As pharmacies continue to grow and evolve, so does their technology. From helping to manage business behind the scenes to treating patients at the front end of the pharmacy, technology solutions have allowed providers to work with greater accuracy, precision, and efficiency. In the process, they have improved the quality of care that patients receive and the qualities of life that they live. Of all of the technology that is helping to advance patient care, though, the Pharmacist eCare Plan — a fully digital, interoperable documentation system — is one of the most significant.
Revolutionizing Pharmacy Care
First introduced to pharmacies in 2017, the eCare Plan was created by the NCPDP and HL7 to merge pharmacy care plans into the world of technology - specifically into pharmacy software. Care plans, which track the health history, treatment plans, and goal progress of patients, have been around for years; but eCare Plans have taken and transformed them for the digital age.
According to the Pharmacist eCare Plan Initiative, the goal of the eCare Plan is two-fold: to record, monitor, and track patient data on a virtual platform; and to share that data with other healthcare providers. Pharmacies use eCare Plans to treat many different patients, but they use them most often for those with chronic illnesses and diseases, who need to be continually monitored. eCare Plans provide a convenient way to provide that monitoring and share it with other professionals.
In its standard format, the eCare Plan tracks the following information:
- Health Concerns — The eCare Plan identifies patient health risks that providers should be aware of, including both physical and mental illnesses. In addition, it provides documentation of any medication therapy problems the patient may have, such as medication non-adherence or barriers to healthcare.
- Interventions — The eCare Plan also identifies past medical interventions the patient has received. It includes a detailed list of their provider history, past and active medications, and prescription fill history, all to help illustrate their past concerns and present needs.
- Goals — As part of the current intervention process, the eCare Plan outlines a treatment plan with patient goals, which the pharmacist and patient work together to create. The plan outlines the steps that the patient will take to reach their goals and how the pharmacist will assist them in the process, placing a special emphasis on medication therapy management.
- Health Status Evaluations & Outcomes — To track the patient’s progress and determine how best to proceed with treatment, the eCare Plan documents both pharmacist evaluations and patient outcomes — which can be updated at any interval of time, in accordance with the patient’s treatment plan. The eCare Plan allows for better monitoring from the pharmacist, and it can be shared with other providers to update treatment plans across different areas of care.
- Laboratory Results and Vitals — Throughout the treatment plan, providers may take tests, samples, or other measures to track a patient’s progress. The eCare Plan enables them to gather this information and store it in one convenient place, making for easier analysis and interpretation in the future.
- Payer Section — Finally, the eCare Plan documents clinical claims and reimbursements, as well as the necessary standardized codes for each line item. It streamlines financial information and allows it to be transferred between providers, payers, and necessary third-party organizations.
Improving Patient Outcomes
eCare Plans can dramatically improve patient outcomes in several different ways. First, they help providers better understand patients — including the full range of their history, needs, and goals — which allows them to develop in-depth, individualized treatment plans. By helping pharmacies get to know patients at the personal level, they also encourage better patient-provider relationships, increasing positive outcomes.
Second, eCare Plans allow for better communication across provider networks. They allow pharmacies to easily send and receive information from physicians, nurse practitioners, specialists, and other professionals. This encourages collaboration within different areas of care and helps providers work together to find the best possible treatment options for patients. Not only does this lead to better health outcomes for the patient, but it strengthens the provider network altogether.
Finally, eCare Plans simplify pharmacy workflow by storing all of a patient’s records in a single, easy-to-access file. For pharmacies, this means less time sorting through patient information. It also helps minimize the chance for errors and mistakes. By freeing up time in the back-end of the pharmacy, eCare Plans enable pharmacists to spend more time alongside their patients — giving them the treatment they need and improving their chances for a positive health outcome.
Pharmacy Software and eCare Plans
Pharmacies can easily access eCare Plans by using a top-rated pharmacy software. Many vendors integrate eCare Plans directly into their technology, allowing for quick and easy access to your patient’s data. As a bonus, the best vendors allow you to submit eCare Plans directly to CPESN for reimbursement from right within your pharmacy software, setting your pharmacy up for new streams of revenue. Having a software that helps you document eCare Plans is an important investment into your pharmacy’s future.
Don’t have a pharmacy software system provider yet, or looking to switch?
Read our detailed comparison of the top pharmacy software vendors, and find one that fits your pharmacy’s needs. Determine if your vendor offers eCare Plans and discover how you can maximize your pharmacy’s potential. Trust us: your patients will notice.