Military News

Thursday, September 10, 2015

JBER pharmacy undergoes modernization

by Airman Christopher R. Morales
JBER Public Affairs

9/10/2015 - JOINT BASE ELMENDORF-RICHARDSON, Alaska -- The 673d Medical Group pharmacy is undergoing renovations to modernize facilities and improve customer service.

The pharmacy is entering its third and final phase of construction, planned to be finished in early November.

The new design expands the waiting area and improves the inpatient pharmacy, and adds two more windows, an additional area for preparing intravenous medication, and a new kiosk system.

"We are excited to see this change because our needs are growing and we were limited by what we had," said Lt. Col. Arshad Qureshi, 673d Medical Group pharmacy flight commander.

"This will give us more opportunities to serve our patients; with a new counseling area, to talk to patients in confidentiality, and six windows to see more patients in a timely manner and take care of their needs."

The pharmacy department provides medication to patients both in-house and out. During construction, work space will be limited, but doubled when complete.

"The hospital was built in 1999, so for the last several years we have been trying to continuously improve to keep it up to date," said Master Sgt. Michelle Frisbey, 673d Medical Support Squadron pharmacy flight chief.

"We're really thrilled about this new renovation."

This renovation is part of a series, and for a project to begin there needs to be room for the workers during construction, Frisbey said.

Construction started in January; the first phase moved the administration offices to an older space to make room for additional customer-service windows.

Now, staff occupies the new offices, while the service windows are being upgraded.

"We are getting more windows to help us get through those bottle-neck timeframes like lunch hour," Frisbey said. "We have the help from the administrative staff, but they can't actually help with only four windows available."

Soon, there will be six, all private, with wheelchair-accessible windows on each end.

The pharmacy will also gain a second check-in kiosk, and the whole system is getting a reboot.

"The new queuing system will make it so you only have to go up to the window once for your medication or questions," Frisbey said. "The old one just asked if you're active duty or 'all others,' then handed you a ticket.

"The new kiosks are a lot more interactive; it will ask all the questions routinely asked by the people working the booths."

Another new feature of the kiosk allows patients to leave and come back. Upon their return, they scan their ticket and are back in the queue for pick-up.

This will help eliminate delays caused by patients who have stepped outside or decide to leave and come back later.

The renovations are badly needed, Frisbey said.

"Our workload has increased dramatically over the course of a couple years," Frisbey said. "We just need the space to accommodate that extra influx of work."

The changes don't just affect those who need a refill - they also help the inpatients. From 2012 to 2015, the inpatient workload increased by approximately 70 percent, so the pharmacy is gaining a second hood to prepare intravenous medications.

Pharmacy staff said they appreciate patrons' patience during the renovations.

"Construction is always hard; dealing with the noise, confined space and everything," Frisbey said. "Everybody has been so awesome. My staff and the patients have been patient throughout this process and we appreciate that."

For more information, visit the 673d MDG pharmacy or call 580-1170.

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