Although each pain clinic may perform pill counts differently, pill counts generally involve the patient bringing his medication to the visit and the provider counting the number of pills in the bottle, explains Boston Medical Center. Patients must bring the medication in the original bottle dispensed by the pharmacy. Pill counts ensure that patients take their medications according to the prescribed dosage schedules.
Health care providers usually conduct pill counts in front of the patients, notes Boston Medical Center. The health care provider may use a website or another reference material to properly identify the pills inside the bottle. Once the health care provider identifies the pills, he counts them and ensures that they are clean and intact. After verifying the patient's last dose of medication, the health care provider calculates the correct pill count based on the day the patient filled the prescription.
Following a pill count, health care providers should document several items in the patient's chart, including the date and time the patient came in for the pill count, the date the pharmacy filled the prescription, the number of pills dispensed, the number of pills remaining at the count, and the date and time of the patient's last dose of medication. Providers should also chart whether the identity of the pills and the pill count was correct, according to Boston Medical Center.