New prescription kiosk provides convenience, quicker service

  • Published
  • By Kisha Foster Johnson
  • Robins Public Affairs

There will soon be a new way for patients to pick up their prescription refills at Robins Air Force Base, Georgia.

The 78th Medical Group installed an electronic medicine dispenser inside the Base Exchange, which is expected to be ready for use by the end of November.

“Most bases the size of Robins have a satellite pharmacy or even a drive-thru service at its Base Exchange,” said Tech. Sgt. Tyler Burkes, noncommissioned officer in charge of pharmacy operations. “This is something being done Air Force-wide because it is extremely convenient for patients and a good alternative to expand services.”

It’s called ScriptCenter.

“Think of how a vending machine works,” said Burkes. “Each patient will have a specific user name that they create and once the information is entered, a locker will open up with the prescriptions requested.”

Burke, who is also serving as project manager for this new service, said the kiosk accomplishes two goals. It will provide another location for active duty service members, spouses and retirees to pick up medications and, in turn, this will reduce the number of people coming to the pharmacy, which will aid in faster service at the clinic.

“The machine is only for refills,” said Burke. “All new medications will be handled at the main pharmacy clinic.

“Patients will still call in their refills as usual, but now there is an additional option for them to select where they want to pick up the medicine. Our process of filling the request will be the same,” she added.

However, the difference for the pharmacy team will be in the preparation.

Each day someone from the staff will be responsible for gathering prescriptions from the clinic, taking them to the BX, and loading them into the ScriptCenter.

“I did the math and patients will have 23 more hours a week to access their medication by going to the BX versus sitting in the pharmacy lobby,” said Burke. “The BX has longer operating hours than the clinic, so if a customer finds it hard making it to the clinic before we close, then having an alternate pick up site may work best for them.

“We are encouraging people to give it a try. Imagine no longer having to go through the process of pulling a ticket and being one of 40 people sitting in the lobby waiting to be called to the window to pick up medicine,” she continued.

Burke added, even though the machine is self-explanatory, there will be a pharmacy technician on stand-by for the first few weeks to provide assistance if help is needed.