Civility

Broken Arrow Family Drug blog

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  • 10 June 2010
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    Civility

    In our practice, we send refill requests to doctors’ offices on a continual basis. Many of you in the civilian world may believe that the pharmacy just picks up the phone and calls the office, a nurse (or the doctor himself!) answers and gives the approval, and the pharmacy fills the prescription.

    Trust me when I say, it doesn’t happen that way.

    Most offices require that we fax refill requests. These requests are generally sent through an automated computer program – we type in your prescription number, and if it requires a doctor’s approval, we ‘click’ a button in the software to send a fax to the office. We don’t print it and manually send it through the fax machine. It’s a completely automated process.

    For some reason, the automated process failed today for one doctor’s office. Our system kept sending refill requests to the office, and the doctor’s fax machine was not acknowledging that it had received the request. As a result, our system sent the same fax to this particular office 10 times.

    In a civilized world, the staff’s response to receiving 10 faxes would be to pick up the phone and call our pharmacy to let us know that this is happening. Unfortunately, the records clerk at this office must’ve been having a bad day. She wrote and signed a note on the first fax, stating that they had received the fax 10 times, and she proceeded to fax ALL 10 faxes back to our store.

    Why would a person NOT simply pick up the phone and call? Why would a person NOT write a note and fax only the note?

    I think the root cause is a lack of civility. In our tech world today, I’ve seen an almost shocking lack of simple respect and courtesy. People sitting at a dinner table texting other people instead of engaging in conversation with the ones who are there. Anonymous snark posted on forum discussions. Phone conversations while attempting to conduct some sort of business transaction at a register.

    Our younger generations are learning not to communicate directly with one another, but to hide behind a technological ‘shield’. Our forebearers sold this shield to us as an improvement to our lives – something that will make us more efficient. Instead, it has pushed us into an evermore impervious bubble, through which we can’t see or hear the actual person on the other side.

    As a result, we see the future generations struggle to have civil communication with others. The world of having lemonade and a hearty belly laugh on the front porch has changed to LOL, OMG, ROFLMAO over the cell phone. Boyfriends and girlfriends break up via text message. Frustrations lead to strongly-worded emails, instead of civil conversations on how to best work out the situation.

    I called the young lady at the doctor’s office about the 10 faxes. I first spoke with her supervisor, and found out that THEY had been having problems with their electronic prescription system this morning. I then spoke with the clerk, and I apologized to her for the multiple faxes (even though the cause was completely out of my control, and unknown to me). I then explained that sending a single note on a single fax would have been enough, or perhaps she should have simply picked up the phone and called. I expressed that SHE may have felt better by sending all 10 faxes back, but that in her petty response, she was simply hiding behind the fax machine and not actually solving the problem.

    I think she was startled by the fact that someone actually CALLED her. The poor girl couldn’t bring herself to admit she had done anything wrong. She wouldn’t even admit that she sent back all 10 faxes (although they were all time and date stamped). Eventually, though, I got one of those sing-song “Sorry!” responses from her. You could almost hear the LOL in her voice.

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