Outpatient pharmacy simplifies ticketing process

The Fort Belvoir Community Hospital outpatient pharmacy has changed its ticketing procedure to simplify the pick-up process for 40,000-plus prescriptions it fills each month. Taking full advantage of the prescription processing system, Q-flow, patients no longer wait in line for a staff member to issue a ticket. Now, the first stop for patients entering the pharmacy is a ticketing kiosk.

Tickets issued at the kiosks are called up based on priority, with active-duty military having the first priority. Patients are called to a window and a staff member will process the prescription requests. If a patient needs a prescription filled and would rather wait instead of returning to pick up later, the patient will keep the number while the prescription is filled.

“The Q-flow procedure is more convenient for the patient,” said Navy Lt. Shannon Thor, chief of outpatient pharmacy. “They can have a seat and wait to get called rather than wait in line.”

Tickets are divided into four categories:

  • A tickets: Active duty wearing the uniform of the day;
  • E tickets: Active duty not in uniform, refill call-ins, online and staff refill pickups, Emergency Department patients, missed number;
  • C tickets: New prescriptions which require processing by pharmacy staff, including new and renewals prescriptions for dependents and retirees, refills not called in advance, and hard copy prescriptions;
  • Pharmacy Call Center tickets: usually called from Window 1. These include Emergency Department, same-day surgery, hospital discharges, or Executive Medicine prescriptions processed by the call center.

Ticket numbers will be called once. Pharmacy staff members will only wait a few moments before moving to the next patient in queue. Patients who miss their number may take an E ticket from the kiosk.
The pharmacy tries to call the tickets in sequence, but occasionally some prescriptions take longer than others. In particular, large prescription orders, paper prescriptions, and prescriptions for controlled substances take extra time, Thor said.

In addition to reducing wait times, Q-flow will identify peak periods so the outpatient pharmacy can change staffing to meet those needs. Prescriptions may be filled at any retail pharmacy which accepts Express Scripts prescriptions and through the Tricare Home Delivery pharmacy.

Authored by: Kristin Ellis
Published by: Belvoir Eagle