Background: Taiwan has separated drug prescribing and drug dispensing services since 1997. Because of this, patients with chronic illness as well as those with diseases that have a relatively stable status may have their prescriptions refilled in nearby clinic pharmacies without having to go to hospitals. Methods: Shuang-Ho Hospital in Taipei, Taiwan, implemented a drive-through pharmacy service as a more convenient refilling system to provide patients in need with a more effective way to refill their prescriptions. To assess the efficacy of this new refilling system, changes in patient drug prescription behavior were compared 6 months before and 6 months after the system was deployed. Results: We found an increase in the overall refilling prescription rate, with an increased use of online reservations (7.9% vs. 4.9%, p <0.001), an increased proportion of medications picked up (93.0% vs. 88.1%, p <0.001) after the implementation period, and an elevation in the percentage of patients using drive-through pharmacy services (45.4% vs. 28.9%, p <0.001; second vs. first quarter, respectively) during the 6 months after the implementation period. Generally, the prescription refilling rate for all population categories at Shuang-Ho Hospital increased significantly after the drive-through service was provided (51.1% vs. 50.2%, p <0.01). The middle-aged population group (40-65 years of age) was found to utilize the drive-through prescription service more than other age groups. Conclusion: The drive-through pharmacy provides patients with convenient access to pick up refilling prescriptions in a shorter time than ordinary pharmacy service. During a short-term follow-up, an overall increase in the prescription refilling rate was noted after the drive-through service was put into place. Our survey revealed that an upward of 90% of the patients were satisfied with the drive-through service. Future promotion of the service may help patients effectively utilize drive-through pharmacy prescription refilling and enhance disease control.
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