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Monday, May 19, 2014

Its' Not Supposed to Be Like This

I received a complaint. Let me explain. No. It is too long. Let me sum up...

Lady presents a prescription for Vicodin 5/500. (Hasn't been made for 5 months. Memos went out in November 2012 about the withdrawal of this product.)

Very Patient Lady: I know this is wrong but here's what happened. My husband had this same Rx last month. I told my doctor as she was writing this that is was wrong. I told her it needed fixed. I told her they don't make it anymore. Do you know what she said?
CP: I am curious.
VPL: "That's okay. The pharmacist will call."
CP: Curious, indeed. She's right. I am going to call.

Office Nurse: How may I help you?
CP: I need to talk to Prescriber Person about an incorrect prescription.
ON: I am sorry, PP is out of the office today.
CP: Of course she is. It is Monday at 9:15am. Can no one else help me?
ON: Her assistant is out on vacation too.
CP: Okay. I wish to register a complaint. (I explained the circumstances surrounding my call.) It is not my job to call on this. The prescriber has had ample time to get with the program. The patient even brought it to her attention. Instead, here is where we are. You have to take a message. I have been timing the amount of my time and your time being wasted because your physician said "the pharmacist will call". So far we are at 5 minutes. You just told me PP is out of the office. Her assistant is out too. This means my patient won't get her medication until tomorrow. Why? All because PP was too lazy to learn her job and fix the problem immediately. It would have taken 4-7 seconds to scribble out the "500" and replace it with "300" and scrawl her initials on it. That is lazy, ignorant, and unprofessional.
I wish for someone to call me back regarding my complaint.

(In all fairness, this assistant knew the rules and we never have issues with her or her physician.)

Instead of getting an apology, I got a complaint. Pharmacists can complain to an office manager and what happens? Nothing. The prescriber likely doesn't see it or they laugh about it. If an office chooses to complain about a pharmacist, we get written up, we get dinged on "customer satisfaction surveys" even though they aren't even customers, we get a target on our backs from the powers-that-be.

This is a situation no other profession has to face. Worst of all, we have to face it from OTHER PROFESSIONALS!

It's time to put a stop to this disparity.


1 comment:

  1. Are you kidding about pharmacy being the only profession that deals with complaints? The whole world is following the mentality that the customer is always right -- not just pharmacists or health care workers.

    Doctors live under the same threat of complaints. If a nurse doesn't like something about how I handled an interaction then s/he can file a complaint. If a patient doesn't like that I didn't give him an antibiotic for a viral infection, he can complain. Last month, a family complained about a doctor in my practice because he didn't immediately call them back about a non-urgent issue. He was seeing patients. Patients also get satisfaction surveys in the mail (and can go online to review, which only angry people tend to do), and their ratings affect how much a doctor earns or whether he keeps his job. The customer is always right is a terrible mentality in medicine, but that's the reality.

    Instead of filing a complaint with the office, you might have just asked to speak with the doctor upon her return then kindly inform her of the change. But I suspect you have limited time and are probably pushed to the limit by the administrative hassles of your job (tho' make no mistake, every health care professional struggles under a dense administrative burden!), so maybe this wasn't really feasible at the time. Or maybe you went into pharmacy because you don't want to have to deal with too much social B.S. In any case, starting off with a complaint is not usually the best path to harmonious resolution.