Could Metrics be part of a distraction?

You know when you watch a magician, you know that they are diverting your attention from what really is going on.

While all these companies that we work for our profit motivated, I just wonder how much of the understaffing and the obsession with metrics is partially a diversion.

As I temp in various practice settings, I notice things that corporations are doing that are neither on the kosher scale nor in my opinion fall within the bounds of legalities.

Sometimes these things are buried deep into the records of the prescription order other times it involves issues that the staff may not be aware of the fact that they’re breaking laws.

Of course I’m sure the corporations will defend themselves by ignorance is no excuse on the part of the staff, and attempt to shift all of the liabilities to the staff.

If you find any typographical or misspelled in this posting. I am using the new Dragon dictation software and we’re in the learning mode. But so far so good.  The software seems be doing what they advertise… I just have to become as smart as it is

6 Responses

  1. Oh, and I forgot to mention: if I were in an uscrupulous corporate suit, I would find it rather convenient that my pharmacists were too busy chasing metrics to be documenting potential infractions and emailing legal and HR departments, etc. Im just sayin’ …

  2. In my chain, every prescription is displayed on my workstation with a time assigned to it and the potential to turn that dreaded color, orange if not completed on schedule. For me, the software that runs the workflow is the mental equivalent of having a drill sergeant following me around with a stopwatch in his hand and a whistle around his neck. He is constantly shouting, blows that whistle every time a prescription is past due. He won’t lay off with the whistle until the overdue Rx is verified and resting cozily on the shelf ready for pick up (whether it actually does get picked up is another story).
    How could this *not* be distracting? Not only could this pull one’s attention away from, OK, perhaps a bigger picture of conspiracies concocted by corporate suits above (who knows?), but also simply from every day patient care. Hence my chosen handle, “Timed and Dangerous.”
    No, I won’t intentionally break my oath or become negligent in order to make all the promise time/wait time metrics. But this inherent conflict is burning thru a a lot of mental and emotional energy that could be better spent elsewhere.

  3. […] I recently made a post about metric being a potential diversion  http://www.pharmaciststeve.com/?p=2735 […]

  4. It seems so strange to me that a company that has pharmacies that are doing fine, making lots of money, few customer complaints, and no significant errors,- will start neddling…nit picking…consuming pharmacist and tech times…over things that are just plain crap. It would seem logical that if it ain’t broke, don’t fix it. In other words, if you have a good pharmacy, as I described, then why are they trying to ‘fix’ them? I know that I can answer my own question, because nutty ideas just naturally flow from these corporate home offices. Trying to track down the origin of them is futile, because I have tried a number of times and never succeeded. Trying to get those nutty ideas killed, is another futile effort. Once the home offices in these corporations come up with a nutty idea there is no way to get it killed. I don’t understand their infatuation with metrics and numbers. But, for some strange reason, they are fascinated by it. It must be those MBA masters of the universe that Jim Plagakis talks about. Those folks have taken classes and those classes dealt with numbers and numbers seem to be the only thing they understand. For all my 40 something years in pharmacy, I have never regarded numbers as being something high on my list of important things. First, numbers do not give a full picture. The picture they give is very incomplete. There is one pharmacy in may area with very high numbers on this metric stuff. We all know that it is impossible to have those numbers that high. So, that only leaves one conclusion, the pharmacy manager has figured out a way, and there are ways, to juggle those numbers. At the store where I work, we don’t try to juggle the numbers because it takes extra time to do it. One time I remember a DM calling a couple of good pharmacists to his office because the pharmacy manager at the store was filling a lot more prescriptions than they were and he wanted to know what was wrong with them. Truth was…the pharmacy manager was not counseling the patients. So, again, numbers can be deceptive. What about Enron? Remember that company and about all those good numbers they had. Yes, really good, right before their collapse.
    I wish we could get a lawsuit going that stipulated that metrics were distractions and causing rx errors. Hmmm..that would be a good one. Any way that we can kill these metrics…I am all for it. I hate metrics with a passion.

  5. For those of us living under the daily threat of metrics it is not a diversion or a distraction. It is the death by a thousand cuts that is our daily fate on the production line.

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