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Pharmacy initiatives enhance patient care

  • Published
  • By Staff Sgt. Chelsea Browning
  • 59th Medical Wing
Patient-centered process improvements are reducing wait times at 59th Medical Wing pharmacies across Joint Base San Antonio.

“Multiple process improvements, implemented simultaneously, have decreased processing times by 48 percent over the past two months, according to 59th MDW pharmacy officials at the Wilford Hall Ambulatory Surgical Center, here.

Our main pharmacy at Wilford Hall currently has an average prescription processing time of 15 minutes,” said Lt. Col. Rodney Jorstad, pharmacy flight commander.

Among the improvements is a program that embeds pharmacy technicians into clinics that issue the most prescriptions, including family health, internal medicine and pediatrics. The embedded technicians review prescriptions with the patient to talk about instructions and warnings, and verify that everything is correct before sending the prescription electronically to the pharmacy.

Patients don’t have to check in at the pharmacy, they only need to look for their name on the monitor indicating their prescription is ready.

“Having pharmacy technicians embedded in the clinics helps everybody. It’s convenient for the patient and, because technicians can clarify any issues with the provider right away, it reduces the risk of error,” Jorstad said.

Patients are also given an estimated wait time so they can make the best use of their time instead of sitting in a lobby.

“My wait time was a lot less (today). Usually it takes an hour, but I had enough time to fill my prescriptions and eat lunch,” said Wilford Hall patient Alisa Phoenix.

In addition to embedding pharmacy technicians into the high-volume clinics, improvement in prescription delivery times are attributable to a streamlining of the automated prescription processing system and a reorganization of inventory to increase workflow efficiency.

“The pharmacy is monitoring the programs and other clinics are being evaluated to see if embedding technicians would improve the patient experience while maintaining an effective use of our manpower,” Jorstad said.

“The wing will keep seeking ways to leverage its resources to provide the ultimate patient experience,” he added.