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Friday, October 28, 2016

I Wouldn't Believe It If I Hadn't Been In Pharmacy

Just a typical week in the #Pharmacy. Full of to-be-continued stories. It's the longest-running soap opera. We need our own channel.

CP: CP's Pharmacy, How may I grovel for your business today?
DUDE: I have a question.
CP: I have an answer. That's a go for CP.
DUDE: What medication did you refuse to fill for me?
CP: We didn't refuse to fill anything for you.
DUDE: Yeah huh! It was my blood pressure.
CP: You mean the one you presented over the weekend?
DUDE: Yeah.
CP: The one that needs prior authorization?
DUDE: Yep.
CP: The one that was written over 2 weeks ago and you managed to bring in on a Saturday now that you've been out and are blaming me for destroying your blood pressure?
DUDE: That's the one.
CP: The one that I offered to fill as CASH for you?
DUDE: Uh-huh.
CP: The one you refused to pay $200.00 to take?
DUDE: That's the one.
CP: Okay. Now I remember. Why do you need the name? I faxed the office for the prior authorization that day. It's now Friday. Shouldn't they have done it by now?
DUDE: I called to ask for samples and they said I need the name.
CP: Hold on. What?
DUDE: They said I had to call you to find out the name of the samples they gave me so they could give me more.
CP: This is either the phunniest thing I've heard or the saddest testament to healthcare today. Let me make sure I understand you. Your prescriber, the one who actually wrote you a prescription for a medication, needs you to call me so I can tell you the name so you can call them and tell them what they wrote for you so you can get more samples of something they've been giving you for months? (Never mind that you don't know what you've been choking down every morning.)
DUDE: Pretty much.
CP: Are they working on the prior auth?
DUDE: Not sure.
CP: So confused right now. Your prescriber chose the most expensive, brand-only medication in this class and won't change it. Doesn't know what it is. Doesn't know what he's been sampling to you. Apparently doesn't have a charting system in the office. Didn't communicate if they're going to do the prior auth. And you're okay with this?
DUDE: Yes?
CP: Here's a secret. Pharmacists have lists. The lists have certain prescribers on them. Your prescriber is now on my list. Hopefully you choose your President better than you've chosen your healthcare provider. From this, I'm guessing you're going to vote for

Monday, October 24, 2016

No Good Deed...

One day, out of the goodness of my heart, I decided to help my neighbour. It was nothing major, just a simple, random act of kindness. She was on vacation and I took the time, while mowing my lawn, to cut her grass too. (This could also apply to shoveling her driveway and sidewalk during the winter months since she is older and may slip on the icy drive.) Anyway, I did this for her one time. The next time her grass needed mowed, or walk needed shoveled, I saw her on her front porch. I was busy taking care of my own yard maintenance and smiled at Friendly Neighbour when she suddenly turned  abrasive towards me. We've occasionally shared a morning coffee and the random bit of gossip together so this turn of events was quite surprising.
FN: Why aren't you doing my yard?
CP: Sorry?
FN: Why are you not working in my yard?
CP: Because it's your yard. I have my own yard to tend.
FN: You took care of mine once for me.
CP: Yes. As a courtesy.
FN: Well now I expect it every time.
CP: I guess you'll just have to learn to take care of yourself again.
FN: What? I guess I'll just slip on the ice, break a hip, and die then.
CP: Well there's that. Or you could use your tractor with the plow attachment and, you know, do it yourself like you used to do. I bet your pharmacist once called your prescriber to obtain refills for you, as a simple courtesy, and now you just expect her to do it for you every time. I'll even wager that you go days without medication because you figure someone else is going to take care of your responsibilities for you. Parents wipe the asses of their children until they outgrow their diapers. I'm surprised I've not walked into more public restrooms and heard: "Mom! come wipe my butt!" from twenty-somethings. I mean, mom still calls in their birth control for them. So, no. You can mow your own grass or shovel your own walk ad infinitum.

Friday, October 14, 2016

What You Want To Say Vs...

Little Old Lady: I need to get a refill on my heart pills.
CP: Okay. Let me just scan that bottle you have with you. Oh. Drat.
LOL: What seems to be the matter?
CP: This prescription is out of refills.
LOL: How can that be?
CP: Well, the doctor puts a limited number of them on your prescription. As you fill them, they go away. Once you use them, POOF!, all gone.
LOL: But I've been on these for 10 years.
CP: Well, that streak's about to end unless you call your prescriber.
CP: And if you want to be on them another year, I suggest you phone your prescriber post haste.

Thursday, October 13, 2016

Winning At Customer Service

When it comes to healthcare, people only care about one thing. Speed. And cost. Okay two things. The two things people care about when it comes to their healthcare are speed and cost. And convenience. Okay. The three things people care about are speed, cost, and convenience. Apparently, pharmacy has fully embraced this concept and based its rewards system on these three tenets of healthcare.

I like to play games. 
I hate to play corporate games. 
I like to play games with corporate. 
Corporate hates when I play their games better than they do. 

Here is my proposal: Remember the other week when I said "suck at your job"? The second part of that is to wait until corporate starts a contest. Since you intentionally failed miserably at their quotas/metrics, you know how to meet them. Now that there is extra incentive for you, excel at your job. Reverse course and, instead of fighting against the flow, go with it. You won't have to do anything and you will be Most Improved! 

