System Inefficiencies

I’m going to try to hit on a couple of topics, mostly dealing with system inefficiencies. (I think I understand some system inefficiencies…I worked as a Systems Analyst for the US Federal Courts…let’s just say they are ripe with them.) These were all exposed during a visit to my local pharmacy.

Here is a suggestion to streamline my interaction with you:

First, you are a huge nation wide chain, with interconnected systems, to allow transfer of valuable data between locations. This is awesome. No matter where I am in the country, if I need a refill of a prescription, by answering a few questions I can get that needed chemical for whatever ails me. But your work with my personal information is…well…dismal. I myself have not had to have a prescription filled in quite sometime. But I am a father of 6. I need lots of drugs for sick kids, and their mother. Pregnancy has never treated her well. It has, in half of the cases, been a violent, near death experience for mother and/or child.

In the last three years we have moved 3 times (across the country, across town and across the valley). There have also been three job changes, and three insurance changes.

My insurance company knows I have dependents and knows their relationship to me and it would be valuable if you did too. If you did, I wouldn’t have to expend valuable time each time I go to you for you to update insurance and address information. If I come in and tell you I have an insurance change, instead of changing it for just the individual I am filling a prescription for, ask me if this change needs to be applied across all the dependents (and myself) in the system. It is a simple enough database transaction across the records. It would be easy enough to even allow for the use case, where I need you to exclude changes to specific individuals. But over all, you get to cut down on the 20+ minutes I wait while you update an individuals records.

Ugh, this irks me. I am the owner of this information. I am an authority on this information, use my knowledge and my proximity to you at this point in time to update your records and improve the overall customer experience. I am willing  to spend the time with you to do this once so I won’t have to do with each visit I make.

The insurance company

Now I am grateful to have insurance, and while the insurance I have now is not nearly as good as what I have had in the past, I am more grateful to have than to have not. However….I trust you, insurance company, magnitudes less than I trust my physician (especially my children’s pediatrician). I understand that you are trying to save me money, by saving you money. But, if my Physician, who I know and interact with, prescribes medication for my son to help him stay out of the hospital, saving you (and me) money, don’t second guess his recommendation and tell me I have to get a different prescription because you think that I should have one drug before I can have another.

You are a nameless, faceless machine. I have no trust relationship with you. You have in interest in my well being that keeps you in the black. But your primary interest is in your bottom line. You provide a valuable service. Thank you. But my physician is someone I have built a relationship of trust with.  He take the time to help ensure my health and well being. When I see him outside of the office, he takes time to say hello and ask about me and my families well being. He has earned my trust so that I still drive through two different cities to see him.

You are a phone number, a card, a PO Box, a deduction on my paycheck, and a different voice each time I call for information or try to dispute your denial of my care. Please learn to trust my physician and maybe I will learn to trust you.