A time-saving asset for every pharmacy patron who takes a minute to save an hour is officially number one.

Nation-wide.

Naval Hospital Bremerton’s ScriptCenter is used more than any other in the U.S. for picking up prescriptions.

Asteres, the parent company which makes the automated system, sent an official letter of commendation to NHB Pharmacy leadership which stated that they had “clearly established programs and protocols that exceed Defense Health Agency expectations for new and refill prescriptions via ScriptCenter.”

“[Naval Hospital] Bremerton has clearly elevated itself to the largest user of ScriptCenter in the country, including locations such as Mayo Clinic, Vanderbilt, and John Hopkins. Your efforts have provided a quick and efficient refill program for your patients that have helped them gain quicker and easier access to their prescriptions, which anecdotally, reflect an impact on medication compliance,” wrote Mark R. Currie, Asteres Inc. vice president.

The ScriptCenter is an automated – and secure – prescription refill dispenser available around the clock for eligible beneficiaries at NHB, the Navy Exchange on Naval Base Kitsap Bangor and in The Commons on Naval Station Everett.

“It is a testament to the hard work and daily dedication of the entire pharmacy staff,” stated Lt. Cmdr. John Balsamo, Clinical Support Services director.

According to Lt. Cmdr. Evan Romrell, NHB Pharmacy assistant department head, while NBK Bangor’s numbers have held pretty steady at about 900 prescriptions picked up per week, NHB numbers have continued to increase steadily since go-live.

ScriptCenters were installed on NAVSTA Everett in 2021 and added on NBK Bangor and NHB in February 2022. It took less than six months for the benefits to became obvious.

“At this time last year NHB was dispensing about 500 prescriptions a week, and 800 weekly at the end of the year. Now we are now averaging about 1,200 per week. As of May 1, 2024, we now have over 6,500 registered patients. On April 23, 2024, we set a ScriptCenter record, loading 320 prescriptions and dispensing 331 prescriptions in the same 24-hour period,” exclaimed Romrell.

Romrell insists the influx of use is due to a combination of factors. At the end of 2023, the drive-thru annex policy reverted back to the pre-pandemic policy of filling refill prescriptions only, and the Main Pharmacy shifted open hours from 8:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m., leading more eligible beneficiaries towards using the ScriptCenter.

“It’s their go-to option for picking up new prescriptions afterhours and on weekends while avoiding the pharmacy lobby,” said Romrell, adding that Pharmacy staff continually share the benefits of the system. “We have an amazing crew in the pharmacy that are consistently pushing ScriptCenter as the preferred option.”

“We realized shortly after installing that the machines rarely had issues and were so easy to use. Once patients used it the first time, they were hooked,” continued Romrell.

New users at NHB and NAVSTA Everett can start the process by using their cell phone to text the words ‘get in line’ to 1-877-909-2512 for Q-Anywhere.

The advantages to any eligible beneficiary are multiple. Patients can follow their own time and own schedule. There’s no waiting. When combined with Q-Anywhere a patient can request medications and pick them up without ever waiting on hold or setting foot in the pharmacy waiting room.

“Once loaded, medications are available to pick up 24/7, whether it’s 2 a.m. or on a holiday. Doesn’t matter. If you can get on base, you can get your meds,” said Romrell. “It’s also quicker service for everyone. Every customer who uses ScriptCenter is one less waiting in the lobby, which also makes it faster for those patients who don’t have the flexibility.”

Romrell does note that there is a caveat. First time users require enrollment using a prescription number. But if a patient doesn’t have one, they can just text the Pharmacy and one will be provided.

“If it’s someone’s first time using it, come during business hours. That way if they run into any issues, our staff will happily walk them through it,” said Romrell, adding that refrigerated items can’t go in ScriptCenter.

There are also advantages with ScriptCenter for the Pharmacy staff, most notably in having flexibility in filling prescriptions.

“If we know that we have until 11 a.m. to get a prescription filled we can focus on other patients waiting in the Pharmacy lobby. Every prescription picked up in the ScriptCenter is one less coming to a window or the drive through,” explained Romrell.

There are also plans for expanding the current ScriptCenter at NHB.

For those who haven’t used ScriptCenter, Romrell has some ready advice, “If you haven’t tried it, try it out. When linked, Q-Anywhere prescription activation and ScriptCenter dispensing will totally change your pharmacy experience. I guarantee it.”