Today’s Medicine

Permit me a personal moment to offer some opinion about the current state of health care in the US.  I have a prescription for high blood pressure medicine.  It’s not too expensive, and it doesn’t seem to have annoying side effects, like some medications do.  And I’m one of the fortunate ones that can’t tell if my blood pressure is too high or too low (fat chance).  So, for me, this is a minor concession to the march of time that doesn’t really hurt.

I took the last pill yesterday morning.  Two hours later, the prescription bottle was dropped off at the neighborhood pharmacy for re-fill.  When I went back at 5:00 PM, they told me the prescription had expired and a call had been made to the doctor’s office for a new prescription.  This has happened before, and I guess I understand why your physician won’t give unlimited re-fills, but 3 re-fills for BP medicine seems a bit conservative to me.

Another visit to the Pharmacy this morning resulted in another denial of service, as in "We still haven’t heard from your doctor".  I then called the voice mail system of my doctor’s office, went through the message tree, and finally was allowed to leave a message about my need for a renewal of my prescription.  The recording urged me to leave a call back number, which I did.

This afternoon, I got smart and called the pharmacy to check the status of the re-fill.  Through their message tree, finally to a human being, who gave me the bad news: "We still have not heard from your doctor".  So, back to the message tree at the doctor’s office, where, after too much time, human contact was established.  I was then told that my prescription was ready for pick-up!  Stupid me only took a few seconds to realize that my new prescription was written, but that it was up to me to pick it up and deliver to the pharmacy so that I could receive medicine.

At no point did anyone tell me what I needed to do to make this process work faster and better.  The doctor’s office says they can’t spend the time on the phone calling in prescriptions, because the pharmacy lines are always busy (I guess they are trying to work through the message tree at the doctors’ offices).  Both groups are way too busy to call the customer in this deal.

Folks, this is the 21st century.  Never have so many people been able to communicate faster with each other in more ways. I got voice mail on 2 phones, multiple e-mail accounts, a web site, and can text message if nothing else works. Maybe the big problem with healthcare and healthcare providers is that they haven’t embraced the technologies that the rest of us use every day.  How many prescriptions could the physician’s assistant process if she/he could e-mail the pharmacy?  How much time and gas could I save if the pharmacy e-mailed me to tell my stuff was ready for pick-up?  How about the doctor’s office e-mailing me to tell me that I could pick-up the new prescription?

Hello, Hello, Hello, is anybody there?  Hello, Hello……….


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