Now that more and more community pharmacies are offering clinical care to their patients, it’s time to talk about care plans. Value-based care reimbursement requires documentation, and care plans are the easiest way to get it done. Plus, care plans help keep you and your patients’ other care providers on the same page — literally.
This isn’t an article explaining why you should use care plans. At this point, we think that’s a given. Instead, this is an article that explained how you should get started. Let’s talk about care plan implementation.
Step 1: Evaluate Your Needs
Before you start implementing care plans in your pharmacy, you need to decide what your pharmacy needs in a solution. Every pharmacy is different, and there’s really no such thing as one-size-fits-all. Before you get started, answer a few questions about your practice so you know what to look for:
- What kind of clinical care services do you offer to your patients?
- Do you have patients on med sync plans?
- What kind of information do you have that might need to be communicated to prescribers?
Once you have an idea of your pharmacy’s needs, you’ll be ready to start looking at solutions.
Step 2: Choose Your Care Plan Vendor
Once you figure out what your pharmacy needs when it comes to care plans, it’s time to focus on what you might need in a care plan solution. Here are a few questions to consider when you’re looking at different care plan vendors:
- What kind of convenience does the solution offer?
- How easy is it to input information?
- How easily can you send a care plan to prescribers?
When it comes to care plan solutions, there are a lot of options out there. Many pharmacy management systems offer built-in care planning options. Also, care plans are part of many pharmacy software add-ons. Don’t just sign up for the first available, or the one that seems most convenient at first. Explore the features each solution offers and compare them with your needs. Often, the best fit isn’t the one you thought it would be.
For example, how easy is it to edit a patient’s care plan? Can it be pulled up and edited on the fly, or is the process more involved? Often, pharmacists and technicians record data on paper that can easily be misplaced if it’s not put into your system quickly. If you can edit a patient’s care plan with a few clicks, you’re less likely to lose information.
Step 3: Decide Whether to Import or Input
Many care plan solutions allow you to import information from your existing pharmacy software to save time during care plan implementation. And while this will save time for many patients, it may also create more work for you — particularly for patients who have been with your pharmacy for several years. Does your patient’s care plan really need to include the fact that they were on an antibiotic for a couple weeks six years ago? Consider your time before you decide how to build your care plans.
Step 4: Get Your Staff Involved
When you’re going through care plan implementation, make sure your staff is right there with you. They need to have the capability of creating and editing care plans as well, so don’t leave them out of the process. Your full staff doing ten minutes each of care plan updated on the fly is far better than one person — likely you — doing hours of care plan updates at the end of the week.
Step 5: Launch!
You’ve chosen a solution, your staff is on board — it’s time to launch. Set up a timetable with your solution vendor, then start creating care plans for your patients!
Care plans benefit both the patient and the pharmacy. When a pharmacy uses care plans, the patient receives a personalized level of care that improves health outcomes. On the pharmacy side, care plans provide the documentation needed to be reimbursed for value-based clinical services. With the growing recognition of pharmacies and essential healthcare providers, the question isn’t “Should I use care plans in my pharmacy?” It’s “Why haven’t I started using care plans in my pharmacy?”