Simplify Your Refill Schedule Part 2–The Universal Refill Day

In my last post I described my desire to simplify my medication refill schedule. I wanted to visit the pharmacy less, so I made a plan to consolidate my refills so that they would all be due on the same date. To review, here was my plan:

1. Book a meeting with your pharmacist and bring all of your medications to the meeting, whether or not that pharmacy filled the prescription.

2. Determine whether you should ask your doctors to write new prescriptions so that you can fill all of your prescriptions on the same date. This can be challenging depending on the number of doctors and their willingness to work on this with you. A nurse in the doctor’s office may be able to help. Send them this blog!

3. Make a plan for the pharmacist to only disburse the number of pills for each medication that are necessary to get you to the beginning of the next month. This will mean that you will have to make multiple trips to the pharmacy for this month, but it will be worth it to consolidate all of your medications on one refill date.

I followed the plan and here is what I found. My pharmacist and my doctors all listened to me. They understood that with multiple medications on different refill dates I was making unnecessary trips to the pharmacy. The doctors wrote new prescriptions and the pharmacist and I made a plan to fill them all on the same day. This meant that for a couple of weeks I was not picking up a full month’s supply of some medications as we got ready for what I now call the “Universal Refill Day”. It would have been helpful if the insurer had let me refill some medications early so that I could have started the process as soon as I had all of the new prescriptions. The insurer’s limitations cost me time through more trips to the pharmacy. (My thoughts on how insurers could save their clients (employers) and beneficiaries (employees) money without adding to their costs will be food for another blog).

So far, I am very happy to say that this system has saved me trips to the pharmacy. There are, however, two issues that I still need to watch. First, the dose for some of the medications changes depending on my loved one’s symptoms. This means that I cannot rely on the 30 day refill rule as some months we run out early and some months we have extra pills. Second, my system does not work for non-prescription medications, and we deal with several. Supplements come in bottles with various numbers of pills, but it is rarely 30. So, I still need to monitor my inventory carefully for these medications. For now I am checking these medications before my Universal Refill Day to ensure that I have what I need for the next month. I had initially developed the DotFriday Medication Inventory System to address this problem and I think that there is still a need for software to track what we have in our medicine cabinet.

Thanks–and keep tracking!