications for use that would be serious. The medication label is printed, the medication is dispensed and packaged, and the label is affixed onto the bubblepack, insuring that what the label states matches the medication it is being attached to. Another pharmacist then checks to insure that the physician order, the label, and the medication are correct in all areas. Each of the quality checks in this series must occur before the new medication can be shipped out the door to you. You will see the quality!

Billing

The Billing Department handles all that fun stuff like making sure your medications get paid for by your insurance, if possible, and resubmitting claims that should have been paid, but weren't. Our goal is for your healthcare dollars for your medicine to go as far as they can ... with no waste. We have recently revised our Billing Statement to provide more information to you and to make it more user-friendly. We regularly review billing statements for inaccuracies and follow up on any questions you may have about your bill immediately.

Education

Pharmacy Alternatives is different from other pharmacies because it is our commitment to provide ongoing clinical support and education to our customers in the form of access to resources, webinars, symposia, educational events with CEUs for Nurses, and a monthly clinical newsletter that is packed with information about new drugs, issues in developmental disabilities, medical diseases and conditions, and Best Practices in pharmacy. For those of you interested in finding out about the latest research in the developmental disabilities field, we provide easy access to links for this information. We also have a full-time Certified Developmental Disabilities Nurse on staff who is a resource for all of our customers.