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Friday, October 9, 2015

How to be a Better Patient

How to be a Better Patient...
1. If your prescriber sends your prescriptions electronically, either
a. call before you come to the pharmacy to verify we received them and make sure we have your information, or
b. come to the drop off window to verify the same.
This way you won't have to wait in a long pickup line only to discover we've not yet received or even started filling your prescriptions. It helps us prioritize and helps you manage your time. 
2. Read Your Insurance's Explanation of Benefits. At least give it a cursory glance on the key points: copays, deductibles, preferred pharmacies, mail order requirements, and formulary restrictions. I'm like the general practitioner of insurance: I know a little about a lot. You are the specialist, the one who knows a lot about a little, when it comes to YOUR insurance. Help Me to Help You. 
3. Read Your Labels.
They tell you how and when to take your medication. If your prescriber changed anything, it will be on your newest label. Read it. Even if we counsel you on the changes, by the time you get home, it is difficult to remember everything you heard in a whirlwind morning of office and pharmacy visits. 
4. Refills. Now that you've read your labels, note the refills. Also, call them in 3 to 5 days early. This will ensure the prescription refills are valid and allow the pharmacy time to process any refill requests, insurance issues including prior authorizations, and order the medication if it is out of stock. You don't have to pick it up right away since you still have medication remaining so thank you in advance for giving us time to make sure everything is correct for you. 
5. Pick Up Your Prescriptions...Now!
I know. I just said call them in early and wait a couple days. This is for the patients who sign up for the refill service and, despite 3 phone calls, texts, emails, and skywriting campaigns, still do not pick up their medications within 13 days. It wastes our time to fill prescriptions you do not need. It wastes resources to keep them filled and continue trying to contact you. It phrustrates you when you come in, the day after we return them to stock, expecting them to be there and now we have to scramble to get them ready for you post haste. Please come get them. They are lonely without you. They miss you. Maybe we could send snapshots of unadopted prescriptions like the local pound does with puppies and kittens...
6. Know what you're taking and, more importantly, WHY! and Ask Questions!
After reading the labels, call us. Or review everything with us at pickup. We are not as imposing as your prescriber. We don't have other appointments that are running behind. We are here for you. The more medications you take the harder it can be to remember what you are treating. My favourite question people are reluctant to ask is: "Did my medication change? It looks different from last time". I love this and tell all my patients who ask the same thing. This. Is. Awesome. It means you are actually paying attention to what you are putting in your mouth. 
7. Your Pharmacist is a well-educated Professional. She is a valuable resource for health information. Just because her work environment may seem like Chuck E. Cheese's does not give you the right to yell and scream like a toddler when you don't get your way.
Your prescription is just as important to her as the one before it and the one after it. So is your time. Maybe this time you don't have a question. Maybe another patient does. Maybe next time that person will be you. 

8. Patients need Patience.
Prior Authorizations happen. Out-of-stocks happen. Wait Times happen. Phone Calls Happen. Consultations Happen. Why is the pharmacy busy? People like us. We're popular. Just like you, other people are unwell as well. Just like you're not alone in this world, you're not the only person who is sick today. Not surprisingly, you're not the only person who felt now was the perfect time to get a flu shot. You're not the only person who decided to go shopping the day after Thanksgiving either. As I've said in a previous post: If it is at all possible, avoid peak times at the pharmacy. This basically means all Mondays, Weekdays from 11-1 and 4-6, and days immediately before/after holidays. 

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