Thursday, February 13, 2014

How to Get What You Want... embarrassing the pharmacist.

Austin, Texas, has an MD named William E. Jones. I don't know anything about him except from what is written on his website. I think that Dr. Jones must have dealt with a bad pharmacist or two in his day based on his attitude toward refills.

From: Dr. Jone's Website:

Frequently Asked Questions:

How do I refill my prescriptions if your office is closed?
     When you call your pharmacy for refills (as above), the pharmacist is required to obtain authorization for the refill from my office.    If our office is closed for a few days (while we're on vacation or if I'm away at a medical meeting), the answering machine will give the pharmacist the name and phone number of the doctor covering for me who will gladly authorize your refill.   
     Sometimes, though, if the pharmacist is rushed (or just lazy), rather than call the covering doctor, they'll just give up.    Sometimes pharmacies simply send us a fax requesting a refill authorization; and if they don't receive a return fax from us (because our office is closed), they just give up without ever phoning our office at all.   Then, when you show up to pick up your prescription you'll be told something like, "We couldn't reach the doctor" or "Your doctor's office wouldn't authorize the refill" rather than the truth, "We didn't try very hard to get this authorized."   The best way for you to handle that situation (during normal office hours) is to:
  1. Ask to borrow the pharmacist's phone
  2. Call our office to get the number of the covering doctor
  3. Call the covering doctor's office
  4. Then hand the phone to the pharmacist
     If you embarrass the pharmacist once like that, the problem probably won't happen again with your prescriptions (at least not with that particular pharmacist).

Basically what Dr. Jones suggests is that if you, the patient, judges that the pharmacist didn't follow Dr. Jones' procedure to get a refill from their office to go ahead and "embarrass" the pharmacist by following the steps above.

I pulled up Dr. Jones' address from his website and searched for pharmacies in the area. I actually made a few phone calls and asked a few questions to whoever answered the phone. Apparently there really have been no issues with the people I talked to, so why the attitude? I have no idea.

This attitude gives patients the idea that if we don't have their refill ready we're lazy misfits. After working in pharmacy several years and going out of my way to get refills for patients, "lazy" is the last word I would ever use to describe our attempts to obtain a refill.

Dr. Jones, I would really encourage you to visit some of the busy pharmacies in your area and actually see what's going on there. You may be able to provide a personalized service that your patients appreciate, but you simply can't expect every pharmacist everywhere to call you personally for every refill request. That's just not reality, dude.

Further, your instructions are a poor example of professionalism in our healthcare industry. You may think you're setting some standard that meets your personal criteria but all you're really doing is pissing off the pharmacists in your area -- the good people that check YOUR prescriptions and dispense medications to YOUR patients. That is the reality, dude.

More comments from The Cynical Pharmacist HERE.


pharmaciststeve said...

Maybe Dr Jones needs to notify his pts that he is going to be out of town for a few days.. what is a few emails?.. so that refills can be handled during office hours.

Anonymous said...

Further along in the comments, I think the doctor himself sends a message that it's an old out of date page. Whether or not that's true or just him covering their ass, I don't know.

That said - I would be thrilled if one of my patients would be willing to "call the doctor, get the information, then call the other doctor" to get them on the phone. The thing is, they wouldn't, because "that's my job."

Anonymous said...

Did you notice on their web page there is a listing of each of the doctor's cell phones. Why would I call and get the covering MD when I can just call his cell phone. Disrespect works both ways. There is no room in medicine for egos. When we have a pissing contest the patient is the one who ends up losing.

Anonymous said...

It looks like a conceiver medical group......that sort of explains the attitude.

And I am not REQUIRED to get you a refill. Not legally. Tis a curtesy that I will FAX for it as that is what 99.9percent of Dr office respond to. All I legally need to do is fill prescription that I have received correctly-and can refuse to fill for many reasons such as not it stock, unsafe dose, etc.