A doctor’s prescription is often the first step in the broader system of health care services. Every point of contact in this system requires coordination to provide safe and effective treatment for the patient.

Think Big Picture: Setting Patients Up for Success

A doctor’s prescription is often the first step in the broader system of health care services. Every point of contact in this system requires coordination to provide safe and effective treatment for the patient. When prescribing controlled substances, the Texas Prescription Monitoring Program (PMP) is a connecting thread between physicians and pharmacists.

Pharmacists’ Role in the Patient Experience

Like physicians, pharmacists are required to check the PMP before dispensing prescriptions for opioids, benzodiazepines, barbiturates, or carisoprodol. When completing this process, a pharmacist may identify potentially concerning information. For example, a patient could fail to disclose overlapping benzodiazepine prescriptions from multiple physicians. If an issue is identified, the pharmacist likely will need to discuss the prescription with the physician before dispensing to the patient.

Providing Context for Prescriptions

In some circumstances, providing additional details when sending a controlled substance prescription to the pharmacy can facilitate a smoother experience for the physician, the pharmacist, and the patient. Because pharmacists generally do not have access to a patient’s medical record, it’s helpful to use a prescription notes field (if available) or the prescription instructions to communicate proactively with the pharmacist. If a physician notes they have checked the PMP and addressed any red flags, the pharmacist is more likely to feel comfortable dispensing the prescription. Including the appropriate diagnosis code can also help to avoid delays, some of which are hard-stop requirements of the patient’s insurance provider before authorizing payment at the pharmacy.

When the big picture goal is providing high-quality care for patients, effective communication between physicians and pharmacists is essential. Continue to check the PMP for every patient, every time.

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