The prevalence of electronic prescribing and faxing of prescription orders has generally made things more convenient for customers and probably decreases wait time as well, but as all pharmacists know it is a mixed blessing. The attempts to plug in a 'personalized' prescription into a computer program can lead to some pretty interesting prescriptions, like "Apply 9999 applications topically ", or my personal favorite from this week, a prescription for Plan B, quantity 60 tablets, with 11 refills. Customer then arrives and is totally taken aback that it's not 'ready yet,' either because we have received no prescription or the one we did receive is completely nonsensical. Heaven help me, there are days when I really miss the old fashioned exercise of someone visiting their doctor, being handed a prescription, and then being responsible for choosing a pharmacy and bringing that prescription TO IT. Y'know, kind of like having a little responsibility all their very own self.
So now we not only have the responsibility to fill your prescription correctly, with all the usual challenges associated with that, but we seem to be charged with hunting down that prescription and obtaining it for you as well. If we didn't get it, then it's up to us to seek it out, right? Clear the decks, folks, I'm about to spend 20 minutes on the phone trying to track down one prescription from Giganto Orthopedic Surgery Group and by the way, it's lunch time and please leave a message.
The problem is even worse when, like me, you work in a medical building/clinic when we seem to be held accountable for any prescription written by any doctor in the building whether the patient fills it with us or not. It doesn't matter how many times you tell me "THEY TOLD ME THEY SENT YOU MY PRESCRIPTION" --- I can't fill a prescription that I don't freakkin HAVE. Really, I wouldn't lie to you. We actually had a customer claim her doctor had faxed us
her prescription, watched us tear apart the pharmacy looking for it, acted like a complete bitch and finally rolled her eyes and said, "Well, I've got it out in my car -- do you want me to go get it?" I said, yeah that would be swell. Then I went in back and looked for a sharp object to do myself in with.
And then there are the people who want to 'read' you their prescription over the phone because they didn't want to be bothered stopping at the pharmacy, nor do they want to wait while it's being filled. Sigh.
When it comes to electronic prescribing I know there's no going back, but some days I feel there are just as many errors, just as many problems to clarify, AND the added bonus of leaving people with the notion that everything's going to be done for them. It's the fast-food, drive-through-ability of everything. We'll find the prescription, we'll figure out what your insurance is, we'll wrap it up and tie a bow on it and do it in 10 minutes. Dang, it's frustrating.