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Wednesday, November 6, 2013


To be a pharmacist, one must be good at chemistry. Check. And Math. Check. Really really good at math. Okay, check. To anyone else in the healthcare professions, math is an annoying conspiracy created by pharmacists to give themselves something to feel good about doing when they're not whining about how hard it is to count by fives. Huh?
Computers calculate doses now. Simply enter the weight and preferred product into the computer and poof! out comes a magical dose. No matter that it is impossible for a mother to administer this to her child. That's the pharmacist's problem and the mother's.

My finest examples come from these recent experiences:
1. "Give 1/10 tablet to your pet." Yep. 0.1 of a tablet. If it were the size of a personal pan pizza, perhaps this would be plausible. Tipping the scales at just over 3/16" around, means it is more likely one would get 10 irregular-shaped pieces and a bunch of dust. It would be easier to cut the tablet, grind it into a powder, get a mirror and razor blade, and make 10 lines for the dog to snort, than it would be to cut this into 10ths.

2. "Give your child 3.87 ml twice a day." Correct, 3.87 ml. We have devices that measure in 10ths, but not in 100ths. She can give 3.8 or 3.9, but seriously? What's wrong with 4ml. (After recalculating the dose with the weight mom provided while I was on hold with the office, 4ml was well within the appropriate dosage range.)

It goes back to reliance on computers to do all the work. Prescribers were told how incredible these systems were and how there would be no mistakes and "everything will be wonderful someday". Wrong. We not only see MORE errors with e-scripts, we see errors that never would have occurred with the old ink-and-pen method of prescribing.  As it is with all other aspects of the healthcare world, the bastard stepchildren, pharmacists, will play clean up and thank you for the opportunity to fix their mistakes and ask for more. Doctors still believe their job only involves the diagnosis and treatment selection.

1 comment:

  1. And as a pharmacy owner I have to pay 21 cents per e-script for the pleasure of correcting mistakes that should make the office people blush.