Always Verify Data Entry on Refills

I have heard many pharmacists say they do not verify data entry on refills as intensely as they do for new prescriptions. I have even heard it given as advice to increase speed. Pharmacists that do this reason that it has already been verified by a pharmacist and in some cases multiple pharmacists. Please Do Not follow this advice, at all!

Over the years I have seen a significant number of inaccuracies on refills, sometimes even on the 9th, 10th or 11th refill. Do not get me wrong, I am not saying you shouldn’t trust or have faith in the other pharmacists you work with, but you have to realize it is your license that is on the line each time you verify a prescription. This is especially important if you work at a pharmacy that has a lot of different floater/relief pharmacists covering shifts or if you yourself are a floater.

Sometimes the errors I catch are minute (wrong date written, missing refills, wrong prescriber, etc.), but sometimes they are significant (wrong drug, wrong strength, wrong directions, etc.). Verifying the data entry isn’t all you should be concerned with either. There are numerous clinical issues that may arise with a refill. Maybe therapy was changed and the refill is not necessary. A patient may have experienced cough with an ACE inhibitor and been switched to an ARB but the ACE was left on auto-refill. Or a new drug may have been added that now creates a drug interaction or a contraindication.

The bottom line is that there are a myriad of things that must be assessed when verifying a refill prescription. In fact, this is one of the most important facets of our jobs, especially since we are the last line of defense for the patient. You must always consider every aspect of a patient’s medication regimen when verifying any prescription (refill or otherwise) to ensure they are receiving the best pharmaceutical care possible. You have the choice to be an average, good or great pharmacist and consistently verifying each prescription with as much scrutiny as possible will push you towards the great end of the spectrum.