June 9, 2023
Story by Douglas Stutz

More Naval Hospital Bremerton patients are realizing there’s a ready preference available for picking up prescribed medications than waiting in the Main Pharmacy.

It’s a time-saving asset for everyone who takes a minute to save an hour.

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.

“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,” said Lt. Cmdr. Evan Romrell, NHB Pharmacy assistant department head,

ScriptCenters were installed on NAVSTA Everett in 2021 and added on NBK Bangor and NHB in February 2022. In under six months, the benefits became obvious.

“In August 2022, we realized that the machines rarely had issues and were so easy to use that once patients used it the first time, they were hooked,” stated Romrell. “We changed our process and started promising same day service, even for refills, and started loading the machine twice a day.”

Medications requested by 11 a.m. are ready by 1 p.m. Those requested after 11 a.m. are ready by 7 p.m., even on weekends and holidays.

“As a way to help those patients that couldn’t make it in time [between 7:30 a.m. and 6 p.m. at the Main Pharmacy], we started loading everything not picked up at the end of the day into the ScriptCenter machine. Literally overnight our utilization almost doubled from 12 a day to 22 per day,” Romrell said, affirming that 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.

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.

Patients can follow their own time and own schedule.

“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. There is also decreased volume at the near-by Jackson Park Military Housing drive-through annex. Every prescription picked up in the ScriptCenter is one less coming to a window or the drive through,” explained Romrell.

Results speak for themselves. Compiled statistics by Asteres, the vendor of ScriptCenter, indicated that NHB averaged over 1,100 dispenses per week over a three-week period, placing the military treatment command as tops in the Defense Health Agency for usage in a multi-site location.

Additionally, the nearly 650 dispenses at just NHB’s ScriptCenter were the second most in the DHA for a single machine during that time. Since opening, the main hospital has 3,287 individual users enrolled, dispensed medication(s) 11,279 times to over 2,400 different enrollees. The highest utilization takes place during lunch hours of 11 a.m. to 1 p.m.

There have also been 32,605 total deliveries.

According to Romrell, where the truth growth has occurred is in direct patient requests. Whereas the NBK Bangor site only has one way for medications to get into the ScriptCenter machine for only refills, NHB has multiple options such as via actual kiosk activation, phone activation, Q-Anywhere and refill line, along with remaining prescriptions added at the end of the night.

“The entire pharmacy crew has really worked together to make this a success. Larry Schulz has had great impact as the morning lead, checking the machine every morning and verifying everything is good to go. Karl Baggerly and Teri Davis are our refill technicians who fill and load the machine 95 percent of the time. Amazing staff who constantly are working to get things done,” said Romrell.

“If you’ve tried it and love it; tell your friends and neighbors about it. If you tried it once and it didn’t work for you, come and talk with us and let us help you through the process,” added Romrell. “The process is so simple. Patients love it as a way to get their needed medications on their own schedule. Did I mention even on weekends?”