The Ohio Academy of Family Physicians President Ratna Palakodeti, MD; OAFP Vice Speaker Stan Anderson, MD; and Executive Vice President Ann Spicer attended the March 4 meeting of the Ohio State Board of Pharmacy to continue the dialogue begun with representatives of the pharmacy board who attended the OAFP Board of Directors meeting on January 27.
Dr. Palakodeti expressed the Academy’s patient safety concerns with the auto refill practices of many pharmacies. Dr. Palakodeti used four patient scenarios to illustrate his points. The pharmacy board indicated that it would discuss the concerns expressed to determine what actions might be taken to alleviate problems created by the auto refill practice. Improved bi-directional communication between the physician and pharmacist is the ultimate solution but finding ways to help that occur quickly, efficiently, and with the least amount of administrative burden is essential.
In addition, Drs. Palakodeti and Anderson presented several suggestions for making the Ohio Automated Rx Reporting System (OARRS) more user-friendly. Suggestions included improving OARRS to allow individual physicians to review patient names reported as their patients to ensure that all are in fact patients. The pharmacy board indicated data entry on the pharmacist end continues to be a concern and that the most common mistake in OARRS data entry is the prescribing physician’s name.
In addition, it was suggested that prescribers have access to re-enter the system for regular patients without needing to resubmit information in multiple fields that have already been previously completed. Pharmacy board staff indicated a willingness to explore ways to make this possible.
Also discussed was providing physicians the data on their prescribing patterns vs. other’s prescribing patterns for the purpose of self-monitoring. The present OARRS system is not capable of making this information available, but the board agreed that this would be a very valuable tool for physicians to have for the purposes of self-monitoring prescribing habits. One of the barriers to the present OARRS system is that the system doesn’t identify the specialty of the prescribing physician. So for purposes of self-monitoring, OARRS would not be able to pull comparative data for primary care physicians only. Unfortunately the OARRS system was designed to be a one-way system – you put data in, but it is difficult to extract meaningful data from the system other than for the specific purpose for which the system was designed.
Finally, Dr. Anderson brought up concerns with obesity treatment in Ohio which is made very difficult because of current pharmacy and medical board regulations. The Ohio State Medical Board Interim Director Kim Anderson was also in attendance and will investigate when obesity treatment regulations are scheduled to be reviewed again (which is typically done in conjunction with the state pharmacy board).
Pharmacy board members were clearly appreciative of Drs. Palakodeti and Anderson’s attendance at the meeting and pledged to discuss in greater detail the issues brought to light. The exchange of information at this meeting and the OAFP board meeting on January 27 was very helpful in creating a collegial environment for sharing concerns and perspectives. The OAFP, the Ohio State Board of Pharmacy and the Ohio State Medical Board have all pledged to continue regular discussions and to work toward common goals of efficiency and quality that contribute to improved patient care and patient safety.