My Dream Drugstore – Fantasies of Pharmacy Perfection

March 21, 2014 • Pharmacy Operations • Views: 4998

I work in a perfect pharmacy.  In my dreams.    Allow me to take you on a brief tour.  Please don’t touch anything, this pharmacy is fragile and you might pop the bubble and wake me up.

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My dream drugstore never has software problems.  The programs run just as designed without glitches.  The scanners scan and the printers print.  No claims ever get “stuck” in my fantasy pharmacy.  Patients and other health care providers may not realize just how complicated the programming is for the average retail pharmacy computer system.  It must be capable of screening for drug interactions, connecting with warehouse inventory ordering, keeping updated pricing information, maintaining flawless patient histories, billing multiple insurances, accessing enormous databases of drug information, interfacing with POS software, and often connecting with other outside pharmacies and/or state agencies.  And that is just a few functions this software must be capable of.  No wonder it crashes.  But in my dream drugstore…it runs flawlessly all.day.long.

My dream drugstore never has issues with online transmissions.  Your insurance company’s computers never go down.  The internet never goes down.  Electronic prescriptions sent from your physician always reach me.  Refill requests sent by me always reach your doctor.  Oh, and while we are on the subject, the whole process always goes through with lightening speed.  Sadly, real life is different.  A “simple” refill that should take almost no time often takes much longer because of inexplicably slow servers or transmissions that crawl like the last few drops from the Tussionex bottle.  But in my dreamstore everything moves like a Tessalon perle across a counting tray.  Zoom!

You are a dreamerMy dream drugstore never runs out of anything.  For example, all the patients on metformin are perfectly spaced out throughout the month so I can keep 6 bottles on the shelf and always have enough.  In the real world it often seems like most of those patients all come in on the same day for their metformin, not to mention the 4 new patients who started on this drug today.  Thus, I run out.  And if I stocked enough to ensure this never happened I would need an inventory so big it would replace the parking lot of my store.  But this is my dreamstore, and it is perfect.

My dream drugstore is adequately staffed.  Filling prescriptions is reasonably profitable and allows for enough pharmacists and technicians to do it right.  There are no long lines or painful wait times.  Reimbursements are never below cost.  Sales never dip below expectations, forcing businesses to cut payroll to meet profitability expectations.  We have time to interact with every patient, whatever their question or concern, as well as make follow up phone calls to see if they have any questions.  I can’t prove it, but I’m pretty sure my dream drugstore has reduced hospital readmissions due to the extensive involvement of our pharmacists in delivering patient care.

My dream drugstore never dispenses a single pill that was prescribed inappropriately or for non-medical use.  The tablets that leave my perfect store will never end up on the street being sold for $20 a pop by dealers to addicts who often end up in the ER or worse.  In the real world we work in it would be impossible to do the type of in-depth research required to ensure every patient really has legitimate pain and a legitimate relationship with their local physician.  But my dreamstore is different.  We even have a pain monitoring machine that tells me a patient’s true pain level so I can ensure the narcotics are needed.

Best of all, my dream drugstore has no unreasonable expectations imposed by disconnected management.  Those promoted to positions of leadership in this dream are there because of their values, experience and talent as managers, not because they learned how to game the system and fake the metrics their supervisors wanted to see.  They were respected by their peers first.  And my dream drugstore has the foresight sufficient to weather short term setbacks without over-reacting and sacrificing long-term success (i.e. we don’t cut staffing at every dip in drug sales).

Okay, the tour is over.  Step out slowly as your body readjusts to reality.  We didn’t, of course, get to see everything that this dream drugstore has to offer.  We’ll have to save that for another night.  My sleeping pill has worn off.  But my dream lives on.  How about yours?

Right now it’s time to get up and return to the real world where everything, just like me, isn’t quite dreamy.

The reasonable man adapts himself to the conditions that surround him…The unreasonable man adapts surrounding conditions to himself… All progress depends on the unreasonable man.”   George Bernard Shaw

©Jason Poquette and The Honest Apothecary.  Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from this blog’s author and/or owner is strictly prohibited. Excerpts and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to Jason Poquette and The Honest Apothecary with appropriate and specific links to the original content.

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Author: Jason Poquette

2 Responses to My Dream Drugstore – Fantasies of Pharmacy Perfection

  1. Steve Leuck says:

    Jason, thanks for the tour! Along those same lines, I have been reading lately about medical errors in the health are setting (ie, preventable adverse events “pae’s” in hospitals). The most recent estimates show that a minimum of 210,000 and possibly upwards of 400,000 deaths per hear happen due to PAE’s in hospitals. That is an amazing number. This places PAE’s at the 3rd leading cause of death behind heart disease and cancer.
    So, it appears that medication errors make up the majority of PAE’s. It also appears that Computer Physician Order Entry (CPOE) programs, when implemented, will decrease medication errors by 48%. Also, as of 2011, only 25% of hospitals have implemented CPOE systems (due to many, many reasons).
    Continuing your tour, I would like to add a stop at the hospital pharmacy where you will always have CPOE and the Pharmacist verifying and monitoring the CPOE prior to medication distribution and administration.
    Thanks
    Steve Leuck, Pharm.D.

  2. Nonye Uddoh says:

    Jason,
    I’d add that a dream drugstore’s software would be integrated with the state’s Prescription Drug Monitoring Program. This way the next time you’re about to fill a narcotic for a new customer, you’d have instant access to a much broader history of his/her controlled substance usage from multiple providers and pharmacies. Thus you could make a more informed decision, quickly. Where I work, we need to access a separate website for our state’s PDMP and it’s blocked by our webserver, rendering this valuable resource useless in daily practice.
    Nonye Uddoh, PharmD.

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