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Tuesday, August 12, 2014

A Letter to Corporate

Thank you for employing me. I appreciate the paycheck. I have given a lot of myself to the Corporate Pharmacy World and thoroughly enjoy my job.
I am, however, concerned about your changing expectations of those of us behind the bench. Today I am specifically going to address Customer Satisfaction Surveys; in particular, the abuse, threatening, and extortion you expect us to perform to force patients, not customers, to participate in voluntary surveys.

Everywhere I have worked, and places I have not, seem to have a magic number of required responses to these surveys. Corporate requires 20 or 30 or 45 customer responses per month. Has corporate learned nothing from their years of operating in the pharmacy world? (Of course not. That was rhetorical.) Let me explain. No. There is too much, let me sum up.

We offer compliance calls to "encourage" and "remind" patients to pick up their prescriptions. They do not.
We offer predictive refills that call patients when their refills are due.
We offer text alerts and emails and online monitoring of your healthcare.
We offer advertisements, mailers, in-store banners and cheerleaders and bag stuffers, and personal reminders at checkout about our services including flu shots and shingles shots and people still manage to miss this all and call and ask if something is available or ready or offered.

Any edict from corporate that includes: "As part of your job you must increase your rate of response on customer surveys. Ways to help include circling the phone number with a Sharpie, highlighting it with lipstick, and ripping the patient's cell phone from her hands and directly dialing the survey number for her." should be immediately removed and the person responsible should be sacked.
When are you going to learn that you cannot force the general public to do anything?
We can't make them come in and pick up their prescriptions.
We can't make them take their medications as prescribed.
We can't make them be responsible for their own healthcare.
We can't do any of this any more than we can wheedle, cajole, urge, encourage, strong arm, or force them to give us their opinion on a survey by making a phone call.

You can lead a horse to water, but you can't make him drink.
You can give a person an education but you can't make him think.

Your efforts are misguided. Since you have obviously figured out how to make automated compliance calls to patients, why not try soliciting a 5 question survey about their recent visit? Or an email to the patients? Or a text questionnaire? Or a Twitter survey? People are so inundated with requests for satisfaction surveys they have turned a blind eye and a deaf ear to them. You have to engage them where they live: online.

Please do not ask me to do your begging for you. At the end of the day I still have an important job to do. At the end of the day, if I haven't made a mistake, I am happy. That should be all that you need to worry about from my end. I'll take care of my patients. YOU take care of the business end with all your paper pushing and policies and procedures and workflow designs and promotions and dreaming up new ways to make a buck for yourself.

I can give you this insight into the Profession of Pharmacy, but I can't make you read it or understand it or do anything about it. Just keep on keeping on in your ivory tower, Corporate Pharmacy. Hopefully someone will call and tell you what a great job I'm doing for you and that you should pay me more or give me more hours...but it's just a number on a random spreadsheet, right?

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