The envy of Washington.
The envy of IT departments.
But occassionly, the scourge of doctors and patients.
No paper trail. No proof. Just lost electrons when a prescription fails to go through.
When it works, it's great: a script flies at the speed of light (literally) to a local pharmacy near you. One set up to receive the little electrons and it pops up on Mr. Pharmacist's work cue. Presto!
But when it fails, doctors become the impotent bad guys:
"Hey doc, you never sent my script."
"Uh, yes, Mr. Jones, I did. I sent it to YourLocalPharmacy in YourTown yesterday. I even have the order number."
"Doc, I was at YourLocalPharmacy and he said you never sent it. He didn't have any scripts with my name. Nothing. Nada. You sure you sent it off?"
"Yes, Mr. Jones, I'm looking at the order right now. I never received an e-mail that it failed to deliver, like it's supposed to if that happens, but I'll call the Pharmacist at YourLocalPharmacy in YourTown and find out what's up."
* brrriinnnnggggg bbbbrrrriinngggg *
* Click *
"Hello. Welcome to YourLocalPharmacy where you can get all your meds at a moments notice! If you're a calling about a new prescription, press 1. If you're a doctor or a doctor's office calling, press 2..."
"Just a moment please..." ("Tie a yellow ribbon 'round the old oak tree" plays in the background...)
"This is Sally the pharmacy assistant, may I help you?"
"Yes Sally, this is Doctor Fisher and I'm inquiring about a prescription on Mr. SomeDude that I wrote as an e-prescription yesterday for 10 mg tablets of Wonderdrug, and he says you never received it..."
"Just a moment, doctor..."
(... it's been two long years, will you still want me...)
"This is Joe the Pharmacist..."
"Yes, Joe, this is Doctor Fisher and I'm calling about my prescription on Mr. SomeDude that I sent yesterday as an e-prescription for 10 mg tablets of Wonderdrug and he was told you never received it..."
"What was the last name?"
(...stay on the bus, forget about us, put the blame on meeeee...)
"I'm sorry, we don't have anything for a Mr. SomeDude here at our pharmacy..."
"Would you like the order confirmation number that I have on my handy dandy EMR screen that says it was sent to you yesterday about 12:45 PM - yep, sent to YourLocalPharmacy in YourTown on 3 April."
"We don't use order numbers here... Wait, let me check one other place. One second..."
"Now the whole damn bus is cheering, and I can't believe I seeeee, a hundred yellow ribbons round the ole oak tree..."
"Hello, Dr. Fisher?"
"We don't have any scripts here for Mr. SomeDude. I checked both our systems and don't see anything for him here.... Maybe our staff hit a delete key or something. Sometimes that happens you know. I just don't see it... What did you want to give him again? I'll just take the verbal and have it ready for him..."
"Its for sixty 10-milligram pills of WonderDrug with two refills. The sig is one to two tablets every six hours as needed for what he really needs it for."
"Okay, I'll have it ready for him..."
I sat and looked at the order verification screen before me. Wonderdrug. 10mg tablets. YourLocalPharmacy in YourTown. E-Script. Order confirmation number. All correct. Seemingly sent.
And yet, nothing. Vapor. Into the electronic ether. I felt like the the young apprentice sitting before the zen master:
Apprentice: "Master, if a tree falls in the forest and no one hears it, does it make a sound?"-Wes
Zen Master: "No, Grasshopper... but the squirrel it lands on does."