Winn Army Community Hospital (WINN) officially opened the doors of its own Pediatric Pharmacy following a ribbon cutting ceremony May 3.
The inception of the pharmacy is a result of feedback from the Fort Stewart community -- the community commented on Pharmacy wait times and the inconvenience of having to wait for prescriptions after an appointment.
"As commander, I want to know what patients are thinking about the medical services we provide here at WINN and I want to know how we can better support Fort Stewart Soldiers, Family members and retirees," said Col. Paul Cordts, commander, WINN. "My staff and I are committed to providing the highest quality care available and it is my responsibility as leader of this organization to ensure we not only stop and take note of the feedback we are receiving from our community, but apply it as well," he said.
The Pediatric Pharmacy is conveniently located in the Pediatric Clinic. This location will serve WINN's pediatric population in a convenient and timely fashion, plus it will enhance continuity of care.
"The pharmacy will allow patients to be seen by their provider and not have to leave the area to receive their meds, which is an added convenience for our patients - incidentally, we filled 63 prescriptions Monday and have already filled 72 prescriptions mid-way through the second day," said Col. Cheryl Filby, chief, Department of Pharmacy at WINN.
Although open only a day and a half, WINN has already received several comments from Family members expressing gratitude and excitement about the opening of the pharmacy.
Jotara Sewomoo thanked WINN for opening the pharmacy noting "we needed the pharmacy." Crystal Yano commented on the pharmacy's convenience and quality of service. Annette Baker pointed out that the Peds Pharmacy is an awesome addition and is much overdue stating "please keep the Peds Pharmacy open." And Family member Francesca Bailey hit the nail on the head with a recurring observance about how much easier the pharmacy is and will be for parents and their children.
If the first day and a half of operations is any indication, the Pediatric Pharmacy will achieve all expectations of both WINN command and the community.
"I know as a mother of two small children that no matter how much I prepare my kids and myself, a trip to the doctor can sometimes turn into a chaotic event," said Jessica Mummert, Family member. "WINN has always done a great job of getting us in and out quickly for appointments, but depending on the time of day, the Main Pharmacy can be very busy. With WINN's new Pediatric Pharmacy, the wait times will be shorter, and it's conveniently located right there in the Pediatric Clinic. Most importantly, I'm surrounded by other mothers so I don't have to be too concerned if my kids get a little rowdy," Mummert said.
Filby said the pharmacy will consistently staff the pharmacy with one specific pharmacist to increase continuity of care.
"The pharmacist will work closely with the Pediatric Clinic staff and will provide a convenient source of information for any questions the providers may have which will advance patient safety," Filby said.
Although small in size, the Pediatric Pharmacy will stock more than 150 pediatric medications, and even has a child-friendly waiting area.
"Currently we don't stock controlled substances in the Pediatric Pharmacy because we don't have a way to do a double count," Filby said. "We are in the process of installing cameras there as we have everywhere in our Main Pharmacy area, so once we have those installed and training is complete we anticipate the Pediatric Pharmacist will be able to stock ADHD meds, and hopefully in the future we will be able to stock narcotics there," she said. [Cameras are used as a safety tool to provide a double count for the pharmacist. The pharmacist positions herself as she is counting so the camera can record the count, thus acting as a double count to protect the pharmacist.]
WINN is one of few elite U.S. Army Medical Command facilities with a Pediatric Pharmacy.
"There are some facilities with a Pediatric Pharmacy, I believe Brooke Army Medical Center [(BAMC) in San Antonio, Texas] is one of those," Filby said. "Sometimes it's limited because you do fragment your staff, and a lot of times space is an issue so we are very fortunate that our Pediatric Clinic willingly gave-up the space needed for the Pediatric Pharmacy - it was a great working relationship with them to make this happen," Filby emphasized.
Processes have changed quite a bit over the years, according to Filby.
"When I was at Fort Campbell years ago before CHCS, [Composite Health Care used by all United States and OCONUS military health care centers providing resources, devices, and methods required to optimize the acquisition, storage, retrieval, and use of information in health and biomedicine.] we had a temporary Peds Pharmacy where we would drag the cart down to the Pediatric Floor in the morning and work out of a closet then go back to the Main Pharmacy," Filby said.
Other than the occasional staffing challenges, there's really no down-side to the Peds Pharmacy, Filby said.
"It allows for a more personable, one-on-one relationship between the pharmacist and the provider which is a win-win situation for the patient," Filby said. "The providers are right there and can say to the pharmacist 'Hey, can we do this for this patient'' or the pharmacist can simply walk out the door to any of the providers and get a quick response from them as well - this is just a really good situation to help promote wellness, patient safety and, with respect to our Family members' time, get the patient in and out in a timely manner," she said.
WINN's Pediatric Pharmacy hours are 8 a.m.-5 pm. daily -- closed 12:15-1:15 p.m. daily for lunch.