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Monday, September 15, 2014

Just Stop...

Change can be good. It can be difficult to accept at first. People are often resistant to new ways of thinking. Sometimes this is because they are accustomed to and comfortable with the old way. Sometimes they fight because they cannot see how the new way will be better than the old. The definition of insanity is doing the same thing over and over and over expecting a different result. What if we gave people no choice but to accept the "new normal"? Would civilization as we know it end? Would the markets crash? Would the world stop revolving? No. Life would go on as it always has after these Earth-shattering events. Now, how does this relate to pharmacy?

I was told by a corporate pharmacy suit that "as long as everyone else is doing it, we need to as well". He went on to say that "as long as we have a chip in the game we can sit at the table". Brilliant. This is the thinking that has advanced our profession backwards over the last couple decades.

Ideas: Stop all coupons. Stop all transfer incentives. Stop all gift cards. Stop all Perks programs. Stop using my profession to generate FE business. Better yet; get out of the FE business altogether. If you give a group of children 7 choices of flavors on anything, they cannot make a decision. Give them one option, or perhaps two, and they will make it quicker. Same with pharmacy. Remember when they took away all analog TV? People fought it, cried about it, government legislated on it and there were constant battles about it. Guess what happened? The day came, the switch was thrown, and nothing happened. It's a tough decision to get rid of one's security blankie, their lifesaver, teddy bear, or crutch. At some point, they have to learn to grow up and walk/survive without them. It's time for pharmacy corporations to man up and just not do it anymore. People complained, people got upset, people were revolting (some still are-wink wink). But they survived. I like it. I went shopping today and everyone was trying to figure out how to use coupons at the 3 places I visited. Some coupons weren't valid on certain products, at certain hours, on certain sizes, in combination with other offers, whatever. The point is, I spent more time waiting for people to use their coupons and figure out sales ads today than I did actually shopping for what I needed. Make it stop. The Profession of Pharmacy needs to go back to when it was respected as just that, a Profession.

If they want to focus on healthcare and the profession, I am all for ways to do it. I have no problems with immunizations, MTMs, clinics, etc in my pharmacies. Just focus the money from advertising and gift cards on adding support to facilitate these programs. I could do all of these more efficiently if you gave me extra help. We have no adaptability or flexibility. Our corporations are strictly dollars-and-cents types. First cuts are to labor. In the next breath it's improve your customer service. It's like telling a kid to keep clapping after cutting off one of his arms; cruel, yet somehow expected to work or he'll be put in timeout.

Seriously consider charging for everything. Doctors expect us to fax them refill requests? Charge for them. Patients expect us to call or fax for refill requests? Charge them. Prior Authorizations need faxed? That's a charge too. You need a few pills or you'll die over the weekend? There's a fee for that. I have a great post dedicated to nickel-and-diming doctors and patients over error-filled prescriptions. Time to revolutionize the industry. Get everyone on board. Change the game. The players will adapt. If everyone signs on, there will be no "well Wal-Mart doesn't do that so I'll go there". Make it the new pharmacy professional standard.

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