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Pharmacy offers electronic prescriptions, saves patient’s time

Dwain Hedgepeth, 22nd Medical Support Squadron supply custodian, demonstrates the base pharmacy procedures to Col. Albert Miller, 22nd Air Refueling Wing commander, March 31, at McConnell Air Force Base, Kan. Miller visited the clinic to better understand how patients are processed through the line and how electronic prescriptions are filled and tracked in the system. (U.S. Air Force photo/Senior Airman David Bernal Del Agua)

Dwain Hedgepeth, 22nd Medical Support Squadron supply custodian, demonstrates the base pharmacy procedures to Col. Albert Miller, 22nd Air Refueling Wing commander, March 31, at McConnell Air Force Base, Kan. Miller visited the clinic to better understand how patients are processed through the line and how electronic prescriptions are filled and tracked in the system. (U.S. Air Force photo/Senior Airman David Bernal Del Agua)

MCCONNELL AIR FORCE BASE, Kan. -- Taking a trip to the Base pharmacy to drop off a prescription can be a thing of the past now because of electronic prescriptions.

E-Rx can be sent from the off-base providers directly to the pharmacy without the patient having to travel to drop off his or her order.

"This one metric alone changes the whole game for how we do things here," said Capt. Kyle Dresbach, 22nd Medical Support Squadron pharmacy services chief. "It saves an incredible amount of time. It gives us much more time to execute other missions that otherwise we could flat out not accomplish."

The average waiting time for a patient to drop off a hardcopy prescription at the pharmacy and receive medicine is 30 minutes during non-peak hours. But for someone whose prescription was sent electronically, it takes less than five minutes to pick-up the necessary medicine.

"By freeing up more than two hours per day, we have focused on improving processes for the patient, like starting an automated calling service," said Dresbach. "We scan the shelves, drop the call into our phone system, and it calls patients letting them know their prescriptions are ready for pick-up. We have never done that before."

Patient safety is another perk of using E-Rx because it eliminates the possibility for transcribing errors.

"With civilian prescriptions, a lot of times when there is an error, it's just because we can't read what was written by the provider," said Tech. Sgt. Tsering Chophel, 22nd MDSS pharmacy services NCO in charge. "Those problems are non-existent when we receive electronic prescriptions."

Another problem the pharmacy encounters with hard prescriptions is dealing with orders for medication they do not keep in stock, and E-Rx helped with that concern.

"With E-Rx, we can find the medication the patient needs even before they step in our building," said Dresbach. "Before, if they came with a hard prescription and we didn't carry what they needed, we had to make them wait until we contacted the doctor."

The pharmacy staff has seen an increase in E-Rx percentages, and they believe the higher the percentages of E-Rx, the smaller the wait time for the patients.

For more information, contact the pharmacy at (316) 759-5062 and for non-formulary prescriptions, visit http://www.mcconnell.af.mil/units/medicalservices.