Dawn Burke
Author: Dawn Burke | Date July 31, 2019

11 Prescription Renewal Workflows to Standardize Today

Standardizing clinical workflows can greatly increase productivity, eliminate variation of practice, increase patient safety, and reduce the risk of errors — particularly when a delegate is acting on behalf of a provider. Since prescription renewal requests are one of the more common tasks delegated to non-provider staff, healthcare organizations should implement well-defined steps that can be followed each time a request comes in. 

Start with these common situations and work with your team to define how they should be handled based on your organization’s staffing model, culture, quality goals, and your state’s statutes. Be sure to include representation from both providers and staff who will be processing the requests.

The Easy Stuff

1. Patient meets all criteria for a renewal

2. Renewal request is a duplicate

Pharmacy Questions

3. Patient is requesting a change of pharmacy

4. Patient is requesting a refill for 90 days vs. 30 days

5. Patient is requesting a refill on their prescription before the original is due to run out

Potential Patient Outreach

6. Patient has overdue labs

7. Patient is overdue for an office visit

8. Patient has already received a courtesy refill and has not completed necessary follow up

Prepare for Provider

9. Requested medication is no longer active on the medication list

10. Patient is requesting a controlled substance or other high risk medication

11. Patient has abnormal labs


Whether your organization is making the move to a delegated workflow or already has one in place, at a minimum, define workflows for these common situations. Document them somewhere that’s easy for staff to reference and review them regularly with your team. As new situations arise, add to the documentation and if some workflows are no longer working well, don’t be afraid to change them and try something new! Just be sure to communicate all updates with your team.

These workflows are best supported by detailed medication protocols that represent the standard of care for your organization. If you don’t have protocols yet, our eBook series can help! Download one of these resources to learn about achieving renewal request protocol consensus, key refill metrics to measure, determining the right delegation model, and more.

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If building protocols from scratch seems too daunting, healthfinch’s protocols and the Charlie Practice Automation Platform can help. We maintain a library of evidence-based medication refill protocols that can be customized per your organization and implemented into your EHR to optimize the efficiency, quality and safety of renewal workflows. Learn more and request a demo of Charlie here. 

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Dawn Burke

Written By: Dawn Burke on July 31, 2019

Dawn is the Marketing Manager at healthfinch, and is responsible for all aspects of marketing - from online presence and brand management to conferences and content creation.