So I figured out tonight why so many people are in debt. They save money like the state government saves paper! When I’m not teaching, I work in a pharmacy. The board of pharmacy’s policy was that pharmacies had to hold hard copy prescriptions for 7 years. Now that a lot of medical records are going electronic, we should save paper right? It’s good for the environment. Well, we still have to print out a hard copy of the prescription. And! For those of you who have been lucky enough not to have needed to visit your local drug-dealer, traditionally prescription pads given to doctors’ offices were about 1/4 of a letter-size sheet of paper. OK, so when we print out the e-scripts, they take up a whole page. I’m not saying EVERY prescription takes up 4 times as much space, but I’ll say about 1-in-4 are either e-scripted, faxed, or printed on a whole sheet of paper instead of written on a prescription pad. And, because of the litigious nature of the country in which we live (I think – I haven’t heard an official reason for this new law, but I am going to blame it on peoples’ willingness to sue, using older and older medical records) we now have to keep prescriptions for 10 years. OK – so here’s the math part. Say our pharmacy fills 3000 prescriptions per week and, of those, 30% are new prescriptions (requiring a new paper from the doctor), and 25% are on whole sheets of paper instead of the old prescription pads, and there are about 100 layers of paper per half inch…ignoring the dimensions of the box in which we store the hard copies and the folders in which we file them, how much MORE space do we need to save the extra 3 years’ worth of scripts?
PS – Rx for prescriptions is NOT the same Rx that I spoke of in a previous post. How radical.