Dear Staff of Doctors Offices Everywhere,
There is an obvious lack of common knowledge in Doctors office as to the “proper” way to phone in an Rx. So I have taken upon myself to give you all a little guideline to hang up in your office so you and/or your office staff don’t become a target of an angry rant on this site. Consider it my gift to you.
The Angry Pharmacist (c) 2009
- Before you pick up the phone, you must ask yourself a few simple questions:
- Do I speak LOUD and CLEAR English and do not mumble (you might need to ask a few office people their opinion of this)?
- Do I have the patients full name and date of birth?
- Can I read what the doctor has written?
- Do I know MY NAME and THE DOCTORS NAME?
- If I read what the doctor has written (see 1.3) , can I make out exactly what drug it is, what strength it is, how often is it to be taken. Even if you have no idea what the drug is, you should be able to use your high-school education to deduce (that’s fancy-talk for figure out) how to take the drug. If you are unable to determine this, consult the doctor or find someone in the office who can.
- Try to sound out the drug name. Ask someone how to say it if you are confused. Most drugs names sound similar, so if you are hopelessly confused just be prepared to spell it.
- Is there anything here that I might get confused about if asked questions. Such as a possible 0 looking like an 8 or a 6, or why someone would need #400 Norco with 10 refills. Giving Ambien (that everyone knows is for sleep) twice daily is obviously wrong as well.
- Having your pre-NewRx checklist, you are ready to call:
- Double check with the patient as to the pharmacy of choice, and also double check to see that you are calling the correct pharmacy. In most phone books, the name of the pharmacy is on the LEFT and their number is on the RIGHT. Use a piece of paper to keep a straight line if you are cross eyed and can’t seem to follow from LEFT to RIGHT.
- If you are calling a chain or any pharmacy with an automated system, go to the menu entry for a new Rx.
- If you are calling an independent and a LIVE PERSON answers the phone, you are most likely talking with a clerk who CANNOT TAKE YOUR NEW PRESCRIPTION. Kindly ask to speak with a Pharmacist and state that you have a new prescription to call in.
- If you call it in to the wrong pharmacy, CALL THE WRONG PHARMACY BACK AND CANCEL THE PRESCRIPTION! DO NOT CALL THE CORRECT PHARMACY UNTIL THIS IS DONE! What happens is the wrong pharmacy processes it, and blocks the correct pharmacy from processing it through the insurance. We would rather have you CALL and CANCEL THE RX vs having to deal with having another pharmacy return-to-stock and backing the prescription out.
- Speaking with the pharmacist:
- When the pharmacist answers, speak LOUD and CLEAR. There is a lot of background noise in a pharmacy and softly mumbling will get your ass hung-up on.
- Tell them immediately what YOUR name is and WHERE YOU ARE CALLING FROM. Nothing pisses off pharmacists more than when someone is giving a new Rx and they have no idea where they are calling from (hey, they could be the patient calling in a phony).
- Say the patients name in a way that we can understand. You may be proud of your Mexican accent and the way you say Mexican names, but the non-Mexican pharmacist on the other end of the phone has no idea how to spell your ooplahs, n-yays and tongue-rolls. Most pharmacists will want you to spell the name anyways due to the outrageous and stupid names people are making up for their kids now-days. Say it like a white-boy and you should be safe.
- Immediately give the date-of-birth. We shouldn’t have to ask for it because you should give it automatically. You should already know where it is and don’t need to hunt/change screens for it.
- Give the first drug, strength, and directions. Speak SLOW, AND CLEAR. You can say it a whole lot faster than most of us can write it. Calling in an Rx is not a race. If you cannot pronounce the drug, just straight out say “I’m spelling this for you”.
- If at any time you use the phrase “This looks like…” or “I think this is…”, you should re-read the section about preparing for the call in, and contemplate having somebody else call in Rx’s who can actually read and follow directions.
- When finished with the last drug, say “That’s all”. This is not the time for awkward silence as the pharmacist patiently awaits another drug and you just sit silently waiting for the pharmacist to magically read your mind.
- Be prepared to give your name again, since we forgot your name a long time ago, and feel free to ask the pharmacist his name if you have to record that down.
- If the pharmacist has any questions (or the drug isn’t covered) be prepared to write down what /is/ covered and give the pharmacist a call right back. We don’t expect you to give us an answer right away, and honestly we’d rather get a call/fax back than sit on your shitty hold music while you waddle your ass down the hall and ask the doctor in slow motion.
Following this guide will provide many happy memories with dealing with hard-working and stressed out Pharmacists.
The Angry Pharmacist