Recurring Dream

November 8, 2016By Focus on the Pharmacy Front End Blog, Independent Pharmacy

by Dave Wendland

It always begins the same way. I’m at the threshold of a retail store. The filtered sunlight passes through the double-glass entry doors casting a larger-than-life silhouette of my body on the wood-grained floor. A sing-songy voice greets me with a cheery hello as a feeling of comfort overtakes my emotions.

An individual then appears in the sunlight saying, “Let’s tackle this together.” Somehow the associate was already aware of the circumstances of my visit. Having just been discharged from the hospital following rotator cuff surgery, the associate carefully lifted the shopping basket and said, “I’ve got this. Are you ready?”

Our first stop was the pharmacy counter where Sid immediately recognized me and commented on how pleased he was to hear the surgery went well. He then handed me a prepared checklist of essential steps during my at-home recovery, warnings to be aware of, and a complete roster of the store’s key personnel and other coordinated care “partners” who would be resources during my recovery. He assured me as he described the prescription which was prepared and ready for me, that he would be leading the care team and serve as my primary point of assigned concierge

Josie, as I came to learn, was my assigned concierge and she would be guiding me through the aisles of the front-of-the store not only to help me select the things I’ll need immediately, but also show me where other items were located that may aid in my recuperation. Her iPad glowed as we entered each aisle alerting her to the products to describe and checking the boxes of those that were placed into the basket. The system was automatically calculating my out-of-pocket expenses, tagging those items that are FSA eligible, and offering alternatives or add-ons where appropriate.

Next, Josie led me to a consultation area where Peter immediately extended his left hand to offer a handshake, already aware of how the surgery prevents my range of motion for my typical right-handed greeting. Josie sits alongside me as Peter describes nutrition and eating guidelines, emphasizing the need to carefully track my weight, blood pressure, caloric intake, exercise schedule, and daily hydration using a customized App that we download to my smartphone.

The entire process lasted 20 minutes from the moment Josie met me at the door to my next step where Elsa was confirming that I wanted the entire purchase amount for my items placed onto my credit card on file. Twenty minutes!

As I quickly scanned the store, I saw two other concierges working with other customers – guiding their purchase path on that day.

Was this a dream? Or is it simply foreshadowing of what is just around the corner? I sincerely believe that healthcare processes are rapidly evolving and we will soon encounter such dream-like visits as these to our local community pharmacy.