ScriptCenters: prescriptions made easy

  • Published
  • By 2nd Lt. Ashley Skillman
  • 48th Fighter Wing Public Affairs
The 48th Medical Group ScriptCenter prescription pick-up stations will now provide patients a new level of flexibility and convenience by supplying refills to all Department of Defense ID card holders at RAFs Lakenheath, Alconbury, and Croughton commissaries. 

These ATM-like machines will let patients avoid the usual waiting period at the pharmacy by picking up their personal and family refills during commissary hours through a fingerprint or ID card log-in system.

"Patients will call in their refills and select their preferred method - either to pick up their prescriptions at the commissary or the pharmacy at the hospital," said Lt. Col. Ricardo Garcia, 48th Fighter Wing Pharmacy commander. "Refills at the commissary should be ready after 2 p.m. the following duty day; however, delivery times could vary depending on the locations' schedule, demand and manpower."

Colonel Garcia went on to say that prescriptions being filled for the first time will still need to go through the pharmacy rather than the ScriptCenters.

"We will still do this to make sure patients are counseled on how to use the medications correctly and to ensure everything is right," the colonel said.

Lakenheath is the first base in United States Air Forces in Europe to use the ScriptCenters and according to Colonel Garcia, it's took about two years of planning to get to this point. During the planning, medical personnel identified safety as another benefit of using the machines.

"The amount of driving time, particularly for personnel and families at RAF Croughton and Alconbury, should significantly decrease now that refills at their commissary are available," said Colonel Garcia. "In addition to the convenience of using the machines, this was really one of the driving forces behind the project - trying to keep people off the roads. It all comes down to safety. Preventing just one accident makes the money spent on the machines worth it."

Additionally, the pharmacy staff at the hospital will benefit from the ScriptCenters, as they will now be able to provide additional services to patients. Colonel Garcia expects 50 percent of all refill traffic to transfer to the commissary, which will allow him to shift more employees from the customer service counter at the pharmacy to other clinical work throughout the hospital with more intense needs.

"For example, we are looking to open up a small-scale cholesterol clinic, using some of the pharmacy staff," he said.

Not only will medical personnel and patients benefit, the commissary stands to benefit as well.

According to Riccardo Lieffort, RAF Lakenheath Commissary store director, this initiative is likely to be profitable for the commissary, too, since he expects customer traffic to increase.

"People using the ScriptCenters will probably pick up a few needed things while in the store, he explained," explained Mr. Lieffort. "The commissary is very excited about being a part of this service to our military families. It's one more way to simplify our busy lives."

Colonel Garcia shared that many other locations were considered for the ScriptCenters, including the Army and Air Force Exchange Service, but they did not have defense switched network capabilities or the necessary wiring lay-out for the machines and the commissary did.

"They (DECA Headquarters and commissary staff) were key to allowing this to happen, and the whole process would have been significantly harder without their approval and support," the colonel said, adding that not only is the commissary convenient because it's open daily, it's also air conditioned, which is important because some medicines need to be stored in a cool climate.

With the new level of convenience and safety provided to patients, the benefits of housing the ScriptCenters for the commissaries and the perks to a decreased work load at the pharmacy, this initiative appears to be a win-win overall.