The Pharmacy Chick

Flying the coup in retail

Override Mania and workflow fails.

Filed under: Uncategorized — pharmacychick at 5:01 pm on Tuesday, January 5, 2016

One of the jobs that we pharmacist s have to do on a minutely basis…is the dreaded override.  As much as I love having my techs at the computer doing the “input” , its actually faster and easier if I am working the input station and they doing the count/pour/label station.  I ll do the check station and they’ll do the sell station.  I have found it works magnificent if I am doing every other station ( funny that they have 6 “stations” in our workflow model and 2 -3 employees… hmmmm. Ive tried to condense it to fewer.  The tech does the intake ( get the basic info and tell them when it will be ready..hint hint…go away for a while)…I do the typing…tech counts…I check and bag…tech sells to patient..I counsel.  Done.Simple huh?

Well PharmacyChick Pharmacy wants to start a new workflow and throw a wrench into what we have proven to work fast and efficient.  They want all the techs to do Intake…typing ( while the patient stands there–and the line grows– to get a paid claim and a price–which I absolutely abhor)……and another tech  counting…and all we do is check and sell…yes they want me to be the checker at the cash register to improve my visibility and my accessibility.  Nice. A 60 dollar an hour cashier.

Now that would be fine and dandy if the computer system that we had actually worked in a fashion that would condone such a system…but it doesn’t.

Imagine a linear ( as most are) pharmacy.  Intake is at one end way down  .hereA…………………………………………..and check and pick up is way down ……………………….here B. Im at I am at B and tech is at A.  without a doubt every single rx we have needs to have an override especially since our system has had an upgrade that requires an override to “alert” us that the patient has had that medication last month.  So if you bring in your refill for Lisinopril 10 and want a refill, the tech inputs the  number and calls me over for an override that says ” Alert: last refill date 12-7-3015 override ____code here..  So important..because no label will come out until that override is done.

So I walk 3o feet 250 times a day to do an override that I could do myself if I was at the station I believe I should be at.  Instead I am at a cash register ringing up a rx standing around whilst Mrs Ethel Frumpkin is fumbling with her checkbook ” Oh I know its in here somewhere” Or Joe “cash is” King is digging out pennies for exact change.

Tech Extraordinare will get sometime 12 windows open with overrides on each one while I am languishing at the cash register while Peter Par is sharing is most recent golf score with me..hole by hole…” and I chipped in from the bunker on 12″

They ( the powers that be that never work in  a pharmacy) say all this in in preparation for the IMPROVED ( read: undertrained and under supported computer system they are installing sometime this year) Ok. I get that.  But what good is it to use a workflow designed for computer 2 if we are using computer 1 and 1 doesn’t work the way that 2 does?

No one seems to want to answer that question.

So I tried it for a few days and decided that it doesn’t work.   Of course the boss man doesn’t like me much for going back to the way I like since he thinks we need to get ready for computer 2 and he already knows I hate to change BUT I will embrace change if it actually works for the better of the department and the patient.  To that end NONE of that is happening yet>

Some comments from customers:

” why is this taking so long? Cant I just drop this off and come back: I have an appointment”

“Ive never had to wait this long to drop off my prescription.”

” Here, ( he tosses bottle over the counter and over the head of the person in front of him), Im leaving” See you later”

And of course the non verbal…eye rolls, huffs, hands on hip, looking at watch or phone..

Yup, going back to what works…


Comment by Jade

January 11, 2016 @ 1:20 pm

Wow. This sounds pretty inefficient. It sort of sounds dumb to use a process that doesn’t fit with the technology to ‘prepare’ for a newer technology. I would think people that work there have figured out how to work with the existing technology and when the newer technology arrives, that the newer process will be rather ‘self-explanatory’ or intuitive.

I don’t have much retail experience. For a couple years, I worked for PRN agencies in different pharmacies in the jurisdictions where I have my different licenses. I enjoyed using computer systems in which I could actually go through the order entry process to verify it, then check finished product and counsel patients. Tech –> Rx Entry –> Me –> Cashier

Some computer systems were so cumbersome (to me) that it seemed like I was only the baker putting the cherry on top of the chocolate torte before it went out to the patient.

Comment by PharmDrew

April 18, 2016 @ 6:48 pm

I don’t know what pharmacy you work at (exact computer system), but 1 of the biggest flaws is the inventory system prompting before insurance billing leading to numerous unnecessary orders for meds not covered and Rxs with incorrect data entry. The problem being going way over budget ordering from outside venders and making more work doing returns. If you are smart enough to override inventory and Bill first however, it only creates more time spent editing and redoing data entry but makes budget more efficient and obviously leads to less patient complaints when they are informed their ordered item isn’t covered say 2 days later.

I really wish this issue was addressed.
Hah, running back and forth…try doing 6 stations overnight with 0 technicians or better yet still late rush hour (9-10pm) with only 1 tech in a high volume store on weekdays.

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