Saving paper…

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.



About Mr. T

Well, I'm interested in math. Teaching it, learning it, describing it, living it. Creating it. Most importantly (to me) is helping others appreciate it as much as I do.
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2 Responses to Saving paper…

  1. I have a queston about printing the prescription information for customers at retail. Is it required by law even if the customer continues to get the same drug over and over and does not want the print out? I would think we would save massive amounts of paper if we just turned that feauture off or had a choice in the system to not print if the customer does not want the document. Thank you.

    • Mr. T says:

      I’m honestly not sure. I’m pretty sure the printout has to go to the customer. What they do with it is up to them, but I’m almost positive that we have to give it to them.
      But I’d look/ask elsewhere too
      1 – I’m a math teacher by profession, I just work part-time as a technician at the pharmacy
      2 – I am not sure if it is a law or a company policy
      and 3 – State boards of pharmacy make the laws that the DEA doesn’t oversee (I think) so it may depend on your geographic location.

      I agree, it could be a HUGE savings opportunity, but I simply don’t know the answer.

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