The Pharmacy Chick

Flying the coup in retail

What I would like to see in my pharmacy: my technology wish list.

Filed under: Uncategorized — pharmacychick at 7:16 pm on Wednesday, September 28, 2011

Technology is an amazing thing.  We can so many things today that even 5 years ago seemed an impossiblity.  And was WE can do with a cell phone in the US pales in comparison to what is being done with cell phone in Europe.  You can use your phone as your wallet, your computer, your phone, and your store.  You can send a message to a vending machine and purchase something from it.  You can “scan” s bunch of squiggly black dots on a page and get more information on a subject than you can shake a stick at.  I have a smart phone and I only use a small percentage of its capabilities.

In the pharmacy, we still do a lot of things the “old fashioned way”, not because I choose to do so, but because the company hasn’t invested in cutting edge technology.  I am sure that technology is expensive, and for a company who is all about cost cutting at the moment, the idea of investing cutting edge technology is abhorrent to them. While we do not type on a typewriter or hand price drugs anymore, we certainly aren’t using our imagination to make the business of pharmacy more 21st century. I only work for PC Pharmacy so I cannot speak for what technologies exist or dont yet, but here are some of the things I would like to be able to do .

1.  Automatic refills should REALLY be automatic.  when I come to work on any given morning, the computer should just have automatic refills done.  Why should I just have to hit enter, enter, enter, enter…print?  I would like to come to work with a stack of labels printed and ready for filling after some pre-determined  ( like 3 am) start time for the days auto-fills.

2. Online profiles:  I am sure this is already being done, but we dont have it. I would like to see the consumer order and check the status of their refills by computer or some smart phone app. I would like to see a customer see and print their refill history, see and print their tax reports, order prescriptions, enroll or cancel autofills, etc.

3. Rx tracking. we already have a workflow program. I would enhance that by enabling a real time notification process.  As soon as the script has been fully  completed, a quick scan by a device would launch a txt to an enabled device ” a prescription for you has been completed and is ready for pickup. Rx must be picked up by xx/xx/xx or will be returned to stock”.

4. Automatic payments:  I would like to see our computer credit card enabled so that a prescription that is filled is also CHARGED. I would bet the customer would be less inclined to ignore our phone calls or txt notifications if they had already paid for the prescriptions.  I would also like to see a restocking fee charged to the cards.  If we return a prescription to stock, only 90% of the price shall be refunded, and once its returned another message would be sent out ” A prescription has been returned to stock, your credit card has been returned $x.xx minus a 10% restocking fee”

5. A better process to determine what is new or what is refill.  Everytime we get an escript, it is called a “new” one, despite that is , in fact, just a refill authorization sent electronically.  I would like to see an option to choose “refill” . Just because it gets a new number doesn’t make it “NEW”, but because its “new” I get dragged over for a counsel over and over on what is truly a REFILL.

6. I would like to ELIMINATE having to document if its written, phone in, or fax, or electronic.  WTF moron thought this  up?  Its just another way to hose a pharmacy in a predatory audit, and who friggin cares?

7. I’d like to see E refills simplified. When I send an e-refill , I want to bring up the number and hit SEND.  currently I have to run thru about 6 key strokes and 6 windows before I can send my request.

8. E scripts should go into a batch file so I can pull them as I want to NOT as a frickin irritating pop up every time I clear a screen!!  Do I really need to be asked ” 1 E-script in queue, process Y or N?”  every time I clear a screen? NO.  put an icon on the bottom tray that indicates I have a script and let ME handle it. 

9.  I would like the refill history to print on every refill request I send to the doc, not just the LAST one.  I dont have that on my computer and it would come in handy, especially on controlled substances.

10. I would like responses from  insurance companies transmits to be in easy to read format instead of some weird company code.  If Joe McCrack has filled 5 narcotic scripts in the last 30 days, show me what he had not ” Multiple controlled rx…..30/90-45 DE88…WTF? How can I do a proper DUR if I can’t understand the messages?

