Fourth-year student Aubrey Jones and Kaiser Permanente (KP) preceptor Roberta Shanahan were highlighted in the August 1, 2016 edition of the Douglas Digest, a national communication of KP pharmacy staff and created for Kaiser Permanente Outpatient Services Vice President Joe Douglas. Read the article here. Issue 28 l August 1, 2016
Feedback from a member puts real-world concerns in focus
Listening and acting on complaints is important because "rescue of service" is critical to member satisfaction. Members don't expect us to be perfect, but they do expect us to be responsive.
But, just as we can learn from complaints, we can also learn by hearing from members who are pleased with our service. A recent email sent to kp.org by a member in Colorado shows the power of listening and reminds us of the everyday challenges people face in managing their medications.
The member wrote hat she had come up with a routing for storing her three glaucoma medications. The labels said they should be kept between 59 and 77 degrees. "My house gets to over 90 degrees upstairs where I kept the three bottles beside my bed to take at night an din the morning," she wrote. "I don't turn on my air conditioning until 4:00 in the afternoon and turn it off at 8:00 to save money. I suddenly realized that maybe the high temperatures this summer have made my eye drops ineffective."
The member stated putting the medications in her refrigerator when she got up in the morning, but still had concerns about their effectiveness. She shared those concerns with Clinical Pharmacist (and CU preceptor) Roberta Shanahan at the ambulatory care clinic at KP's medical office building in Longmont. Roberta and a student pharmacist, Aubrey Jones, talked the member through her medication routine. Aubrey called the manufacturers and confirmed that, while it is OK to put the opened latanoprost in the refrigerator, at least two bottles of the other medications could no longer be considered effective.
Roberta made sure that the member got these bottles replaced without charge and she and Aubrey helped the member come up with a solution for her medication storage challenge: an insulated bag she could use to keep the medications at her bedside. "I really felt they listened to me," the member wrote. "They grasped the situations, resolved my fears that my current medicine was ineffective and proved they had a passion for my health care."
I like this story because it highlights so many of the factors we have to remember in serving our members. First, many members are on very tight budgets. They lower their air conditioning to save money, and to them the possibility of ruined medication is a deep financial hit. Second, we can never assume that just because we have provided a medication to a member our job is done. For members to get the most benefit from their medication, we have to understand their lifestyles and anticipate the challenges they may have, especially if they are on multiple medications.
Third, and most important, what members want most is to know that we are listening to them and that we have -- to use this member's perfect phrase -- "a passion for" their health care. Roberta and Aubrey expressed that passion in a small but vital way that made a big impact on a member's experience. This king of "last touch" is provided by Pharmacy thousands of times a day, and each one is an opportunity to show how great KP can be in delivering total health -- and satisfaction -- to all our members and patients.
Vice President, Outpatient Services, National Pharmacy