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Thursday, November 15, 2012

We Are Here For You

Accessibility: (of a person, especially one in a position of authority) friendly and easy to talk to; approachable.
Why are pharmacists the most trusted professionals?
Why do people call us with most of their medication questions?
Why do we get yelled at more than any other professional? 
Why are we held to a different standard than other professionals?
Why do people think we hold all the cards when it comes to their healthcare?

Accessibility. We are the most accessible healthcare profession available. We are the most accessible point of contact for all healthcare questions/concerns/complaints. People can't call their insurance companies and get immediate feedback. Pharmacies provide that. Even though we have nothing to do with the issue you are having, you can immediately vent to us. Your insurance company is locked away somewhere but I am here, face-to-face with you and your ire. Someone commented, a doctor I think, who was a little off base, on yesterday's post with this witticism: How many prompts does it take to talk to a pharmacist? Now, had he phrased his question better, I could have granted him a single point. However, the answer to his question is, simply, one. Press "0" on most any pharmacy menu and you'll get someone to answer the phone. The fun part about pharmacy is this: Ask to speak to a pharmacist. I can guarantee you will speak to a pharmacist. Period. Now, let me try that at a doctor's office.
Press 1 if you are another doctor
Press 2 if you'd like to make an appt.
Press 3 for prior authorization
Press 4 for billing
Press 5 if you are a patient needing a refill
Press 6 for questions for a nurse
Fine. Pharmacy menus can be long too and we have to have ads for flu shots. I won't argue that and I have to call other pharmacies too, but who waits? Press the button. And when I call a doctor and ask to speak to a doctor, will I ever get a doctor? (Not including ER doctors who just saw a patient. They're usually pretty good when it comes to talking to us.) No. I get a receptionist; perhaps a nurse. Someone will call me back. Who? A receptionist; perhaps a nurse. A doctor? Never. At any given hour of business (usually 9-9, unlike doctors) a pharmacist will be available to speak to someone about his medication. A pharmacist may even answer the phone herself! We can't hide behind a wall of receptionists and nurses who screen calls and take messages and who make our calls for us. 
I ask you to read those first two questions again. 
We are accessible. We are here for our customers. We are available. You can call my phone number and speak to me directly. All you have to say is "May I speak to the pharmacist please?" Seriously. It is that simple. I think I'm going to try that with the doctor's offices I call tomorrow. "May I speak to Dr. Zoffis, please?" 

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