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Thursday, February 14, 2013

Close the Pharmacy

You did not misread that. You misinterpreted it. Pharmacies used to be hidden. Pharmacists were accessible if they walked out to you. Which we often did. And we were more valued as a result. You could no more stare at us over the tops of the shelves than you could hear us whispering on the phone in a corner. Times have changed. While the whole open floor plan concept works great in building a house, it does not suit the pharmacy. I say close it.
We are truly a few metal bars and a coin-operated food dispenser away from being animals in a zoo. People stare at us. They yell at us from anywhere in the store. They throw stuff at us (one bag with 3 boxes of Lovenox coming at my head is enough). They put their kids on our counters. I swear someone took my picture at my last store too. Seriously. What other profession allows its professionals to be treated as such?
I say close it. If the "centralized pharmacist" concept is going to work, make the rest of it happen behind the scenes. This way, when I have 3 techs each on a phone line and I am checking something, no one can smart off saying "there's 4 people back there not helping me". Piss off. Now you see me, now you don't.
I want the pharmacist to be the focal point. I want to perform my professional duties. You just don't need to know what else goes on. "Pay no attention to the man behind the curtain." I don't really want or need to see how my food is prepared in the kitchen (Hibachi is exempted from this) nor how my friends' colonoscopies are performed. I don't care. All I want is for my profession to be taken seriously again.
Close the pharmacy. Put up a wall. Put a pharmacist out front in a consultation room or at the counter, in a chair. Give her an iPad to assist patients while their medications are being filled. Slow down the whole process. Focus on the professional aspect of our jobs. Focus on our knowledge. Focus on why we spent so much time and money at school. If we stop trying to squeeze blood from a desiccated idea (profit margin on pills?) then we can look at new ways of highlighting our place in the health care world and getting paid for it.
Doctors live an insular experience, hiding behind layers of staff and walls. They visit with patients, one-on-one, privately going over medical history, diagnoses, and treatments. Pharmacy needs to examine this concept. I have an outline for this model.

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