Systemic Barriers in Receiving Electronically Prescribed Glaucoma Medications

J Glaucoma. 2022 Oct 1;31(10):812-815. doi: 10.1097/IJG.0000000000002100. Epub 2022 Aug 10.


Prcis: Over a third of electronically prescribed glaucoma medications were not picked up within 1 month of patient request. Feedback-driven protocols may help minimize treatment interruptions attributed to electronic prescribing.

Purpose: Glaucoma treatment relies on long-term medication compliance and many socioeconomic factors impact the ability of patients to receive their medications. This study aims to quantify treatment interruptions attributable to electronically prescribed medications and propose interventions to minimize this barrier.

Methods: This is a cross-sectional study of the electronic prescribing patterns at a tertiary care hospital serving a socioeconomically diverse patient population. Glaucoma medication refill requests received over a 6-week interval were reviewed and patient pharmacies were contacted 1 month after the request date to determine whether the medication was received by the patient. Patients who did not pick up the prescriptions were contacted and consented to participate in a survey to identify the barriers to acquiring the medications.

Results: Refill requests of 198 glaucoma medications met the inclusion criteria and the most common classes were prostaglandin analogs (44%) and alpha-2-agonists (21%). Medications were not obtained within 1 month in 71 (35.9%) cases. Prior authorization requirement was significantly associated with patients not obtaining their medication (odds ratio, 0.07; 95% confidence interval, 0.03-0.45). Patient reported challenges to successful receipt electronically prescribed medications included insurance coverage (32.2%) and pharmacy availability (22.6%).

Conclusions: Approximately a third of electronically prescribed glaucoma medications were not received by patients within a month of refill request due to the need for prior authorization, insurance coverage, and pharmacy availability. A mechanism to alert providers and to address these barriers to medication access may minimize treatment interruption and disease progression.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't
  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, P.H.S.

MeSH terms

  • Cross-Sectional Studies
  • Glaucoma* / drug therapy
  • Humans
  • Intraocular Pressure*
  • Medication Adherence
  • Surveys and Questionnaires