Dawn Burke
Author: Dawn Burke | Date December 4, 2019

The Art of Maintaining Prescription Renewal Protocols

Creating prescription renewal protocols can be difficult, but maintaining them is an even bigger challenge. As medicine evolves, guidelines change. Unless you have staffing devoted to monitoring the latest recommendations, it’s likely any renewal protocols you have in place will quickly become outdated, which can result in poor quality patient care.

Additionally, communication about safety alerts is inconsistent, which makes it even harder to ensure protocols are maintained properly. A 10-year review of national regulatory agencies found that health regulators do not always notify physicians and the public about post-approval emergent harms associated with newer drugs. In the United States, the FDA sent out notifications on 265 of 647 safety problems, or 41 percent of the total risks identified.1 Who do you have monitoring the other 59 percent?

This is why so many health systems turn to healthfinch. Our extensive library of evidence-based prescription renewal protocols are regularly reviewed, updated, and integrate directly into EMRs for optimal workflow efficiency and safety. healthfinch is regarded as the expert in renewal protocols, so we know a thing or two about what it takes to develop and maintain content that’s constantly changing! We’ve built a robust team and detailed processes to ensure we stay the experts, and we’re now sharing some insight into what it takes.

Develop a clinical team

Staying abreast of all literature reviews, communications, safety alerts, etc. would be quite challenging for a single person. On top of that, knowing what any new recommendations or alerts might mean for your organization’s local practice would be hard to determine without input from others.

At healthfinch, we’ve developed a multi-disciplinary clinical team that is responsible for creating and maintaining prescription renewal protocol content. Team members include a combination of healthfinch staff, including our Chief Medical Information Officer and Director of Clinical Product Solutions, as well as pharmacists, nurses, medical assistants, and pharmacy technicians. Together, they review and approve all proposed protocol content revisions, conduct literature reviews and gap analyses, and provide input on healthfinch product features and usability.

Regularly review recommendations

There are several guidance sources and each has a different frequency and format in which they communicate updates. Knowing which sources to monitor, how often, and what changes affect your existing protocols is critical to maintaining up-to-date content which leads to keeping patients safe and providing high-quality care.

The healthfinch Clinical Team is constantly reviewing industry sources. Depending on the content type, reviews may be done daily, weekly, monthly, or annually and include sources like the FDA, medical journals (e.g., JAMA, NEJM, etc.), and CDER Drug Safety Labeling Changes, to name a few. Any changes that affect our protocol content are discussed by the Clinical Team and protocols are updated, if appropriate. We then communicate these changes with customers so they can choose how they want to apply the updates to their protocols.

Seek feedback from staff

Even with the most current evidence-based protocols in place, any experienced clinician will tell you that it’s not always a direct translation from evidence into practical clinical practice. Monitoring how staff are adhering to the protocols and different patient scenarios can help to identify when a protocol may need to be adjusted, perhaps to reduce over-testing or address previously unidentified needs of a particular patient population.

The healthfinch team seeks feedback from customers about how protocols are performing and regularly monitors analytics on the protocol outcomes to ensure they meet each customer’s organizational standards. In some cases, this can also be done through on-site shadowing of staff to observe workflows and identify potential inefficiencies or gaps. At a minimum, healthfinch schedules quarterly meetings with customers to review data, protocol content, and workflows.

Monitoring put into practice

Sometimes alerts of new monitoring criteria warrant customer education. Other times, new recommendations may affect protocols or delegation levels and require updates. In both cases, healthfinch communicates the changes appropriately based on the potential impact to patients and an organization’s protocols. Here are some recent examples of the type of monitoring performed by the healthfinch Clinical Team, which were published to our blog:


Interested in integrating healthfinch’s evidence-based prescription renewal protocols into your EMR? Contact us to learn how!

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1. Perry LT, Bhasale A, Fabbri A, et al. Comparative Analysis of Medicines Safety Advisories Released by Australia, Canada, the United States, and the United Kingdom. JAMA Intern Med. Published online April 29, 2019. doi:10.1001/jamainternmed.2019.0294

TOPICS: Protocols
Dawn Burke

Written By: Dawn Burke on December 4, 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.