By Senior Airman Alexa Culbert, Air University Public Affairs
/ Published February 06, 2020
The mission of the Maxwell Pharmacy is to properly dispense prescribed medicines to their patients. All 37,000 of them. The pharmacy here serves approximately 500 patients and dispenses 1,200 prescriptions each day of the week.
For the 30 team members working behind the desk, those numbers can be daunting. However, with the implementation of the QFlow system, those numbers are now more manageable.
“Before QFlow, we had a barber-style ticket system, which was suboptimal for the complex mission of a pharmacy,” said Lt. Col. Tak Li, 42nd Medical Support Squadron pharmacy flight commander. “QFlow allows instant situational awareness for our front-line supervisors, so they can better manage our resources based on the workload at that particular moment.”
To use the QFlow system, patients check-in to the pharmacy at one of two kiosks located in the waiting area. The user will have to scan the ID of the patient receiving medication, and after a series of questions, a ticket will be provided. The patient is then able to sit and wait until their prescriptions are ready, versus standing in a line. Patients will know their prescriptions are ready for pick-up when their name appears on the display board, and their name will remain there for up to three hours or until they pick up their prescriptions.
Another new option patients have through the QFlow system is to opt into text notifications, so now they don’t even have to wait at the clinic.
Once a ticket is provided to a patient, their name and information is immediately displayed on all of the workstations behind the pharmacy desk, allowing the team leads to make quick decisions based on that patient’s needs, Li said.
The pharmacy is still responsible for providing trusted care and service to the Maxwell and Montgomery communities, however, the new system makes it a little easier.
“I like [the new system] because it makes the job more manageable,” said Staff Sgt. Alicia Kerns, 42nd Medical Support Squadron pharmacy NCOIC. “Since we already have a vast number of patients it helps us prioritize [them].”
Besides making their numbers more manageable, QFlow also provides data that the pharmacy has never had before –allowing them to track prescription progress so leadership can make informed decisions.
Li reported that all pharmacy metrics have improved since the implementation of the new system last July. Specifically the wait times for prescription drop off; patients are now waiting on average 16 minutes versus the 23 minutes with the old barber-style ticket system. That is a 30 percent reduction in waiting time.
“This falls into Col. [Patrick] Carley’s [42nd Air Base Wing commander] continuous performance improvement,” said Li. “We identified an opportunity for improvement and searched for a solution, which also aligns with Air Force innovation.”
While the QFlow system helps, Kerns said that her job satisfaction comes from helping her patients.
“I’m satisfied from seeing my patients smile,” said Kerns. “So it’s good to know that I’m helping someone in my day to day tasking at my job, because it may just be a bottle of medication to us, but to them it could be a lifesaving drug. They’re happy, we’re happy and we’re all smiles.”
For more information on the pharmacy or prescriptions call 334-953-9333 and 334-953-6868.