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feature Unified Communications

Times Are A-changing: From the Phone to UC In an age where technology seems to grow at exponential rates, the telephone should        

by Bill Hayes It was the best of times, it was the worst of times, it was the age of wisdom, it was the age of foolishness, it was the epoch of belief, it was the epoch of incredulity, it was the season of Light, it was the season of Darkness, it was the spring of hope, it was the winter of despair, we had everything before us, we had nothing before us, we were all going direct to Heaven, we were all going direct the other way — in short, the period was so far like the present period, that some of its noisiest authorities insisted on its being received, for good or for evil, in the superlative degree of comparison only. – Charles Dickens, A Tale of Two Cities hat quote from Dickens sounds just like today, right? Here we are as pharmacists, pharmacy owners, techs, and clerks, living in an age where technology and the sciences have given us the tools to serve our patients/customers at unprecedented levels of service and care. Then, there are the PBMs‌. Okay, we’ll stick to the best of times.


We certainly have a myriad of tools at our disposal when it comes to providing care to our communities. The role of community pharmacists extends beyond the provision of prescription and nonprescription medication at their retail pharmacies. Many pharmacists offer additional clinical and educational services such as blood pressure 18


checks, screening for high cholesterol and osteoporosis, glucose screening and diabetes counseling, tobacco cessation programs, and immunizations. As you scan this list, I can hear you saying, “We do that and a whole lot more.� The problem is, do your customers know that you do it, or do you just assume that they know? Let’s for a minute take a step back and evaluate our assumptions. How often are your customers availing themselves of screenings, education, and other services that you provide? How often are you asked to take blood pressure or provide diabetic counseling? In many cases, these services are underutilized, and the reason is that people just don’t know that you do them. Can we change this? For a start, let’s consider how we communicate with our customers. Face-to-face. On the phone. Print media. Email. These are just some of the ways we try. How many of you advertise in the Yellow Pages? When was the last time you used a phone book? I think that we should all sit down and consider how we talk to our customers. If you are still using the Yellow Pages, follow along. It’s imperative that you sit down and develop a plan.

Then: The Phone in the Pharmacy In most pharmacies, the telephone is the primary com-