A December 2019 Medscape survey asks readers, “Do you always follow clinical guidelines?” The survey stems from a 2017 case where an oncologist treated a patient based on guidelines provided at the time, which were later shown to not be effective in improving outcomes.

While the survey doesn’t call out a specific kind of guideline or protocol, it does reveal some important insights about how healthcare professionals think about using evidence-based protocols to treat patients.

According to the survey, 59% of respondents think that adhering to guidelines often results in better outcomes for patients. However, while most respondents reference guidelines when deciding how to treat a patient, 52% said they sometimes deviate from the recommendations.

Among the top reasons listed for not following clinical practice guidelines are due to:

  1. Changing recommendations
  2. Weak evidence supporting recommendations
  3. Financial conflicts of interest with guideline writers

Let’s take a look at how healthfinch can help address these challenges and concerns when it comes to guidelines for renewing prescriptions.

Challenge 1: Changing recommendations

The practice of medicine continually evolves. Health systems need to stay on top of new guidelines and ensure that protocols are updated to align with both organizational standards and industry recommendations.

At healthfinch, we have a very thorough process for monitoring prescription renewal protocol content. We review guideline sources and FDA labeling frequently, discuss changes with our clinical team, and then consult with our customers to determine how it affects their renewal protocols and any updates they’d like to make. While clinical recommendations may change, healthfinch makes sure customers are always aware of changes in a timely manner so there is minimal, if any, impact on patient care and staff can feel confident following the protocols.

Challenge 2: Weak evidence supporting recommendations

Concern over the amount and strength of evidence behind new recommendations can cause hesitation in adopting new practices among healthcare professionals. It may not always be clear how much research is influencing a given recommendation or if poorly studied practices may really be appropriate for a particular patient population.

When leading prescription renewal protocol consensus, the healthfinch team is transparent in presenting all possible recommendations. Customers are told the level of evidence and source associated with each recommendation and are able to choose the option that’s best for their organization, staff, and patients. By bringing together key stakeholders from across the organization, customers can supplement research (or the lack thereof) with the clinical expertise and experiences of their staff. The healthfinch team ensures multiple points of view are represented in the final protocols and the evidence behind each decision is well understood. Through the consensus process, organizations can also learn where their decisions fall in the context of healthfinch’s other 100+ clients.

Challenge 3: Financial conflicts of interest with guideline writers

Building and maintaining comprehensive protocols can be challenging. But if there are also financial conflicts, it can create bias over the protocol content and reduce confidence in what’s being recommended. Working with a solutions provider like healthfinch ensures this is not the case with your prescription renewal protocols.

healthfinch is free of any conflicts of interest, such as industry sponsorships or kickbacks. We work solely for our customers to provide them the most current, evidence-based clinical recommendations. The recommendations we present to our customers are supported by multiple sources and our clinical team works to identify any biased sources or research early before bringing anything forward for customers to consider.

Many health systems have adopted healthfinch’s prescription renewal protocols for these reasons, and more. If your protocols are out-dated, incomplete, or you’re unsure if they’re effective, we encourage you to contact us and learn how our solution, Charlie, can integrate prescription renewal protocols directly into your EMR’s existing workflows.