You would think that a pharmacist is pretty busy, right? Yeah, we really are. In fact, we're VERY busy. But that doesn't stop corporate from adding to our list of things to do. From medication therapy management to insane training videos we have to watch yearly to flu shots and flu shot clinics and everything else, yeah, we're DAMN busy.
Keeping track of the inventory is a really good idea, and no one with a business degree will argue with that. Keeping an accurate inventory is a really good idea in terms of cost accounting and inventory control. And in terms of tax accounting, estimating your inventory is not only a legal requirement but prudent. But the time to actually count every tablet would be extremely time consuming, however. It's a good thing that there are brilliant people to figure all this out for us, though.
Some corporate muckity-muck who has obviously never stepped into a pharmacy decided he had a great idea on how to address just that issue utilizing the three things he knew each pharmacist had: a computer with a scanner, a technician with absolutely nothing to do, and an inventory. It was then that Quake-N-Zap was born. This is how it works:
A special DOS program (we only utilize the latest in computer programming technology at our pharmacy) is executed which prints a listing of barcodes representing 10%, 20%, 30%, etc. all the way to 100%. Then the tech or pharmacist scans a bottle of inventory, THEN shakes, quakes, and does a little magic dance to estimate how much is left in the bottle, be it 10%, 20%, etc., and then scans that barcode, hence the QUAKE-n-ZAP! This is done multiple times until the tech either dies of boredom or it gets busy again. Usually this means about 50 zaps. THEN the computer compares what was scanned to the inventory on hand, and if it is off by a certain percentage, it updates the inventory on hand...
But here's where it gets insane. No one can accurately "estimate" how much is left in the bottle to any degree of accuracy, so we end up mostly only zapping full bottles. EVEN THEN, the computer gets it wrong about 30% of the time, updates the inventory with a wrong number, and now the computer inventory is WORSE than when you started. At that point you have to go back into the computer inventory and pull up all the items it changed and change them back to the correct number you had on hand to begin with, and that doubles the time you spent on this amazing endeavor.
Brilliant, wouldn't you say? For a while it was a corporate request. Now it's a corporate mandate and if you don't do a certain number of zaps every period you get a nasty email, a mean phone call, and then a warning. Get enough warnings and then you go on double secret probation. After that you get taken out behind the pharmacy and whipped with a switch.
Oh, no one likes this Quake-N-Zap system. NO ONE. But don't try to complain. Complainers go through the same warning, probation, whipping system. One time I even tried to suggest maybe we try what ABC pharmacy was doing. What happens there? Every week a list of 20 drugs prints out. You do a physical count of those 20 drugs (every tablet, capsule, troche, suppository, whatever) and compare to what the computer has and adjust as necessary. No estimating -- this is exact counting. After 52 weeks you've updated the inventory on a continual basis. And it takes much less time. BUT don't try to suggest this superior way of handling the inventory to my company. I was beat down immediately. "Don't you know that we're NOT ABC company?" I was told. No, I really thought we were the same company. Duh. Besides, I'm sure that muckity-muck got a bonus or a raise or a pat on the back for his brilliant Quake-N-Zap idea and we wouldn't want him to look bad, would we?