Monday, November 26, 2012

George Orwell called...

...he wants to make sure you're giving flu shots.

A recent email from upper management: 

"Just an FYI on Phone audits done by corporate call center. They are calling the pharmacies and asking: 

1. If they provide flu shots- You answer YES. (Duh)
2. Can I come in any time? You answer YES. (Regardless of your work schedule, lack of help, and apparently even if you don't even have any flu shots in stock, you better damn well answer YES.)
3. How long will it take? Tell them they go into the workflow and it takes about 15-20 minutes start to finish... (again, ignoring the fact that it might be Monday morning and you're overloaded with orders from the weekend, new scripts, and the tech isn't even there yet because of the new GALAXY PLAN HOURS which means you have 3.5 hours of tech coverage to clean a room that's never used but no extra tech hours for where the real pharmacy work is done.)
4. You may suggest a time that might be less busy for the customer and more convenient for them but DO NOT tell the customer that you do not do them before or after a certain time. (In other words, trying to run a flu shot business with any reasonable expectations of time realities or prudently managing your pharmacy workflow issues is not of any concern.)
5. Work with the customer through positive conversation to make it an acceptable time for them. Example: What time would be best for you? (Yeah, and if the customer says 3am on Sunday, we're supposed to just drive on down there and take care of them? Really? At some point you HAVE to manage the situation. At some point there has to be acceptable and unacceptable, and it's not up to corporate. It should be handled at the store level based on the needs of all the pharmacy patients and the pharmacist, not one single flu shot patient.)

There are so many troubling things about this email. The first is that the company actually PAYS people to call our pharmacies and engage in this George Orwellian secretive questioning bonanza. WHY are we paying for people to secretly check up on the pharmacies? Maybe if we'd STOP paying people to do crap like this and START making sure there is enough technician coverage at every store then there wouldn't be any issue as to when someone could get a flu shot. WE HAVE TO TRY TO ARRANGE THE FLU SHOTS TO MATCH OUR NEEDS BECAUSE WE'RE UNDERSTAFFED AND OVERWORKED. Printing signs that say "Get your Flu shot ANY TIME" isn't helping us. I recently had a guy come in FIVE minutes before closing time after I had been there the entire day, asking me for a flu shot. I gave him the flu shot, but it WASN'T reasonable for me to do so. I needed to be somewhere in 30 minutes. Despite what the company thinks, YOU DON'T OWN ME and I do have a personal life. But I felt like I had to do because of insane emails like this one. For all I know, the company may have hired this guy to test our store's compliance with their policy. Crazy? Yeah, I agree. But so is secretly calling pharmacies and grilling them.  

Every store is different. If people at corporate would stop looking at numbers and actually come down to our level and SEE what is going on they would back off of crap like this. Yeah, flu shot numbers are down, in our division and every other division. Flu shot numbers are down this year, but not just for us. They're down everywhere. Trying to schedule people for a flu shot around workflow issues and pharmacy needs is NOT the reason the numbers are down. Digging into the files and trying to reeducate the one pharmacist who did 45% of the flu shots while his partner did 55% is not going to make the number of flu shots go up either. Wearing a button and asking every patient if they've had a flu shot this year does accomplish two things, but not what corporate thinks it does. The button takes away from our credibility as a professional. Clowns wear buttons. Pharmacists don't. Second, asking people over and over just ticks them off. I recently went to see my own doctor. I was asked at the front office, in the examination room, and at check out if I had received a flu shot this year (probably because their numbers are down and their corporate wahoos are pushing them too). All it did was piss me off. I get tired of being asked the same question multiple times. Don't you?


Anonymous said...

Vagabond Rx here - we don't do flu shots and I'm always grateful for it! Great availability through the public health system (and physician's offices for those who have a physician) so no need for us to be doing it.

Yukon pharmacist,Canada

Anonymous said...

p.s. no charge for the flu shot here, so no incentive for pharmacies to do it, because why would someone pay for it when they can get it paid for though their taxes (a good use for your taxes, eh?)

Anonymous said...

Canada is America's Hat

EC said...

Why don't the corporate dingbats realize that numbers are down because there are so many places for customers to get their flu shot? The market has been divided.
I was thinking about sending an anon email complaining about how annoying it is to be asked if I want a flu shot every time I go into the pharmacy. Maybe I can get a few friends to do it, too.

Crazy RxMan said...

I only have one question for those of you adding comments:

Did you get your flu shot?

Anonymous said...

Yes, I did, but not at a pharmacy!