Saturday, December 4, 2010

Why does it take 30 minutes to get 30 pills? - Thats like a pill a minute

   Ever wonder why it takes so long to get your prescription filled at a busy retail pharmacy.  I mean all they have to do is take the pills from the big bottle and put it in the little bottle - right?  Well, if you really want to know the answer to that question, you must first ask yourself, "Do I really care?"  Honestly from my experience, most people don't care because this is a fast paced world where we can answer phone calls, emails, text messaging, and write on our blog all while sitting in a McDonalds eating fast food, drinking coffee, surfing the internet all inside the Wal-Mart that we just bought our groceries, clothes, toiletries, garden supplies, and electronics from. 
    In the world of fast paced customer service where the customer must "have it their way," do people really care what it takes for "the help" to do what it is that they need to do in order to provide the customer the service that they desire.  The answer is a BIG FAT NO! 

I have decided that the people in the very small suburb where I serve as a pharmacist must live in the new Rome of the world, because they are the busiest people with the most demands on their lives compared to anyone else out there. Now, occasionally you will get the nice elderly man or woman who has all the time in the world, but the others must be out making decisions that will make or break the revival of our economy.

They are in that big of a hurry.  They will call ahead and say, "will you just fill what I tell you is on the prescription, so that when I get there you will have it ready?"  WHAT?!! I'm sure that the moment I say yes, they will spout off some ridiculous order for Lortab 10mg #360.  So no, that is not possible. 

Okay back to the main question - why does it take 30 minutes for 30 pills?

  1. We have to type in the information into our system.  It has to be correct or we will not get paid by the insurance and we may possibly be fined by the state board.
  2. We have to try to decipher the doctor's horrible handwriting everyone (including people that can hardly read at all) complains about
  3. We have to bill the insurance, and handle any issue that may arise including when they have an incorrect birthday in their system, and it is up to us to figure out which is the right one.
  4. We have to correctly fill the medication and troubleshoot any technical errors that may arise with the printer/fax machine/computer.
  5. The pharmacist has to verify that everything that was previously done was done correctly, aaaannnddd determine whether or not the medication is appropriate for the patient based on
    1. drug interactions
    2. drug class duplications
    3. strenght, dose, and duration
    4. patients age
    5. diagnosis
    6. whether or not the patient recently received this medication (for narcotics and controlled substances)
    7. Drug allergies
    8. Etc......
  6. All the while we have to answer the phone, call the insurance company for problems, the pharmacist has to counsel the patients on new medications and answer any and all drug questions that arise, as well as receive new prescriptions over the phone
  7. We also have to try to answer the questions like "Hey where is the Loreal eye makeup?" or "Now isn't this on sale?" when the pharmacy and the front store are two separate entities yet one company. SO we don't know the answer to those questions nor do we care.  And another favorite is "do you have this?" -my response-  "No I don't think so..."-your response- "Well, why not?"  Again, don't know and I don't care.
  8. And the main reason why it takes so long..... We are completing these steps for the other 50 people that came in before you and said, "Can I get this right now????"
Don't get me wrong, pharmacists get paid a lot to do this, but it still sucks. However, if you ever asked the question, now you have the answer.  So don't come up and ask if I know about the daily special on the pens and pencils up front, I slang pills not merchandise,  don't get it twisted.

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