Monday, October 24, 2016

Unsolved Mysteries at the Pharmacy

I really want to understand something. I really do.

Recent scenario:

A line forms at the pick-up window. The tech is busy helping people get their meds. I'm at the drop-off window which also has a line. I have two people filling out flu shot consent forms and another person pacing back and forth at the end of the line.

The computer is indicating to me that there are e-Scripts waiting to be processed. Two of them are for a lady that is now at the register. She's likely been told by her prescriber "Ok, I sent them off. They'll be ready when you get there."

Before the tech starts looking for her meds I tell the lady that I saw her scripts on the computer and haven't filled them yet. With a disgusted look on her face, she belts out, "Well how long is this going to take?"

I tell her 45 minutes to an hour, which is pushing it. We're slammed right now and her meds are not an emergency. She says something but I'm too far away to hear what she said. But I can tell it was nasty. So, loudly, I tell her to look around. I pointed out all the people around her that are also waiting and that we just received her prescriptions, electronically, moments ago and that it's just not physically possible to make them "appear" any faster. She whispers something to the tech and takes off.

Later after we get caught up, I ask the tech what she said. She quotes to me what the nasty old woman said.

"I never liked that man. He's made me wait before."

I'm sure she'll complain and get a gift card. Maybe it's cheaper to just hire more technicians instead of handing out gift cards all the time, but what do I know?

I don't know if I will ever know how people think. They think that once they leave the doctor office next door the prescriptions will immediately be ready for them when they get here... like a drive-thru at McDonald's.

I want to understand. I really do.


Anonymous said...

Here's the difference:

the food at McDonald's, if too much is consumed over time, can have an adverse affect on their life or even kill them, yet they serve it to them quickly and without question or counseling

At least you care enough to make sure what they have been prescribed and are getting is the right drug and is safe for their consumption.

Hildy said...

You have several legitimate grievances: overly entitled customers, presumptuous prescribers, uncaring management, more work than you can handle by yourself, etc.

But, yes, it is much cheaper to hand out $25 gift certificates than to hire someone. When last I employed people, it cost the company 2-1/2 times the employee's salary to hire him (counting overhead and benefits). So if a tech makes $15/hr, that's $37.50 per hour times 2080 (number of hours in a year if working full-time), equalling $78,000 for that new employee, which means the company can give out 3,120 gift cards before the cost of the gift cards exceeds the cost of the employee. Does your pharmacy get more than 8.5 gift-card-worthy complaints per day? Only then would a new tech be cost effective. (And if you got that many complaints, I'm guessing the company would blame you, not hire more help.)

Maybe the government will step in as they did for medical interns, on the theory that an overworked, stressed and exhausted pharmacist is a danger to patient safety.