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Tuesday, April 8, 2014

Pharmacists are too Available

We are too accessible. That is the nature of our profession. We have embraced this role for centuries. Prescribers are too insulated. You cannot reach them. Call any pharmacy and ask to speak to the pharmacist. Perhaps she will answer. Perhaps you will wait a few minutes. Either way, your request will be granted.
Try that with your prescriber. (I no longer differentiate among them. To me, they are all writers-of-prescriptions.) With any luck, someone may return your call from the office who has your answer. It is very unlikely to be your prescriber and the odds are infinitesimally smaller that she will pick up the phone herself...or quickly.

Why is this important, you ask?

CP: I need to speak with the prescriber about an error on a prescription he wrote.
L.ady A.ccepting M.essages E.nthusiastically: I can transfer you to the refill line.
CP: Not acceptable. This is important as I believe the prescriber is trying to kill his patient.
LAME: I can transfer you to his nurse's voicemail.
CP: How will that help? Is she in a room? Can I hold?
LAME: She is on vacation this week.
CP: Okay. It being a Monday and all, how will transferring me to her voicemail get my question addressed quickly?
LAME: That's all I can do.
CP: Is the prescriber in the office today?
LAME: Yes.
CP: May I speak with him? Or leave a message for him?
LAME: He does not accept phone calls.
CP: How about another nurse? You have other prescribers there. I assume they all would have their own nurses then? Could one of them pick up the phone to listen to my concerns?
LAME: They are not familiar with him.
CP: Dafuq? Must be a nice quiet week for the prescriber. Who tells him he has patients in the rooms? Who gets his charts? His coffee? Who enters his e-scripts for him? You're telling me the only person in the entire office who can answer a question about an error one of your prescribers committed is the nurse who happens to be on vacation?
LAME: I can transfer you to the refill line.
CP: How about this. I propose a race. I will fax this prescription to you with my notes about what is wrong on it along with your name as the person of record. I will hand the same copy to the patient and send her, complaining about gas prices and why this is taking so long, back to your office. See if you can get the answer before she comes storming down there and interrupts you filing your nails. I can hear it...along with your gum chewing. I'm betting on Angry Patient.
Go! <click>

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