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Hanscom Pharmacy installs kiosk to speed customer wait times

HANSCOM AFB, Mass. -- Most people do not consider waiting in line to be an enjoyable activity -- especially when the wait is accompanied by a nagging cough, gastrointestinal discomfort or a screaming child with a persistently runny nose.

While waiting in line is a part of practically every customer service activity in life, the Hanscom Pharmacy has done something to make the wait for people filling prescriptions a little shorter.

The Pharmacy has installed a new self-service kiosk that patients must check in with upon arriving at the clinic, said Maj. Young Oh, 66th Medical Support Squadron Diagnostics and Therapeutics flight commander.

The kiosk system, which is called Q-MATICâ„¢, will issue patients alpha-numeric tickets. Patients can sit in the pharmacy lobby while they wait for their ticket numbers to be called. When their prescription is ready, the TV monitor in the lobby will flash and they will be directed to the appropriate customer service counter to get their prescriptions.

"The bottom line is that patients do not have to wait in line to be served," Major Oh said.
Another benefit of the system is that patients do not have to wait as long to be served either.

Patients can expect their wait time to be between 10 and 20 minutes with the new system depending on the time and day they visit. Before the system was installed, patients waited up to 50 minutes before being served, the major said.

Coinciding with the Air Force's initiative to promote Air Force Smart Operations for the 21st Century, the efficiency of the new kiosk system is demonstrated by its ability to hasten patients' wait times and decrease the work load of the pharmacy staff by automatically prioritizing patients and sorting their prescriptions.

Active-duty servicemembers are given priority service, Major Oh said.
AFSO21 is an effort by the Air Force and it's organizations to conserve resources by streamlining processes.

"This change is really a win-win situation for both our patients and our staff members," Major Oh said.

Similar systems are being installed across the Air Force, the major said. The installation of the Q-MATICâ„¢ system at Hanscom is a part of an Air Force Materiel Command funded and directed program.

Patients seeking to refill prescriptions still need to call the Pharmacy refill line at (781) 377-1522 before coming to the Pharmacy.

All Pharmacy customers need to check-in at the self-service kiosk upon first arriving at the clinic to ensure their prescriptions will be processed on time, Major Oh said. By doing so, they will receive double tickets -- one for the Pharmacy to process and one to keep.

Those who prefer to drop-off their prescriptions instead of waiting for them to be filled, still need to check-in at the kiosk upon their return visit to pick up their medications.

For more information, call the Hanscom Clinic at (781) 377-3101.