Oanh Tran, a Madigan pharmacist, has to release all medicine through the robotic automation system before giving the medication to patients.

The Madigan Army Medical pharmacy celebrated National Pharmacy Week Oct. 19 to 23, and amid the festivities, beneficiaries who came to the pharmacy to pick up prescriptions noticed some major improvements.

Four pharmacists and eight technicians have been hired in the past three months, which has decreased waiting times for patients and increases access to care, said Lt. Col. Laurel Fields, deputy pharmacy chief.

Patient safety guides the pharmacy's policies and procedures. A robotic automation system installed throughout the pharmacy has greatly reduced medication errors, like giving a patient the wrong prescription. A bar code is printed onto every single prescription bottle that is also double-checked by the computer and a pharmacist before it is given to the patient. "We don't want to bypass patient safety for speed," said Elhue Claypoole, the administrative officer for the pharmacy.

Leading the way in these improvements is the pharmacy's process improvement team, which is composed of a team of pharmacy employees as well as representatives outside of the pharmacy. The team's purpose is to enhance the customer experience. Using the Baptist leadership philosophy, which helps organizations develop their customer service programs, the team is looking at how they can better take care of the staff - through training, equipment, input - which in turn will lead the staff to take better care of the patients.

The computers and printers at the main pharmacy windows have been upgraded within the last two weeks, and new televisions in the lobby and a new phone system are in the works, said Gary Kendrick, a pharmacy technician.

Additionally, this team is looking at other local hospital pharmacies to gain from their experiences to better streamline the pharmacy's work flow. Ultimately, the goal is to provide exemplary pharmaceutical services and become the "pharmacy of choice" for our patients, said Master Sgt. Stephanie Blackmon, pharmacy NCOIC.

The pharmacy staff said they realized that they are the last stop for most beneficiaries coming to Madigan, and that means they will be the last place the patient experiences before leaving. "If they leave with a bad impression, that's what they will think of Madigan," Kendrick said. "If we in the pharmacy can get them to leave with a smile on their face in addition to the right medication, than we have improved the whole experience of Madigan for them."

Page last updated Fri July 22nd, 2011 at 12:16