But I don't want to stop there. No way. I say go Balls Out to beat them at their own game. 
Corporate says to give gift cards. 
Corporate says to remind patients to call the 1-800-I-HATE-YOU number. 
Corporate says to increase Customer Service Scores.  

The solution: Become Oprah. 
Give EVERYONE a $10.00 Gift Card. 
a. 20 minutes too long to wait? Gift Card to sit quietly. 
b. On the fence about a flu shot? Gift Card to help my numbers. 
c. I need more Zostavax, Pneumo, or Tdap shots this week. Gift Cards for each one you get. 
d. Out of stock on your new e-script? Gift Card for you. 
e. Gift Card if you call the 1-800# from our waiting room. 
f. Just walking past the pharmacy? You get a Gift Card too! 
You get a gift card!
Everybody gets a Gift Card!

If "they" want us to give gift cards to reward negative behaviour, we should be able to buy a few positive votes as well, right? It is election season after all.

 I wonder how long it'll be before they decide to rethink the whole negative-reinforcement-buy-them-off-with-gift-cards concept...

Tuesday, October 11, 2016

Ways To Improve

Stores are often tasked with designing ways to improve their performance. Whether it is increasing script count, customer satisfaction calls, flu shot totals, or the atmosphere of their pharmacy, for some reason the stores are responsible. Even though we have District Managers and a Corporate Marketing Team, for some reason, underperforming stores must get creative ... in addition to all their other duties, like actually filling prescriptions.
The next time corporate asks for suggestions, keep these in mind.
To increase flu shots:

1. Snipers. Snipers with blow darts.
2. Impregnate the handles of the shopping carts/baskets.
3. Needles on the chairs in the waiting room.
(Note: They did not say we had to collect copays, only that we had to increase the number of flu shots administered.)
4. Mascots. You know the Liberty Tax locations that dress an employee as a Statue of Liberty during tax season? She's out of work right now so get her a Giant Syringe costume and stick her on the corner. Perfect for Halloween season too.
5. Play Hide-And-Get-Shot with the kiddos while they wait with their parents.
6. Hold their prescriptions hostage.

Little Old Lady: I'm here to pick up my prescriptions.
CP: Have you had your flu shot yet?
LOL: No. I get it at my doctor's office.
CP: I see. Would you like one today? No appointment necessary.
LOL: No, thank you. I just need my heart medication.
CP: Ok. That'll be $20.00 for the 4 of them...and a flu shot.
LOL: What?
CP: How bad do you want your heart medication?
LOL: I need it to live.
CP: A flu shot will help too.
LOL: I just need my medication.
CP: I cannot sell these to you until you agree to a flu shot.
LOL: But I'm getting one next week.
CP: I don't know that. Believe me, it's for your own good.
LOL: I'm going to have a panic attack.
CP: I guess you'd like the Xanax in your bag too then, huh? Agree to a flu shot...
LOL: But...
CP: It's just a quick prick...
LOL: But...
CP: It'll be over before you know it.
LOL: This is a shakedown.
CP: Corporate said to increase the number of flu shots we administer. They did not rule out extortion.

Monday, October 3, 2016

Grandparents Are The Spoilers

As parents we want what is best for our children. It is our obligation to be diligent when it comes to the welfare of our children. This is what we agreed to do when we signed on to become parents. We knew full well there would be trials and tribulations along the way. There would be ups and downs. What we often didn't expect however, was the grandparents. Grandparents have a unique way of undermining our best efforts as parents. Somehow they raised us and we turned out okay. At least we think so. But we want our children to be better. We want to do better for them.

As times change, each successive generation believes they have it harder than the previous one. At the same time, the previous generation believes the newer one has it better. As each generation doesn't understand the others' music, neither do they understand what it's like to be a parent in that age. 

As parents, we are in charge of disciplining our own children. We give them rules to obey in our house. When we take them out in public, we have rules there too. But at grandma's house? The same rules don't apply. Why? Because no one disciplines the nana. I've even seen that saying on cute little signs: "No one spanks the Nana." In today's family dynamic, there's the chorus of: "We can at grandma's!". While that has most often been the case, it takes on a different meaning today.

While most certainly there are grandparents who are strict with their grandchildren there are always exceptions. Another fond saying is: "Grandchildren are God's reward for not killing your own children". Some grandparents will spoil their grandchildren rotten while others want no part of dealing with the mini question fountains.

How many grandparents hand out candy like it's, well, candy? Despite our strictest rules, grandparents are often there to curry favour and spoil the little buggers. Fill them up with love and attention and all things mom doesn't allow in her house, then send them back there to their insufferable, soda-free existence. Ultimately, it is about balance. You must obey mom's and dad's rules except at nana's house where the rules don't exist and because no one spanks the nana.

...and this is what is wrong with American healthcare today.
The Parents are the Pharmacists.
The Grandparents are the Prescribers.
The Children are the Patients.
The Candy is the, well, still it's "candy".

Reread it with these characters in mind.
Despite the best efforts of the parents (pharmacists), there will continue to be grandparents (prescribers) getting away with handing out "candy" to the children (patients) because no one spanks the nana (prescribers).