19th MDG acknowledges pharmacy delays, leaders ask for patience during MHS GENESIS transition

  • Published
  • 19th Airlift Wing Public Affairs

LITTLE ROCK AIR FORCE BASE, Ark. – It’s been just over a month since the 19th Medical Group transitioned to the new electronic health record system, MHS GENESIS.

As expected, beneficiaries have experienced a significant increase in wait times for services such as the pharmacy.

Based on industry averages, and the Department of Defense’s experience, it takes roughly 90 days for healthcare teams to adjust to the new system and return to normal wait times.

“We understand our patients’ frustration and are working diligently to provide them safe, quality care during this busy time,” said Col. Jennifer Bratz, 19th MDG commander. “We are looking into every avenue to minimize wait times and improve our patients’ experience during this required transition to MHS GENESIS.”

In an effort to improve pharmacy services and reduce in-person wait times, beneficiaries are encouraged to take advantage of the following tips:

Medical Activation: Use your MHS Genesis Patient Portal https://patientportal.mhsgenesis.health.mil/ to activate new prescriptions from an on or off base provider and receive a message back for pick up date.

Medication Refills: Call the refill line at 1-877-329-5762. 90 day refills can be requested 3-weeks early with exception of narcotics that can be requested a maximum of 3 days early.

Need to Transfer a Prescription? We ask that you come in person to the pharmacy with your prescription bottles in hand to ensure your safety.

Electronic Prescriptions: Ask your off-base provider to order all of your medication electronically by sending prescriptions to “DOD LITTLE ROCK PHARMACY.” Electronic Prescriptions are easier for you and a patient safety standard too.

Text Notifications: To help reduce crowding, beneficiaries are encouraged to avoid coming to the pharmacy until their prescription is ready for pickup. The pharmacy will notify you by text when your medication is ready for pick up to save you an unnecessary trip. Not enrolled? The pharmacy staff can enroll you on your next visit.

Medical Group officials are urging beneficiaries to maximize the use of the pharmacy’s text message notification system as a means to decrease in-person wait times.

“We are strongly encouraging our beneficiaries to sign-up for our text message notification system,” Bratz said. “By opting into this system, beneficiaries will be given an approximate wait time to return for their prescription pick-up, helping to reduce the crowding in our spaces and allowing our efforts to remain focused on filling prescriptions.”

The pharmacy staff is also encouraging the use of e-prescriptions, which is a national patient safety standard that many hospitals, to include military facilities, have adopted. The clinic does offer a drop box for written prescriptions, but that process will incur a two to four day wait time for prescription fill.

The 19th MDG has also implemented additional improvement initiatives specific to the clinic’s pharmacy services.

One of those initiatives includes the implementation of a work station on wheels, so that staff members can offer assistance with beneficiary enrollment and education of use while visiting the pharmacy.

As part of an effort to provide greater transparency into the transition process, Bratz said that under the previous system, prescription processing time took approximately 30 seconds per prescription because the system was pre-populated with common prescriptions for each medication type.

“MHS GENESIS will eventually be able to do this, but we are starting from scratch to populate the data, which is the primary reason we are seeing increased wait times,” Bratz said. “E-prescriptions are much faster because the off-base provider has already populated much of the required data.”

This new electronic health record will provide better quality of care and enhanced safety for service members and their families by becoming the single medical and dental record that all healthcare providers will use to manage patients’ care.

“We’re moving into an era where you as a patient should be able to enter any healthcare setting and see a physician who has comprehensive access to information about you,” said Bratz. “We appreciate everyone’s patience and understanding as we work through this transition period.”

For more information on MHS GENESIS, visit https://www.health.mil/Military-Health-Topics/MHS-Transformation/MHS-GENESIS.