When the pandemic hit, people learned new ways to work, shop and communicate. They also switched to mail order pharmacy as an alternative way to receive their prescription medications. Besides offering convenience, a true mail order pharmacy offers safety, clinical appropriateness, and a focus on care of the individual.
We sat down with Sara Glaser, the Director of Pharmacy Operations for Elixir Mail Order, to discuss what it takes to put all these pieces in place to correctly process mail order prescriptions and not just “fill orders.” Glaser and the Elixir Mail Order team monitor the operational and clinical aspects of the prescriptions that pass through the North Canton, Ohio, facility to ensure they are dispensed safely, accurately and arrive when the member needs them.
“To process thousands of prescriptions per day, you need efficiency and automation to keep things accurate and moving,” stated Glaser.
Elixir Mail Order proves this by maintaining a 99.999% accuracy rating in 2022. The turnaround times from prescription receipt to medication shipment range from 1.85 to 2.43 days depending on the drug.
“To manage the clinical aspects of these prescriptions and the regulations and laws that vary from state to state requires a personal and manual role to our mail order pharmacy,” states Glaser. Prescriptions don’t just pass through. They receive the personal attention and monitoring just as if the member was going to their local pharmacy.
“As a former retail pharmacist for nine years, I know the personal attention you give to someone in terms of their medications is important. We provide the same level of care and attention. Elixir Mail Order just makes it more convenient for them,” explained Glaser.
This personal attention and focus on clinical care are what make the difference between Elixir Mail Order Pharmacy and the newer medication delivery services now in the market. While these services may seem convenient, there are concerns.
“Elixir doesn’t just fill doctors’ orders, we review and question to confirm that members are receiving the right medication in the right dose at the right time,” states Glaser.
Elixir provides members with a sense of safety and security when it comes to their mail order medications. We have the right processes, member focus and accreditations from both the National Association of Boards of Pharmacy (NABP) and Utilization Review Accreditation Commission (URAC), which focus on patient safety.
The pandemic proved that people are also tech savvy and will use online pharmacy tools to monitor and order their medications and set up auto refills. Today, members expect the convenience of managing their health on their own schedule and not just during typical retail pharmacy hours.
Glaser stressed the importance of member engagement, which can lead to higher rates of medication adherence. “Elixir Mail Order’s medication adherence was 84% in 2022, which means that our members are consistently taking their medications as directed. This is important to their current and long-term treatment. Following a medication regimen can improve their quality of life, help prevent the need for additional treatments and medications and keep costs lower,” stated Glaser.
Glaser also sees many opportunities to expand Elixir’s mail order service. She is certain that if we are collaborating with our parent company, Rite Aid, or partnering with other pharmacy benefit managers, the Elixir pharmacy facility, people, processes and expertise have the capacity to match the need.
Part of the Elixir team for 13 years, Sara was the fourth pharmacist on staff when she started in 2010. She lives in Malvern, Ohio, with her two children, Zack (18) and Alexis (16). When she’s not chasing around Dixie Mae, their two-year-old German Shepard Bernese Mountain Dog mix, Sara likes to watch crime drama and forensic shows, like Law and Order and CSI.
Sara received her bachelor’s degree in chemistry with a minor in biology and math from Muskingum College. After a two-year-stint in quality control at Firestone, Sara returned to school to receive her pharmacy degree from the University of Toledo.