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Tuesday, March 18, 2014


Dependence takes on many forms at the pharmacy, and in retail in general.
There is dependence on drugs, of course, but also dependence on technology. I'm not saying we are smarter than our computers, but there are many people out there whose computers are they smarter than they are...while they are turned off...still in the box...in fact the box is smarter simply by having the computer packed inside of it.

It was a typically busy Monday. Temperatures were still cold, my first day back from vacation a rather unassuming start to the third week of the month. (Usually the least busy week in the retail pharmacy business.) Anyway, that's when the call had to be made. A patient brought in a prescription. Not just any prescription; one for Augmentin. Uber-Tech did her due diligence and obtained the patient's allergies: "Penicillin", he said.
Uber-Tech thought "uh-oh" and proceeded to inquire as to the severity of this allergy...
Allergic Patient: "rash, hives, trouble breathing, anaphylaxis...I really cannot even read the word 'penicillin' or I break out."

Uber-Tech hands this off to CP who calls the prescriber. CP, of course, has to leave a message on the refill line for something as important as a patient waiting for his antibiotic but is deathly allergic to the one prescribed.

<some time later, in a galaxy, far, far...ahem...the phone rings>

CP: Allo? El Pharmacisto.
Doctor Death: You called about a prescription for AP?
CP: I did. Patient reported a severe allergy to penicillin. You wrote for Cipro, then scratched it out and changed it to Augmentin.
DD: Okay?
CP: No. Not okay. He reported rash, hives, itching, ER visits, etcetera with Penicillin. This could kill him.
DD: "Oh. Well our EMR was down for system maintenance so we couldn't check allergies." (yes, actual quote.)
CP: Um. Could the patient talk? Was he able to tell you his symptoms and why he was visiting your fine establishment in the first place?
DD: Yes. For that is how we diagnosed him.
CP: Uh-huh. So did it never occur to you to, oh I don't know, perhaps look across the room while you had your little Rx pad on your lap and, um, maybe like actually, um, ASK THE PATIENT if he had any allergies? You hand-wrote the Rx but relied on EMR for an allergy check?
DD: Your overconfidence is your weakness.
CP: Your faith in your technology is yours.

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