Providers, by nature, are creatures of habit. Once they’re comfortable with certain drugs or treatments, they tend to return to them whenever possible. If they’ve experienced success with a pain medication, several factors might lead them to continue to use that drug. First and foremost, it works. They don’t want to change to other medications. They have a good relationship with the drug representative. Perhaps their kids are on the same soccer team. Whatever the reason, providers like to use medications that they are familiar with and have had success with. Unless there is a compelling reason, they are unlikely to change their prescribing habits. While this may hold true across providers, there are lots of benefits, including cost savings, from maximizing your formulary management.
Standardizing the formulary begins with standardized order sets. If physicians can agree upon medications for an order set, that standard can be communicated throughout the system’s providers and pharmacies. But all involved parties must be included in the decision-making process. The cost-benefit and cost-savings analysis should reveal standardization’s importance to the organization.