We pharmacists complain a lot about customers and doctors' offices. However, I don't really think we're asking that much. Just a few simple things would make us very very happy.
- Always have your insurance card readily available. This is especially true if you've never been to the pharmacy before. You wouldn't dare go to your doctor's office without an insurance card. Why do you come to the pharmacy without one?
- When dropping off or picking up a prescription, be prepared to give the address (and possibly the patient's date of birth). We don't ask this to annoy you. We ask to help make sure we fill the prescription correctly, and when you come to pick it up, we ask to make sure we're giving the right prescription to the right person.
- Pay attention to the number of refills and the prescriptions expiration date. Both of these are on every prescription label. Therefore, when you are out of refills for a maintenance medication, you can call us 3 or 4 days ahead of time in order to allow us time to contact the doctor to get more refills. If you're completely out of tablets, have no refills, and you call us on Friday after 5:00, we're going to be really pissed off.
- Keep in mind that pharmacies do not receive orders on weekends. If you have a prescription that needs to be special ordered, please call us no later in the week than Thursday. If you call us on Friday, we will not be able to receive your medication until Monday at the earliest.
- Never wait until you are completely out of your medication before calling in a refill. Call us at least 3 or 4 days ahead of time. I guarantee you'll be much happier with our service if you call us several days before your refill due.
- Do not under any circumstances stand at the counter while waiting for us to fill your prescription. For one, this is a violation of HIPAA privacy laws because you can possibly overhear some private health information for another patient. Secondly, it's just plain annoying. How would you like it if I came to your job and stared at you while you tried to work? Your prescription will not get done any faster if you stare at me.
- We love to hear: "I'm just dropping this prescription off. I'll be back in a couple days to pick it up." If it's not something you need right away, and you're going to be back to the store in a few days anyway, then just give us that extra time.
- Understand that we don't have any say over your insurance company. We fill type up a prescription and submit a claim electronically to your insurance company. We have no control over how much they charge you. If your copay suddenly went up, we have no idea why (unless you have Medicare Part D, and we can take an educated guess that you hit the donut hole). Don't get angry at us if your copay doubled in price from last month.
- On a related note... If your copay does double in price, don't ask us to call the insurance to find out why. It's not our insurance company, and it's not our prescription. If you want to know why the price went up, you call the insurance company. There's a number on the back of your insurance card... You know... the one that you're supposed to have on you every time you go to the pharmacy. You can dial it just as well as we can.
- We also have no control over your doctor's office. Trust us when we tell you that we faxed the doctor for that refill a couple days ago, and your doctor has not responded. In addition, when we tell us that your doctor hasn't called in that prescription yet, don't look at us incredulously. We're not lying to you. If your doctor called it in, we would have filled it. That's how we make money you know.
For doctors and their representatives:
- Please don't have minimum wage employees who can barely speak English call in prescriptions to the pharmacy. It is very important that the person calling in the prescription to the pharmacy has some idea as to what he or she is calling in as well as the ability to clearly communicate it to the pharmacist. Pharmacists are amazingly good at deciphering butchered drug names and poor English. However, it would be a lot easier if we didn't have to waste our time doing so.
- When leaving messages on the voice mail SLOW THE FUCK DOWN!!!! It's not a race. We're not timing you, and I promise if you take the extra 15 seconds to clearly enunciate, it will not set you back. In fact, it will save you time in that we won't have to call you back to get clarification.
- Again with the voice mail... When leaving a message, ALWAYS spell the patients last name (and even the first name if it's an unusual name in this country). ALWAYS give the patients date of birth. ALWAYS leave a call back number for the office. Any time the doctor's name can't be easily spelled by a 3rd grader, spell it. Even if you've called in 1,000 prescriptions to that particular pharmacy in the past, still spell it. There could be a floater or a new pharmacist who's never heard of that doctor.
- Prescribers... Please write neatly. If you're a doctor, you've gone through 4 years of pre-med, 4 years of medical school, an internship, a residency, and possibly more training. Somewhere among all those years of school, you were taught to write neatly. There's absolutely no excuse to writing so poorly that we cannot make out the name of the drug or directions. In addition, please sign your name neatly. If you absolutely cannot sign your name neatly, circle your name at the top of the script, or neatly print your name below your signature. We fucking hate having to guess which doctor wrote the prescription. It's an epic waste of our time.
- When writing a prescription, write out the patient's complete first and last name and date of birth. Simply writing "J. Smith" on the top of a prescription is not valid when you're trying to prescribe Percocet. I've even seen some doctors write "Mrs. Smith" as the name. How many Mrs. Smiths are there in the world?
- Write your DEA number ON ALL CONTROLLED SUBSTANCE PRESCRIPTIONS. EVERY TIME.
Seriously... these are all easy things. Most of them are common sense. If patients and doctors adhered to these simple rules, it would make pharmacists' lives much easier.