11. MedGuides should print as part of the epistles of patient info that comes out with my label.  Nobody can be as sick as I am of trying to find and keep up with every med guide.  the MG has become the proverbial Manufacturer COP OUT.  ” whups we f’d up!  lets make a med guide to tell people our drug may make their skin turn green, hair fall out and teeth turn black! and make the pharmacist do our dirty work FOR us! They can take the blame for all these side effects if the customer gets sick”

What other techy touches would you like to see happen in YOUR pharmacy!  Speak!

Lost the war…on the 18th hole

Filed under: Uncategorized — pharmacychick at 10:23 pm on Thursday, September 22, 2011

As I write I am sitting here with my leg wrapped in ice.  Tuesday I was playing golf and despite my best efforts to avoid the satanic creatures known as Yellow Jackets, I got stung as I prepared for my birdie putt.  Pardon my language, but the little winged bastard got me good.  Whilst not technically “allergic” to yellow jackets, I am quite sensitive to them and it didn’t take long before the welt enlarged to the size of a dinner plate.  Fire hot and red, and intensely itching, there wasn’t going to be any sleep unless I wrapped ice around it.   Twice, in the middle of the night I had to change the ice.  Good thing I  had a bunch of those frozen foam bricks that flu vaccine came in.

I was faster than he was when he stung me because I knocked him to the turf and ground him into small pieces.

I may be suffering, but he will forever be referred to in the PAST TENSE!

One of my better retorts!

Filed under: Uncategorized — pharmacychick at 10:06 pm on Monday, September 19, 2011

Its monday and its flu shot season.  Enough said…we are friggin busy. Along with all the other NORMAL crap we do, we are also adding drop in flu  shots into the foray.

I had this LOL (little old lady) with nothing else to do waiting for her flu shot.  I put her in the queue with all the others and she had to wait approx 15 minutes, which is normal for a monday.  She poked her head into my door and huffed ” am I ready yet?”  and the tech said “just a couple more minutes”.  There are at least 6-8 people milling around the pharmacy area waiting for something. Its CLEARLY a busy place.

I get to her shot basket and head to the wait room. ” Good!  I am sure tired of waiting for this flu shot”. she retorted.  Non plussed ( because I was snarky today) I said ” Well, Louise,  I am tired of working my butt off in this pharmacy today, wanna trade?”

It worked like a charm.  She made a well timed attitude adjustment, I gave her the shot and we left as friends.

Dont be a Dick

Filed under: Uncategorized — pharmacychick at 10:08 am on Monday, September 19, 2011

Meet Dick and Jane.

Dick is not a nice man.

See Dick yell at my Tech because his Dr hasn’t oked his refills.

See Tech listen to Dick yelling

Dick says he will go to another pharmacy.

Tech offers to transfer his prescriptions.

Dick yells some more, then stomps off.

This is a scenario that plays itself out often in a pharmacy.  Be it a Tom, Dick or Harry,  we are often receive the brunt of people yelling at us because of something either a doctor’s office DID or DIDN’T do.  Frankly I am sick of it.  Nobody works that refill box harder than we do.  I think I want to try a new approach. 

I am going to ask the patient  ” How is this problem going to be solved?”  Its time to make them think of the answer.  You see, I already know their first response will be ” call them again”, and I already have that answer:  DONE THAT ALREADY.    We document every call and fax time we do… and we do it every 24 hours. 

I can ask.  I cannot and will not DEMAND.  I will fill only those rx’s that I have the legal auth to fill.  If you are a patient, remember this.  YOU have the business relationship with the dr. I dont.  You pay his salary, I dont.   You dont like something he/she did or didn’t do?  CALL THEM YOURSELVES!

Dont be a Dick.

God grant me the serenity…

Filed under: Uncategorized — pharmacychick at 10:15 pm on Saturday, September 17, 2011

You’ve been there..Ive been there.  I was there today.  I think that every high maintenance patient, every whiny-ass customer I have in my entire data base, came intoday.  As if they all saved up some complaint, I fielded one right after another…”why is this more money than last month?” “Your tech said this isnot covered..why not!”, “when I came in yesterday…THIS happened..yada yada”.

