The Internet and Email: Useful Tools or Time Bandits?

by Scott A. Meyers, Executive Vice President
February 9, 2010

I use the internet and email every day. I have both on my cell phone because no matter where I am, I want to stay connected. Thank goodness for the internet and all the wonderful websites that provide me with most of the information I need to succeed daily! However, as many of you are probably aware, the internet and email can eat up time like nothing I know!

I receive nearly 100 emails a day – not counting Viagra® ads, solicitations to launder millions of dollars in Nigerian wealth, promotions for coding classes and leadership training courses, and of course all the announcements from unknown people who follow me on Twitter! Some of the emails are from Convention and Visitors Bureaus from around the country asking me to bring an ICHP meeting to their area. One of these days we just might put somethingtogether for our members somewhere fun, warm and sunny instead of plain old Illinois! Other messages come from the countless pharmacy news updates for which I have registered. I now wonder if signing up for all of these updates was such a good idea. Push News as it is often called can be helpful, but it can also overwhelm you if you do not manage your subscriptions appropriately.

Other email comes from ASHP, our “Mothership” so to speak, and some of this information is extremely useful while other information can be scanned and deleted. ASHP has one of the better daily Pharmacy News Updates (ASHP Daily Briefing), but even that can get overwhelming when you do not stay on top of it. I receive a lot of chatter concerning ASHP’s State affiliates and often create just as much!

Some of the good stuff I receive and the primary purpose for this column are the emails I receive from our members. Some ask for clarifications of the Pharmacy Practice Act or Rules. Some emails ask for contact information for someone I know who has implemented a specific technology or automation product. Often the emails are from dedicated volunteers who are working on projects from ICHP and need some information, numbers or contact information. Regardless of the request, I do my best to provide what they need.

On the other hand, I often get information requests from non-members. This is an opportunity for me to sell ICHP, and I always do. The problem is that once the initial question is answered and the ICHP sales pitch is thrown, the non-member has a choice – become a member and always get a response or continue as a non-member and probably never receive another answer to his/her next question. I serve the ICHP membership, and if a nonmember comes to me for the first time, I show them what they could receive for being members. However, if they drop the ball and fail to join, they are placed on the personanon-grata list until that time when I check our database once more and happily realize they have seen the light and joined the Council.

It’s not my talent or vast knowledge that makes ICHP membership so valuable because most of you know that without technology you would hear me say, “Pay no attention to that man behind the curtain!” It is the fact that part of my job is to be available and know where to find answers to your questions as quickly and efficiently as possible. I’m sure there are many out there that could answer quicker, better and with more detail, and I’m pleased that I’m the one selected to be here. However, I know that being a resource to our members is a huge reason why I’m here, and I enjoy it very much! I want you all to know that with email and the internet, I can spend my time fruitfully for you.

I catch myself watching the email for quick responses, and I’m often frustrated when others do not respond to me as quickly as I would like. However, I also know that without the internet and email, I couldn’t accomplish half of what I do – managing the “time bandit” factor is something I have learned to deal with.

I look forward to your emails and the opportunity to use the internet to find some answers. I hope each of you will look to me and the entire ICHP staff when you have issues that require our assistance. Let us use technology and our contacts to get you answers while helping you manage your time bandits!

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