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Military Health System

Dover Air Force Base features ‘Park ‘N Pickup’ pharmacy

Image of Picture of prescription sitting on a counter . Prescriptions sit on a counter, waiting for delivery in the 436th Medical Group pharmacy at Dover Air Force Base, Delaware, March 12. On any given day, the pharmacy fills and delivers from 300 to 1,000 prescriptions. (This photo has been digitally enhanced to protect patient information.) (Photo by: Air Force Airman 1st Class Cydney Lee, 436th Airlift Wing Public Affairs).

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COVID-19 has brought a slew of changes to the way military medical treatment pharmacies operate. One of the major changes, due to the increased need for patient safety, is that many pharmacy lobbies, including the one at Dover Air Force Base in Delaware, are closed.

To continue providing essential medications while incorporating COVID-19 precautions, the 436th Medical Group pharmacy at Dover has implemented a Park 'N Pickup process.

The process, implemented last November, allows patients to receive their medication without having to leave their personal vehicles. When arriving to pick up medication, patients park in a numbered spot within a designated area and text identifying information to the pharmacy.

Once the information is received, a pharmacy team member brings the prescription(s) to the vehicle. If a patient is unable to text, is dropping off prescriptions or needs further assistance, they turn on their hazard lights, and a pharmacy team member comes out to the car.

Patients can decrease their wait time by calling to alert pharmacy personnel that they intend to pick up their prescription.

When a patient's provider sends a prescription to the pharmacy, the patient can choose one of three methods to activate the prescription and alert the pharmacy.

First, patients can use TRICARE Online's Secure Messaging feature to directly message the pharmacy with their information and the prescriptions they wish to activate. An account must be set up before a patient is able to send messages, but once accomplished, this allows a patient to manage their appointments, refills, activations and more all from one screen. It also avoids length phone calls. Patients using this method can expect their medications to be ready in one duty day. Patients can find more information about secure messaging by visiting tricareonline.com.

At Dover AFB, patients can also call an activation line to speak with a pharmacy team member who will activate their prescriptions, but with high call volumes, that can lead to long waits.

Dover patients can also activate their prescriptions by using the Park ‘N Pickup process, but when they text their identifying information, they state how many prescriptions they wish to activate.

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