By Tammy Reed
19th Airlift Wing Public Affairs
Although there are some processes pharmacists can’t change to make filling your prescription faster, staff at the 19th Medical Group pharmacy are changing what they can to make the wait shorter and more comfortable.
Capt. Andrew Tate, director of pharmacy operations, and his team members recently collected surveys from patients and added ideas and concerns from the pharmacy comment box to get feedback on pharmacy operations and customer satisfaction.
“Overall we received a lot of positive feedback...but we also received comments and suggestions on ways we can make it better and more friendly to our patients. One of the biggest comments was long wait time and how can we shorten it,” Tate said. “Our new prescription drop box was one result from that survey.”
Tate said this is a great option for patients, as they don’t have to wait in the pharmacy lobby to pick up their prescriptions. He explained that they can fill out the information on the envelope, put the prescription in the envelope, drop it in the box, then come back when they can to pick it up.
“Barring any issues with their prescription, it should be ready. One thing to keep in mind is this is for chronic medications and not for anything like an antibiotic for yourself or your child; nothing that you need immediately, but that you can come back to pick up.”
The drop box is located on the main check-in desk in their newly rearranged lobby.
The changes to the lobby centered on patient comfort and efficiency during their wait, the captain said. They rearranged the seating from rows of chairs to small groups of seating around tables. This makes it easier and more accessible for patients to sit and read or talk during their wait.
They also moved the pick-up line from window No. 4 to window No. 1, and made a serpentine line allowing more space for patients to pick up their prescription without blocking the main walkways to the rest of the clinic.
Tate said they made those changes because it was often confusing to patients when the pharmacy was busy, as the pick-up line for the main pharmacy would run into the pick-up line for the refill pharmcy.
Another change patients can see is new signage throughout the clinic and pharmacy. Tate said they have ordered new signage to clearly communicate where patients need to go when moving throughout the clinic and pharmacy.
By implementing these changes, he hopes to make customers’ visits a nicer experience and increase pharmacy efficiency to reduce wait time.
“Although we think we made the best use of the space we currently have, we are always open to suggestions and comments from our patients, to better serve them.”
One suggestion he has for patients is to visit the pharmacy earlier.
“To cut down your wait time, we always suggest that you come in as early as you can. Our peak volume time picks up around 10-10:30 a.m. in the morning and lasts through 2 to 3 p.m. in the afternoon, and we are extremely busy. We open at 7:30 a.m., and our lobby is fairly empty for a while.”