Take a number.Then HE came in.

He had a big brace on his elbow.  ” Hey, I wanted to tell you what fantastic advice you gave me. I can play golf again!”. he had a big tennis elbow brace on.  I had given him a flu shot and he noticed my Kinesio tape and braces I wear and he wanted to know why.  I actually suffer from severe chronic tendonitis in 3 of 4 epicondyles in both elbows.  It sucks, and without braces and taping, I cannot play golf, and my practice time is limited. Therefore we had a lot in common. He was having the same problem and after our chat he went out and bought a tennis elbow brace to wear…and can play golf comfortably now.

My step was a little lighter the rest of the day 🙂

Some Undeniable Truths

Filed under: Uncategorized — pharmacychick at 9:43 pm on Thursday, September 15, 2011

Death and Taxes:  We’ve all heard it..but pharmacy has its own undeniable truths..

May I say with complete certainty, that unless somebody is carrying a  bouquet of flowers and a box of candy,  there is no good coming from hearing the words ”  May I speak to the manager please?”

The phone that rings at 1 minute prior to closing is NEVER good news…and its ALWAYS a problem. 

The person who asks you ” can I ask you a quick question?”  will most certainly NOT ask you a quick question.

100% of your customers will lie to you if it benefits them in some way.

People on pain meds travel a lot…They are always ” going out of town” when they need their vicodin early.

How long you sit on hold with an insurance company is inversely porportional to the patience of the person you are doing it for!

Give somebody an extra tablet and you will never learn of it…short somebody a tablet and you are scamming rip off artist in a white coat.

The mere thought of eating some food will cause the phone to ring and 4 customers to come to the counter.

Caffeine is the pharmacists 5th food group.

The end of an era…my beloved Scotch friend

Filed under: Uncategorized — pharmacychick at 5:49 pm on Wednesday, September 14, 2011

Dearest Scotch, how much I adored thee.  All 1.75 inches width of you wrapped tightly around every bottle.  My fingers gently caressing your sticky surface tearing neatly off with just a gentle tug.  23 years we were together.   You were jerked from my hands like a thief.  Blocked from my sight.   No more shall you be in my pharmacy.  Men with suits….idiot beancounters really…they deny me access to you.  ” Too expensive! ” they complain…” use this”..and they give me numbers to this shit brand of tape.  I feel like I am cheating on you , my beloved Scotch.

They have gone too far I say!  First they block all my post it notes, then I have to buy my own pens because the crap they give me  dont’ write. But this?  This is the final straw.  The pharmacist and her tape?  the Tape and his Pharmacist?   Have you no  mercy? Have you decended in to such miserly misery that you have decided we spend too much money on TAPE?

Oh Beancounters..when you die, I will wrap you in the tape you force me to use and bury you…without a casket…they cost too much.

Tell me YOUR story on 9-11

Filed under: Uncategorized — pharmacychick at 10:15 pm on Thursday, September 8, 2011

Its hard to believe that its been 10 years since that horrible day.  I had to work so when the alarm went off, instead of a little chit chat, music , traffic and weather, the radio waves were filled with conflicting reports of something horrible that had happened in NYC.  I told MR Chick to get up, because something happened in New York.  We went down stairs and before we had fully digested what had happened to the first Tower, we watched LIVE as the second plane hit the second Tower.  I still remember what I said   ” Oh my God, what is happening here?!”.  It still the most tragic thing I have ever actually witnessed live. When we watched the towers actually fall, my brain couldn’t comprehend what my eyes were seeing.   Too much computer generated special effects on TV I suppose. 

You all know the rest of the story, and I dont need to recount the news here.

