Sunday, May 16, 2010

Back in a Few

Probably taking about a 2 week break here. Having a few virus issues with the computer, plus I've actually got some vacation time! Going out of the country, and again being the nerdy pharmacist I am, looking forward to snooping in the pharmacies to see what they got that we ain't got! (Sad, isn't it?)
Anyways, will return soon!

Saturday, May 8, 2010

The Paper Chase

E-prescribing, faxing, and electronic transmission of prescriptions to pharmacies can be ultimately more efficient, and I suppose it's an advancement in patient care, BUT...... sometimes I just can't shake the thought that it's yet another way to relieve people of their own damn responsibility in this going-to-the-doctor thing.

Guy walks in and plops a bottle of prescription lotion on the counter. There is no prescription label on it. He wants a refill.

OK, everybody out there knows the drill, right? --- the detective work now begins (for which I have NO time and even less interest.) Making a very long story short here, he got it when he got out of the hospital in another part of the state. We did not fill it. He can only give us a vague approximation of the doctor's name. We look at his profile and make a crude guess as to who the doctor is from some of his other prescriptions (luckily, there's kind of a "sound alike" name on his profile.) Guy insists we call right then and there. Person on the other end says please fax a refill request. We do, and convince the guy to check back with us later. All other people waiting in line behind him are now very cranky.

Doctor's office calls back a couple hours later...."he was handed a prescription for that with refills. Please ask him for it." OK, fair enough, but we all know what comes next.

We call the guy..... he claims he does not have the prescription (at least, that's the gist of a phone call that again lasts WAY too long.) We fax the doctor's office back again. Later, guy calls back, apparently rifling through a stack of prescriptions he has now found. After keeping my tech on the phone even longer and asking her to tell him what each one is for, he now apparently discovers the prescription. The whole idea that he would need to BRING that IN to the pharmacy seems to irritate and puzzle him.

Total time spent on this entire odyssey: WAY WAY WAY too much.

It makes me furious when I find out that someone was given a prescription and that same person sends me on a wild goose chase because they don't get the whole "you bring THAT to your pharmacy and they fill it" idea.

Is this, like, a totally outdated thing now??

Monday, May 3, 2010

The End of the Day

I was locking up the pharmacy and leaving the medical building one day last week. I think I was probably the last person out. A group of cleaners comes in to the building at the end of the day and works during the evening -- they come in and do some light cleaning in the pharmacy itself before we close. Like a lot of people doing this type of work, they are all Hispanic. They smile and say hello but most of them speak only broken English.

As I was leaving the deserted building I saw one of these young men working in the trash receptacle room. He had some music playing -- it was very lively Spanish / Mexican style music. What I mean is, it wasn't rap or hip-hop or Lady Gaga or country & western or any one of our American mainstays.

It was, I'm thinking, his music from 'home.'

It made me kind of sad. I guess I felt kind of lonely for the guy. I find myself wondering about the path that led this young man from his place of birth to a job in the Midwest cleaning up the detritus from a busy medical clinic (and there's a lot of it, believe me.) Could they find an "American" to do this job? Maybe, especially with the current economy -- but it would be a 'high turnover' kind of job. It's not very attractive work.

I like where I live. It's hard for me to imagine having to pick up and go somewhere else, anywhere else, to make a living. Immigration reform is going to be the next big screaming match, but it's really about time we stopped talking about it and did something. I'm a law-and-order person but there's got to be a civilized way we can provide some opportunities to people who are willing to empty our trash and refill the paper towels and scrub down the exam room floors and work late into the evening after they watch us walk out the door. I'm not saying I can offer up a perfect solution, but I would like to see us work on one.