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    Prescription robots improve patient care at NHC Corpus Christi pharmacy

    Prescription robots improve patient care at NHCCC pharmacy

    Photo By Dale Davis | Hospital Corpsman 3rd Class Jose Barrera places caps on completed medication vials...... read more read more



    Story by Dale Davis 

    Naval Health Clinic Corpus Christi, Texas

    The pharmacy at Naval Health Clinic Corpus Christi completed a major equipment upgrade recently aimed at improving safety and efficiency in the delivery of patient’s medication.
    Two of the pharmacy’s three robotic prescription dispensing systems were replaced this week with newer models offering advanced features that not only improve safety and accuracy of dispensing medication, but also increase efficiency within the pharmacy.
    “Safety and efficiency are core tenants of pharmacy service,” says Lt. Cmdr. Garret Hand, Director of Clinical Support Services and Pharmacy Department Head at NHC Corpus Christi. “The new equipment enhances safety through improved bar code verification of drug bottles, cells used by the robot and the final patient prescription vial. Efficiency is gained by automating repetitive tasks like counting, pouring and labeling, allowing pharmacy staff to focus on other tasks. “
    Improved bar code verification helps pharmacy staff prevent misidentification and misfiling of medication vials as well as ensure that correct quantity of medication is delivered to the patient.
    Technicians from ScriptPro, the equipment’s manufacturer, along with NHC Corpus Christi pharmacy staff performed the installation and set up the robots, which took about five days to complete.
    Because the new robots were a life cycle replacement of existing equipment, Hand says training time for the new gear was minimal. However, training on calibration of the cells the robot uses to dispense the medication was provided for new pharmacy technicians.
    Although the new equipment will improve the overall work flow within the pharmacy, one factor that is not likely to change because of the upgrade is patient wait time.
    “Medication delivery and wait times are provided at the speed of safety and accuracy, which is our primary concern,” Hand says.
    However, Hand says there are a few steps patients can take to help speed up their trip to the pharmacy.
    NHC Corpus Christi’s pharmacy is open for patients from 7:30 a.m. to 5 p.m. and sees its highest volume of patients between 11 a.m. and 4 p.m., with Friday typically being the busiest day of the week. Patients who arrive before 10 a.m. will, on average, experience shorter wait times. Patients can also save time at the pharmacy by knowing their medication.
    “Knowing what medication, dose, and how many medications were sent by your provider helps make for a more efficient visit,” Hand says.
    Pharmacy staff are also available to provide patients with a list of current medications on file.
    For refills, Hand says calling ahead or using the Tricare online service at is the quickest way to avoid wat time at the pharmacy.
    Non-emergent prescriptions can be filled using the pharmacy’s prescription drop box. The box is located across from the pharmacy waiting area, next to Public Health Services and Occupational Health entrance. This makes the process of getting a new prescription filled easier and faster for patients who are able to return at a later time.
    “Although patients often want to get in and get out quickly, we encourage patients to ask questions,” Hand says. “Our team aims to never have a patient unsure or uneasy about a medication we provide or how to use it.”
    On average, the NHC Corpus Christi pharmacy sees 160 patients a day and fills more than 166,000 prescriptions annually.
    Naval Health Clinic Corpus Christi and its Naval Branch Health Clinic Fort Worth and Naval Branch Health Clinic Kingsville provide ambulatory care services to over 13,000 enrolled beneficiaries comprised of military active duty, their family members, retirees and their family members in South Texas and Dallas/Fort Worth. In addition, Naval Health Clinic Corpus Christi San Antonio Detachment provides primary care services to Navy students at the Medical Education & Training Campus at Fort Sam Houston, and case management services and medical board management to Navy and Marine Corps Wounded, Ill and Injured Warriors at San Antonio Military Medical Center.



    Date Taken: 10.28.2019
    Date Posted: 10.28.2019 16:31
    Story ID: 349583
    Location: CORPUS CHRISTI, TX, US 

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