The patient dials the pharmacy phone number.
Our system answers the call.
"Thank you for calling Goofmart Pharmacy, located at 123 Easy Street in Snootyville. We give flu shots daily whenever you want one."
"To refill a prescription, press ONE." (when pressed, the caller will be directed to enter the Rx number).
"If this a prescriber, press TWO." (when pressed, the doc will be directed how to leave a voicemail).
"For store hours and location, press THREE." (hours and location, including any holidays, will be given).
"To speak to a member of our staff, press FOUR."
"To hear this message again, press NINE."
That's what the caller hears. Then this is what happens on our side:
We answer the phone, "Thanks for calling Goofmart Pharmacy, how may I help you?"
And this is when we get one of the following:
"I need to refill my prescription. The number is 93934939."
"I need to call in a prescription. The patient is John Doe, Amoxicillin 500mg...."
"Where are you located?"
"What time do you close?"
"Are you open today?"
"Do you give flu shots?"
Or some such other nonsense that could have been handled using the automated system without bugging the pharmacy staff.
I know, not a big deal, right? YES, IT IS A BIG DEAL. When we're in the middle of chaos at the pharmacy, it's blood and guts everywhere trying to keep up. Each phone call takes 3-5 minutes. And it never stops. We get at least 30 phone calls a day over things that can be handled WITHOUT bothering the pharmacist or technician.
Some simple math... 30 calls a day at 3 minutes per call. That's 90 minutes... 90 minutes that could be used to check and fill prescriptions and ensure the safety and efficacy of each one.
So the next time you call your pharmacy, try some of the automated services first. And guess what, YOU can also do these SAME things using the Internet or a downloadable app!