Sunday, January 29, 2012

School vs. life vs. momming

In case you wondered, by virtue of a college degree in English with a side of art school and poetry, I reserve the right to verb things (is making "verb" into a verb such a verbing? oh yes.) at will, and I think that the act of mothering ought to get another verb, momming.  More about momming next week. My blog goal is a post a week.

Anyway, right now, school is winning. I got a job offer in January (oh, it's still January. pretend I didn't mention January like it was a million years ago) and we're broke (see: professional school, long commute, kid in childcare full time, being sick with lousy insurance) so I took it.  So far I've worked 3 days a week and it's been a lot.  But honestly it's been great to be out of the house and away from this computer, and it's great to see that I like working in a pharmacy and all this school isn't a waste of money (again. oops English degree).

But I haven't really spent any significant time with my family all week what with church commitments (that are nearly over, thanks be to G-d) and work and other life commitments, plus the studying. I'm now taking a break from studying because I'm going to go nuts trying to memorize all of these antibiotics. At least I understood the cases for this week's presentations (eeeeep presentations of patient cases).

Tonight I took a break from the studying to watch the kid rolling up crescent dogs and putting on the cheese with the spouse, and it was great, and sad.  My baby grew up! eeeep! When did that happen?  So much skill with fine motor things!  And the cute sneaking pieces of cheese when there was nobody looking!  I feel like I've been gone for years.

Also the kid keeps telling me about foods that are healthy, and asking about every single thing, "Is this healthy, Mommy?"  sigh. I just have a super case of baby envy.  My pharmacy class is having a pile of babies this year, maybe 8 or 9 among the 75ish of us, most in May and June so they'll be tiny during our labs this summer (BABIES! YAY! and sad because we aren't having any baby, probably any time soon if ever. maybe eventually blogging about that).

As much as I know this is all for the best in the long run, right now it hurts that I'm missing so much of her life so I can be in school.  Guts versus brains, brains winning but guts still aching.

Friday, January 6, 2012

Privacy in divorce?

This is an interesting story about privacy at the pharmacy, and how easily we give out protected information.

Walgreens Lets Ex Husband Change Account Info, View Prescription History

I think that the first thing to learn from this situation is that if you grant someone the right to view your health information, you need to revoke it, and you need to do that right away.  It sounds as though the woman in this article found out her ex had access to her information after he changed it, so that first part is on her head.

The second thing to learn is that pharmacies need to train both clerks and technicians better about how to use the computers.  Clerks generally are limited to information handling only and sometimes have restricted computer database privileges.  State laws generally draw a line between pharmacy technicians (who are licensed and trained in some basic drug information, and have continuing education requirements) and other pharmacy staff (in my state called clerks).  Some pharmacies choose not to have a clerk at all and instead have technicians who also handle the cash register when needed, like the one I work in now.  Larger chains like Walgreens are often trying to pinch every penny and because a clerk doesn't have to know much more than how to search a database and run a cash register, they can be paid less than a technician, plus can cover the front of store register sometimes as well.  This makes for a gap in patient safety.

I'm honestly surprised it was possible for this to happen.  The pharmacies I have visited were adamant that they have a signature on file before giving anyone but the person in question a copy of a prescription
 history.  Since it's tax time, many people have been in to the pharmacy where I work asking for just such a thing.  Without the actual person involved present, no records will be printed.  We record the drivers' license or social security number of whoever picks up the information.  There's a paper form you could take home and forge, yes, but forging things is illegal and therefore it isn't the pharmacy's fault anymore.  Here, if I have my guess, Alice gave her husband permission to pick up her information for taxes once and it was hard to remove that, and even once removed from her record, it was hard to find that it was gone.

One significant problem I've noticed is that most pharmacy software doesn't have a pop-up notes feature.  If you could put up a note that popped up and had to be clicked to close and access the rest of the record, it would ensure that changes like this were noticed by everyone.  Right now most software has a notes field but it often isn't very visible and new staff or hurried staff might easily miss it.  While it might slow things down to have one of those pop-ups on a record, it's probably worth it.  Large pharmacies might have 20 people working in them at any given moment and well more than that within a week, so it would be difficult to tell every single person that some significant piece of information about one patient changed, and even moreso for everyone to remember it for any length of time.  Remember, smart computer design can help, but really everyone needs to be responsible for their health information.