FORT KNOX, Ky. – The television game show ‘Family Feud’ is famous for its audience surveys, used to measure contestants’ success. The host declares “Survey Says…,” then results are shown - determining who is most in-touch with what a measure of the population agrees upon. Pandemic or not, people prefer positive customer experiences and they’ll let leadership know if they’re unhappy. Current pandemic conditions have pushed large-scale changes at Ireland Army Health Clinic’s Binter Street Pharmacy, plowing new ground in several customer service areas.
Preventative public health measures, such as social-distancing, forced a re-thinking of the traditional waiting room. The required social-distancing measures presented logistical hurdles, for an operation that had honed servicing their customers based on arrival times, place-in-line and numbers.
However, pharmacy leadership adapted new operational strategies by reviewing Binter’s lobby, then tactically mapping out waiting queues to increase capacity by over 50%. This change reduces close-contacts, and length of time patients must stand waiting outside, during peak times. “We want our patients to be comfortable, and most of all to be safe throughout this period of time,” says Jason White, Binter Pharmacy Supervisor.
Applied technology has mitigated many burdens brought by the pandemic. Started in spring 2020 as a pilot program, the online prescription activation program saves time spent waiting in line at Binter Street Pharmacy.
“We recognize patients want to activate their prescriptions before coming in. We are continuing that program, and looking at how to dedicate further resources to that initiative. It is aimed at reducing the time spent waiting in lines at the pharmacy, which increases patient satisfaction. Additionally, it keeps everyone as safe as possible during this pandemic,” says Army CPT Michael Nguyen, Pharmacy Chief.
Improving patient service and safety is a passion for Binter Pharmacy’s staff members. Dr. Terry Aldridge, Pharmacist, has been leading the IT team section, working tirelessly with existing automated systems to increase computer functionality and capacity. Future improvements are expected to increase efficiency and lower wait times.
Instructions for the prescription activation program are available on the pharmacy webpage. Visit https://ireland.tricare.mil/Health-Services/Pharmacy.
Other projects are in the pipeline to increase pharmacy and clinic access and services for the future.
Service satisfaction captured via surveys is tracked by Patient Experience staff member Ronald Postlewait, Jr. “The comments on our JOES reinforces that our staff is caring, compassionate, and professional. ICE Comments are up, which we are grateful for; this allows us to improve our services.” Feedback often mirrors staffing levels, seen when recently-hired employees added Appointment Line Call Center capability, cutting patient hold times.
Postlewait adds that patients can skip calling the Appointment Line by using the online option to book appointments, refill prescriptions, and set-up email and text reminders at tricareonline.com.
During the COVID-19 pandemic, tactical and technology-driven process improvements have continued service delivery in Fort Knox-MEDDAC medical mission areas, yielding positive outcomes and increasing patient satisfaction.
The gained efficiencies are a win-win for patients and staff. The “Survey Says”.