Pharmacy technology seeks to meet demand

  • Published
  • By Airman 1st Class Aaron Edwards
  • Peterson-Schriever Garrison Public Affairs

The 21st Medical Group is rolling out a new queuing system called Q-Flow for patients at the Satellite Pharmacy located inside of the Peterson Base Exchange on Peterson Space Force Base, Colorado.

The Main Pharmacy and Satellite Pharmacy process over 900 prescriptions a day with an average staff of 21 team members. These pharmacies provide over 18,500 personnel and 173,000 local beneficiaries with quality medications.

“With the transition to MHS GENESIS and the Colorado Military Health System being the first market with a Joint Refill Center, there are some unforeseen information technology challenges that have resulted in increased prescription processing times and are not expected to be resolved until summer 2022,” said U.S. Air Force Master Sgt. Kristine Butler, 21st Medical Support Squadron pharmacy flight chief.

Longer wait times, COVID staffing impacts and communication issues between data systems create new challenges for the 21st MDG. The Airmen however, have kept their focus and continued pushing to improve customer experiences.

“Our staff may have to check as many as five different systems to locate the information necessary to serve you,” said U.S. Air Force Col. Patrick Pohle, 21st MDG commander. “An addition of even five minutes per patron can be significant to wait times when multiplied by the number of people waiting in the queue.”

“We have seen the demand for pharmacy services double in a matter of four weeks,” said Pohle, “We are unsure why the increase has been so fast and steep, but the current demand has frankly outpaced our resources.”

In an attempt to make this process faster, smoother and safer for customers picking up their medications, the 21st MDG is testing a new check-in system utilizing Q-Flow software. The Q-Flow system allows a single point of check in for patients. This allows the pharmacy to better understand how their patients are using the clinic and where any bottlenecks might be so that they can address them to optimize patient experiences.

If successful in its trial run at the Satellite Pharmacy the Q-Flow system will be installed in clinics across PSFB and will allow patients to move from one clinic to another without having to check in every time, furthering the ease of care.

“In the near future when Q-Flow is fully operational it will work by having the patient check in at a single kiosk for the clinic they have an appointment for,” said Butler. “If other services are needed such as radiology or pharmacy, the patients can then be transferred internally to other clinics. – By transferring patients internally, the patient will not have to continue pulling numbers and getting in lines. Patients will be placed in the line que as soon as the staff transfers them.”

For questions regarding pharmacy policies, operations and to learn more about the Q-Flow system please call the Satellite Pharmacy at (719) 556-1109 from 7:30 a.m. to 4 p.m. Monday through Friday.