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Maxwell pharmacy
Maxwell's pharmacy poses for a group photo, Nov. 6. Filling more than 1,500 prescriptions daily, the staff of Airmen and civilians operate the second busiest pharmacy within Air Education and Training Command, according to pharmacy leadership.(U.S. Air Force photo by Airman 1st Class William Blankenship)
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Q-Matic ticket system expedites pharmacy operations

Posted 12/13/2013   Updated 12/13/2013 Email story   Print story


Commentary by Maj. Thuy Vo
42nd Medical Support Squadron

12/13/2013 - MAXWELL AIR FORCE BASE, Ala. --  -- The goals of the Maxwell pharmacy are to provide safe and timely medication education and distribution to all eligible beneficiaries. We process 7,000-9,000 prescriptions weekly using the Q-Matic ticket system, which prioritizes prescription requests based on patient category. There are five options to choose from on the Q-Matic screen: (a) active duty service members in uniform; (b) spouse of deployed member; (c) activate/pick up prescriptions ordered by on-base providers; (d) drop off/pick up prescriptions from off-base providers; and (e) pick up previously called in refills.

Active duty members in uniform should select an "a" ticket for all pharmacy needs to ensure they have priority and can return to duty as soon as possible. With the support of 42nd Medical Group leadership, spouses of deployed members have "b" ticket priority to expedite their medication needs.

Prescriptions ordered by clinic providers must be activated in person at the pharmacy window inside the clinic to assure proper patient safety. These are normally completed more quickly than handwritten prescriptions. We ask patients to have their identifications readyand to end phone conversations before approaching the pharmacy window. In addition, patients should be aware of and try to avoid peak demand periods with prolonged wait times, including lunch (11 a.m.-2 p.m.) as well as wing exercise and monthly training days (third Thursday monthly from noon-4:30 p.m.).

Prescriptions ordered by civilian providers may be processed via the drive-through window or the drop-off box located at the end of the drive-through lane. For these options, we need patient identification (date of birth and DOD ID number or sponsor's social security number), patient contact information and any recent drug allergies. Please allow sufficient processing time: three hours for the drive-through window and six hours for the drop-off box.

Filling prescriptions is a complex process. It involves more than putting pills in a bottle. Multiple checks and verifications are required to assure the correct medications and dosages are dispensed. In turn, we encourage patients to be proactive: to know the medications they take and the reasons they take them. Patients also are encouraged to call in a refill request before they run out of medication. Walk-in refill requests cannot be completed the same-day due to staffing limitations.

Another important item to be aware of is the difference between a refill and a renewal. Refills provide a specific supply of medication for a designated time period. For example, 90 pills with three refills would last for one year. Once those three refills have been used, it is time for a renewal. Your pharmacy staff is able to dispense refills, but patients will need to see their provider to obtain a renewal and to ensure the medication is still needed.

We value our patients' time and strive to provide the safest and most efficient service possible. Our goal is to make your visit to the pharmacy a seamless experience. If you have additional questions or feedback, please call us at 953-9333. We constantly look for ways to improve our processes and welcome your suggestions.

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