But, of course, I had to go to work.  It was a strange environment that day.  People were a bit dazed.   We had a small TV in the store and while it was policy to only show the  PC Pharmacy looping ads, on THIS day it was glued to CNN and the unfolding drama. Because it was the days before I had a smart phone, or internet access at work, I had to rely on the radio or whatever news customers brought me.  I was sickened by what they had to say, even more than what I had seen on TV that morning.  What I really wanted was to go home and get back to the TV.

People were vastly different that first day, and for several days afterwards.  for a brief period of time,  most people set aside their “center of the universe” frame of mind when the vulnerability of their universe had been revealed by this shattering event.  The churches were packed that weekend, as even the most godless people found themselves in a church pew that weekend. People wanted answers to questions that HAD no answers. People were a little bit kinder and gentler. 

I think they were scared.

It didn’t last long as you might imagine. Disbelief turned to anger. People even got tired of being inconvenienced by the whole experience.

Ive never been to NYC, and have never stood below the twin towers.

And clearly….I never will.

The ultimate in “new society” rude.

Filed under: Uncategorized — pharmacychick at 4:31 pm on Tuesday, September 6, 2011

She walked up to the pharmacy counter and I knew exactly what she wanted.  She doesn’t fill rx’s at my store but she buys these boxes of salivary stimulants on occasion for her husband.  I had ordered her two boxes the other day, and when she arrived at the counter I grabbed the two boxes.

” so will this be everything for you today?” I asked

”  I just have no idea what I am going to do with him!” she responded.  Since she had been whining about her husband not ordering these boxes till he was out, I assumed that she was talking about the Xylimelts.

” No problem, just keep one of the boxes yourself or I can even photocopy the box and you can keep that with you”. I responded as I rung up the sale.  She scanned her payment card.

” I just hate that stuff!” she replied  WTF? I am thinking, becoming more and more confounded.  ” It just gets everywhere and I am constantly yanking it out”. she said, not even looking at me anymore.  I am wondering what the hell her husband is doing with these lozenges!

” What do you mean?” I ask, then she responded ”  I am going to tear all that bamboo out and throw it over his fence” and I realize now she has an ear piece in and is talking to somebody on the phone.  I have been having a conversation with NOBODY. 

She grabbed her receipt and walked away, with out so much as a head nod, a wave or a thank you. 

The lady behind her had observed the entire thing…” Did she say anything at all to YOU?” she asked.

” Nope, I said…not ONE SINGLE WORD”.

Unbelievable.  seems a tad unfair, really.  customers can complain about US, but why can’t we complain about THEM?

A daydreaming channel surfer

Filed under: Uncategorized — pharmacychick at 6:00 pm on Thursday, September 1, 2011

I was flipping thru the channels the other day and passed thru one of those court shows where somebody is suing somebody in small claims court.  I didn’t stick around long enough to catch the  reason for the suit or who won/lost, but managed to catch a piece of it where the judge was giving somebody the business..and doing it very well. 

As I often do, I thought to myself:  Wouldn’t it be nice to have that kind of position… the Judge PC of pharmacy.  Here’s why:

1.  You have to be sworn in to even speak to the judge which means that you swear to tell the truth ( even if you really dont mean it).

2. If you get caught in a lie,  you get into WAY more trouble than if you had told the ugly truth in the first place.

3.  You are not allowed to give the judge any crap what-so-ever. You must be respectful to the judge..its the rules. You do not argue with the judge, you do not speak unless you have permission.   One smart mouth comment and that hammer comes down and you are outa-there. I want one of those hammers.

4.  I’d love to be able to hold some of my customers in contempt of court, pharmacy.

5. the Judge has a Bailiff with him/her at all times who handles all the smart mouths,  and removes them from her sight. I want a bailiff too.

Which means that when Mr Scumdog comes in and tries to tell the boss that I was rude because I refused to refill his 30 day vicodin rx 15 days early, I can  slam my gavel down and say ” You!  Shut the (&*%! up you drug seeking slimeball. Out of my courtoom Pharmacy right now”  And my very buff and obedient bailiff escorts said slimeball to jail.

Welcome to my daydream!