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Monday, December 10, 2018

A Little Thought Exercise

Have you ever completed this exercise? I've seen it used during childbirth classes in particular. You start with all the important things you want for your baby and eliminate one thing at a time until you arrive at the most important. This is usually "A Healthy Baby"; sex, hair and eye colour, etc don't matter, so long as the baby is healthy.

I was thinking about this when my staff and I were recently trying to prioritise the tasks ahead of us for the day.
(It was a busy time and the corporate metrics were nagging the backs of our skulls.)

We had prescriptions to type.
We had prescriptions to fill.
We had prescriptions to check.
We had calls to make to offices and patients.
We had returns to stock to complete.
We had an order to shelve.
We had shots to push, and administer.
We had phones to answer.
We had patients picking up prescriptions at the counter.
We had pickups at the drive thru.
We had drop offs at the window.
We had all the other crap to do that each company requires.

We were short-staffed, as always.
As my techs and intern were asking what to do next, (we were behind on wait times) I replied calmly with:
"The prescriptions. Spend your time and effort on the data entry, on the filling, and on the accuracy required of both. I will focus on checking them and making sure we don't kill anyone."

At the end of the day, after eliminating all of the "important things" from our pile, when we come to the MOST IMPORTANT item, should it be
a.) correct Rxs with safe, happy patients or. . .
b.) metrics?

In case you need help deciding what to do next, look at this list and the most important item shall become clear.
I get annoyed when I occasionally fill in at other stores and we are in the weeds with prescriptions (>1hr behind) and someone decides he is going to pull returns or outdates or make courtesy refill reminder calls. Dude, you are doing the wrong work at the wrong time. If we get caught up on prescriptions, you can do the other stuff. It's not going anywhere.
Those tasks can wait.
Those tasks can't call the 1-800-I-HATE-YOU complaint number.
Those tasks won't be affected by a misfill.

At the end of the day, our job is to make sure the correct prescription is filled correctly for the correct patient with the correct medication, correctly. Period.
When corporate asks why your other tasks are lagging, tell them they can pick which day you stop filling prescriptions correctly.
"How about next Tuesday? We can all work on everything else, except filling prescriptions correctly or, at all. How's that? We will change Taco Tuesdays to Task Tuesdays. Or, short of that, you could give me enough tech help to do all of it simultaneously. Your choice."


A little thought exercise. You write down each of the things that are important in your life on these little cards. Then you eliminate one card at a time until you get to the one that that's most important to you.


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