Trixy Buttcane, 673d Medical Support Squadron contract certified pharmacy technician, assists a patient navigating the new pharmacy kiosk system at the hospital on Joint Base Elmendorf-Richardson, Alaska, Jan. 19, 2015. For the first three months, technical assistants helped patients learn the new system to effectively transition the populace to the change. (U.S. Air Force photo by Airman 1st Class Christopher R. Morales)
Patients remain in the extended pharmacy waiting area during the busiest time of day, lunch time, at the hospital on Joint Base Elmendorf-Richardson, Alaska, Jan. 19, 2015. The seating area doubled since the redesign so patients have more room to sit. (U.S. Air Force photo by Airman 1st Class Christopher R. Morales)
A patient pulls her ticket from the new pharmacy kiosk at the hospital on Joint Base Elmendorf-Richardson, Alaska, Dec. 23, 2015. Patients have the option to wait at the pharmacy to pick up their prescription or leave and re-enter the queue within seven days. (U.S. Air Force photo by Airman 1st Class Christopher R. Morales)
A patient walks into a prescription pickup cubicle at the hospital on Joint Base Elmendorf-Richardson, Alaska, Dec. 23, 2015. The first three pharmacy windows give patients their completed prescriptions while the fourth and fifth house work stations are for filling out and verifying prescription orders. The sixth window is scheduled to be used as an over-the-counter clinic within the next few months. (U.S. Air Force photo by Airman 1st Class Christopher R. Morales)
Jessica Holder, 673d Medical Support Squadron contract certified pharmacy technician, answers emails, phone calls, and questions at the new pharmacy window at the hospital on Joint Base Elmendorf-Richardson, Alaska, Dec. 23, 2015. The new pharmacy windows provide more privacy between customers, and the waiting area window panels illustrate each animal-inspired entrance of the hospital. (U.S. Air Force photo by Airman 1st Class Christopher R. Morales)
JOINT BASE ELMENDORF-RICHARDSON, Alaska —
The new Joint Base Elmendorf-Richardson hospital outpatient pharmacy redesign finished in November. The pharmacy now offers double the waiting space, six windows, two kiosks, and a new kiosk system.
The biggest change is the kiosk system, which now gives patients the option to leave and re-enter the queue. Patients only need to go to the counter once, instead of twice.
"We've seen a lot of positive comments," said Air Force Master Sgt. Michelle Frisby, 673d Medical Support Squadron pharmacy flight chief.
Positive Interactive Customer Evaluation comments concerning the new process remark on the efficiency of the reception system, the speed of service, and the reduction of trips to the service window.
The only setback to this faster and more efficient system is the time it will take for the populace to adjust.
"Some people may say something like 'that's a lot of questions,'" Frisby said. "The reason there are a lot of questions is because it replaces the whole check-in process; we have to get the same amount of information from the patient to process [for] them safely and effectively."
Before the redesign, patients just took a ticket from the kiosk, wait to be called, provide information at the window, and then wait to pick up their prescription.
"Now, they go to the kiosk and are asked a set of questions, scan [their] I.D. cards, [answer] more personal questions - the questions we used to ask at the windows - and as soon as they hit that 'submit' button, we start filling the prescription," said Air Force Maj. Amanda Rust, 673d Medical Support Squadron outpatient pharmacy chief. " they submit all their information at the kiosk they can leave and go the commissary, pick up their child from school or go to the radiology clinic, and come back within seven days to pick up their prescription."
If patients leave and come back in the same day, they use the same ticket to re-enter the queue.
"If they come back [later that day] and everything is finished, they go straight to the top of the queue," Rust said. "If they come back a different day or lose their ticket, they go into a different queue, but everything should be ready by then."
The kiosk system asks for a phone number so the pharmacy can call patients if there are any complications and later text patients the status of their prescription.
The new system reduces wait time for both the patients and the workers.
"It cuts down on staff wait time because we're not seeing the patient twice and asking questions twice," Rust said. "It [has] eliminated a lot of double work."
The pharmacy grew almost double the size and implemented a brand new system, which requires adaption and patience from not only the workers, but also the patients.
"Since May, [patients] have been very patient and very understanding with us and we're thankful for that," Rust said. "It made the transition for everyone a whole lot easier."
For more information, call the JBER hospital pharmacy clinic at 580-3012.