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New technology benefits customers at Madigan Pharmacy

Another pharmacy update still to come

Madigan Public Affairs

Published: 11:00PM July 24th, 2014

The next phase in the Madigan Pharmacy updates will be implemented in the upcoming days, and patient awareness of the changes will help to lessen both confusion and wait times.

One ticket process Since May 27, the pharmacy process required a two-ticket system in order for patients to obtain their medication. Now, with a new kiosk offering different options, patients only need to pull one ticket. The only exception to this one ticket procedure would be if a patient chooses to leave the pharmacy to pick up prescriptions at a later date and time. The new system will allow patients to see where they stand in the queue, which will help them to determine if they want to wait or return later. “We’re done with the sitting and staring at a TV monitor for your name to appear on the screen,” said Norman Gaudreau, Madigan’s Chief of Ambulatory Pharmacy Services. “You get one ticket and the number on it is all you have to think about.” The categories for the new tickets are: Pharmacy Services, Hospital/Surgery Discharge, Active Duty in Uniform, Pickup, and Called Automated Refill Line. Knowing which category you fall into will keep the kiosk line moving quickly. Active Duty personnel in uniform will retain priority.

No more first-come, first-served In the past, patients received their medication according to the order in which prescriptions were received. Essentially, a person who had one or two prescriptions to fill would have to wait behind a person who had 10 prescriptions but got to the pharmacy first. Pharmacy staff now has new technology that allows them to see where the wait time build-up is happening based on the types of tickets patients have pulled from the kiosk. They can redirect efforts to focus on the areas experiencing delays in patient service. “This will drive our ability to adjust real time based on what’s lagging,” Gaudreau said. “The technology allows the staff to see where our patients are being held up, and they can work to get them their medications more quickly.” All 13 of the pharmacy windows will be dual-operational, serving as either an “In-Window” where patients initially go to put in the request for their prescriptions, or an “Out-Window” for patients to pick up their medication. Gaudreau predicts the wait time would be a maximum of 45 minutes on really busy days. “There shouldn’t be any more back up,” Gaudreau said. “Whichever prescription is ready to go first gets put to the Out Window.” Stay or go Patients now have the option of staying at the pharmacy and waiting for their ticket number to be called, or they can return at a later time. Once patients are initially called to the pharmacy window, the pharmacy technician will ask if he or she intends to stay and wait or go and come back. If the patient chooses to leave, the pharmacy technician will confirm the patient’s phone number in the system and offer a text message notification when the prescription is ready. A patient who comes back to the pharmacy after previously indicating that he or she would return would simply pull a “Pickup” ticket from the kiosk. Currently, the maximum wait time to obtain prescriptions is at about 45 minutes. According to Gaudreau, many patients are in and out of the pharmacy in less time than that.

Looking ahead Future changes to the Outpatient Pharmacy operations are still scheduled, all with the intent for quicker, yet still safe and accurate, services. The Pediatric Patient-Centered Medical Home is scheduled to house its own pharmacy and senior leadership is working on obtaining the necessary equipment to install ticket-scanning kiosks around post so that patients can quickly scan their ticket to see if their prescriptions are ready. “We know it’s been a challenge, and we really appreciate our patients dealing with the inconveniences,” Gaudreau said. “The system has improved in the almost two months since we closed for renovations, and it will only get better.”