Common mistakes you could be making: The importance of accurate information in Netcare

What’s the risk of inaccurate, outdated information in Netcare? Perhaps more than you think. Inaccurate dispensing information can cause confusion, call into question the drug being prescribed, and result in delay of patient care.

As the information on Netcare becomes more complete, comprehensive and easier to access (by an ever-increasing number of health care providers) it becomes even more important for pharmacists and pharmacy technicians to ensure the accuracy and completeness of the data they are uploading.

TPP data integrity

In the next few issues of The Link, we’ll talk about data integrity and share tips to avoid common mistakes. This week we focus on Alberta’s Triplicate Prescription Program (TPP).

The College of Physicians and Surgeons, which manages the TPP program, has identified a large number of prescriptions where the incorrect prescriber number has been entered. Since January 2017, TPP's Administrator has contacted over 150 pharmacies regarding data entry errors related to 95 physicians and over 300 patients.

“About 85 per cent of the errors we see are caused by entering the triplicate prescriber identification number instead of the registration/licence number,” says Ed Jess, Manager of Prescribing, Analytics and Continuing Competence at CPSA. “The triplicate number for one physician could be the same as the registration/licence number for another. This is how the wrong physician ends up in the system.”

Other times it’s because there is more than one prescriber with the same first, last, and in some cases, middle name.

“Sometimes location can be a clue, as chances are these physicians don’t live in the same city, but even that’s possible, so it’s always best to double-check to make sure you have the right one,” says Ed.

Patient impact

How might recording the wrong prescriber impact a patient? Let’s say a patient is admitted to the ER and the attending physician wants to contact the prescriber about a medication or a patient attends a new pharmacy and the pharmacist needs to contact the prescriber. If the wrong prescriber is listed, it may take a long time to identify and reach the correct one. This could delay care.

Please confirm that the prescriber numbers in your system are correct by checking the prescriber licence number when filling a triplicate prescription. At a minimum, check that the prescriber’s licence number is not the same as the triplicate identification number that appears on the triplicate prescription. If the numbers match or if there is a generic physician licence number in your system, you will need to update your files. Prescriber numbers are available in the Prescriber Lists section of ACP’s website. If you’re still not sure, picking up the phone to verify the prescriber is always a good idea.

Watch for more in this series on data integrity over the next few issues of The Link.