By Mrs. Tawny M Dotson (Army Medicine)January 13, 2011
Madigan Healthcare System Pharmacy Technician Supervisor Jose Rodriguez-Torres is the U.S. Army's Jeanelle M. Oakley Civilian Pharmacy Technician of the Year. He was honored in Chattanooga, Tenn., at the Joint Forces Pharmacy Seminar in October for his achievement.
The Oakley Award is given to recognize excellence in the practice of pharmacy by a civilian pharmacy technician. Rodriguez-Torres has been a Madigan employee for just over two years and started in the Inpatient Pharmacy before moving to the Outpatient Pharmacy last year. He has been working as a pharmacy technician for more than five years.
"Everybody is a part of this particular award because they were working together with me to help the patients in the Pharmacy," Rodriguez-Torres said. "I was really surprised that I won the award. I think this award is not only for me. It is for my senior management who helped me a lot. It is for the whole Outpatient Pharmacy staff who helped me a lot. As one team, we can make it happen."
During the past year, Rodriguez-Torres participated in the Outpatient Pharmacy Process Improvement Team, whose primary focus is providing Pharmacy customers with optimal, timely, efficient and courteous pharmaceutical service. Within the improvement team, Rodriguez-Torres created the 'Jose Pod.' The concept is a team approach to Pharmacy service. Each team consists of a minimum of three people (one registered pharmacist and two technicians or vice versa). Each team is responsible for covering two pharmacy windows and providing effective communication to ensure there is coverage at all times to include breaks, lunch, appointments, etc.
Each day, a team leader is assigned by management to track accountability, ensure daily maintenance of the ScriptPro Robotic Systems, and to keep all cells filled.
The entire Team is responsible for keeping their "fast-mover" prescriptions stocked, while also filling and dispensing prescriptions.
"Implementation of the Team, or 'Jose Pod' concept, has made a big impact in the Madigan Outpatient Pharmacy daily operation by reducing patient wait times, distributing the workload evenly through all staff, improving morale, and minimizing errors by checking the prescription at least three times before it is dispensed to the patient," said Master Sgt. Stephanie Blackmon, noncommissioned officer in charge of the Pharmacy.
As a result of the Outpatient Pharmacy Process Improvement Team 90-day action plan from October to December, to include using the "Jose Pod" concept, Madigan's Pharmacy wait times were drastically reduced.
On average, the wait time decreased by 50 percent. This resulted in 74 percent of all four patient categories being served in less than 30 minutes, and showing a 24 percent improvement. Only four percent of all four patient categories waited more than 60 minutes, showing a 21 percent of improvement per time period.
"Rodriguez is an amazing technician supervisor who is admired and respected by all. His actions reflect the highest standards of excellence and leadership, and his team concept the "Jose Pod" has positively improved staff and patient care for all Department of Defense pharmacies to emulate," Blackmon said.