In the ‘60s I had a boss who was more of a mentor than a boss. He was a physician in charge of a group of four or five health professionals who were creating all of the rules for California’s Medicaid program. We had a lot of fascinating and difficult things to work on.
Yesterday was my 80th birthday. Several times I said, “Thank you for the first 80 years — they have been great. I am looking forward to the next 80. There is still much to do.” However, this is also a time to look back on what has gone on since 1936. What follows are a few of the things that have impressed me.
The difficulty arises when we make measurable things important rather than make important things measurable. What a pharmacy benefits manager’s (PBM’s) drug trend report reveals is interesting, but what it conceals is essential.
Fifty years ago (1966) Medicaid started to exist. I was the staff person in charge of all the Medi-Cal drug program’s policies.There are many fascinating stories to tell.
I have been writing these columns every two months for 31 years. This adds up to more than 180 columns. That’s lots of advice and opinions. Upon thinking back about what I like to write about, there are some recurring themes.
These are a couple of things that I wrote about a few years ago. Please let me know if you have tried them (or will). Both are applicable to independent pharmacies. But only because the chains aren’t smart enough to do them. Both are easy. And both will tell you a lot about your pharmacy’s faults and features.
I received a nice note from one of ComputerTalk’s readers regarding my comments about how face-to-face conversations are so important to patient care. They are what generate the positive emotional responses that are so important. Some thoughts about what has happened and how things look now.
My first “George’s Corner” was published in the July 1984 edition of ComputerTalk for the Pharmacist. That was more than 31 years ago (31 years, six issues per year, equals 186 columns — wow).
Blink and everything changes. I can only add to that: Blink twice and it has probably passed you by. I am writing this on June 28. It has been an eventful week. Several times in this last week everything changed in the blink of an eye.
This column has two parts. The first is about the changing changes that are changing what we do, how we do it, and who we do it for/to. The second is about how people make decisions. You and me and everybody that we try to get to make the “right” decisions.
A new year is upon us. Soon we all will be getting meeting notices: conventions, alumni reunions, CE meetings, etc. I have been to an awful lot of these gatherings and the different roles I've taken have given me different perspectives.
This issue is all about what people think will happen next year. So I got out my crystal (xstal) ball and examined it carefully.
Big blur — foggy ball — too many unpredictable influences.
In the last issue I said that in the future there would be more health/medical electronic gadgets. My computer told me about these — and I can’t resist adding some comments.
It seems that every day I see an announcement of a new gadget (sometimes several). The big change in the last few months is the prevalence of new health-related gadgets. Apple, Google, Motorola, and a lot of smaller names are talking about gadgets and software that have the potential to totally upset (or revolutionize) healthcare.
A couple of weeks ago I shared with pharmacy students my views and experiences with drug economics. Putting the presentation together caused me to gather and review my thoughts after many years of working with the issues.
Every now and then it is a good idea to stop and think about where we were and where we are. Thinking about how we got from there to here is worth pondering, if only to get a better understanding of ourselves and our surroundings. I hope the following reflections stir some memories of yours that need revisiting.
Making sure work flows instead of stumbles can make huge differences in your day. Every pharmacy needs workflow analysis on at least an annual basis. There are some easy things you can do if you take a few minutes to do them.
For too long pharmacists have been taking care of pills instead of patients. It looks like things are starting to change. The future is finally starting to happen.
My definition of fraud: when someone does something so that they will get more (usually money) than they are supposed to get.
The editors of ComputerTalk asked me to take a look at track and trace. I said OK, partly because the California State Board of Pharmacy’s e-pedigree committee had scheduled a meeting about it, and that would give me a chance to see some old friends and maybe even offer an observation or two.
Buying decisions are decisions about the future. Huge changes are about to occur in healthcare delivery and the systems that will be supporting it. Understand as much as you can about what is coming and know that any decisions that you make need to be compatible with that future and your role in that future.
Recently, I came across a couple of books that are very interesting and well written. One is about the people who “invented” computers. The other is about the people who “created” Obamacare. Both examine how things get done and how people interact in the process.
This column and some of my previous ones are going to appear in that book. It’s going to be filled with stories that my wife is tired of hearing but I never tire of telling.
One of my idols is Andy Rooney. He was a bit of a curmudgeon who looked at common things from a different and always interesting perspective. I hope that what I write will have some of that character.