Advanced Refill Reminders
Written Aug 21st, 2015 by Franco Varriano
In the beginning of 2015 we launched our first version of refill reminders. It allowed practitioners to send refill reminders after 30 days from the date of prescription to their patients. It helped in keeping patients in check and improving adherence. Feedback for the feature was overwhelmingly positive.
However, we kept hearing one piece of feedback again and again. Practitioners wanted more control over setting a date when the refill reminder would be sent out, but we know that wasn’t a long term solution since calculating this data is a mundane task for a practitioner. We knew that our team could do something more intelligent leveraging our advanced dosage.
Today I want to walk you through our new and improved refill reminders. To show you why we think its better and how we came to the solution that we did.
Understanding the problem
While sending the refill reminder at 30 days is good, practitioners wanted more control over when the refill reminder was sent for a single reason. They knew that 30 days was not necessarily the best time to send a reminder. Depending on the protocol, a patient might need a refill reminder in 20 days while another patient might need a reminder in 2 months. So sending a reminder in 30 days was not ideal, although it was a good start.
So what practitioners really wanted was to be able to send their refill reminder when their patients needed it the most. Having understood this, we set out to solve it.
A better solution
The aim of a refill reminder is to improve the patient adherence by ensuring that they have enough supply of a product. Given that, it makes the most sense to send the refill reminder right before a patient is about to run out of supply. This is when they are most likely to actually order a refill.
If a patient is about to run out of supply in 8 weeks, they need a reminder in 7 weeks so they have one week to refill and ensure a continuous supply.
How we solved it
When a patient places an order, we look at the dosage instructions (amount, frequency and duration) for every product that were provided by the practitioner when the prescription was created.
Using the quantity the patient purchased and the practitioners advanced dosage instructions we calculate how long the supply will actually last. This is illustrated above.
The green bars represent how much supply of a product a patient will need based on the practitioners prescription. The red bars represent how much supply they actually purchased. For Product A, B, and C the patient has purchased about half the supply that they actually need. However, for Product D the patient has already bought enough supply to last the entire duration.
We then rank the products in order of which is going to run out of supply first. Using this we calculate the best day to send the refill reminder. As you can see in the illustration above, the patient is going to run out of Product C first, followed by Product A and B. Product D has been eliminated because the patient already purchased enough supply.
We send an email to the patient 1 week before their supply is running out so they have enough time to place an order and allow for ample shipping time.
We also show products that might be running out soon (Product A and Product B). This allows the patient to proactively order products whose supply is going to run out soon.
All of this happens in the background without the practitioner having to calculate the best date to send the refill reminder.
A Win for Practitioners and Patients
It would have been very easy for us to give practitioners a date picker to choose when to send a refill reminder. However, that would not have been the best solution. At Fullscript we strived to make things easier for practitioners so that they can focus on patient care.
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