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Hello DiLorenzo Patients,
I want to take this opportunity to talk about an area in medicine that always works toward zero errors and zero harm in a Highly Reliable Organization structure.  I am talking specifically about the Pharmacy.  The DiLorenzo (DTHC) Pharmacy completes between 8,000-10,000 prescriptions a month for a total of over 110,000 prescriptions in a year.  7,000 patients are empaneled for their care at DiLorenzo, but there are over 27,000 people in the Pentagon and many are eligible beneficiaries who can get their medications at DTHC.  The Pharmacy checks all prescriptions twice to ensure you have the right drug, at the right dose, at the right time that does not interact with other medications you may be taking.  This is a very important process as medication errors are the most prevalent errors in medicine.  Now don't be alarmed - most of the errors are caught by our wonderful technicians and pharmacists, but if there is a medication error that reaches a patient, the results can be disastrous.
So you may wonder why our Pharmacy opens at 0745 instead of 0700.  Nearly half of the 110,000 prescriptions filled yearly (8-10K/month) are refills and the team takes part of the time starting at 0700 to complete the refills without having to start the new business of the day.  In every section of our clinic, we have a huddle to discuss patient safety reports, policy updates, patient concerns, new medical information and any other items that affect the clinic so that the entire staff is aware of any issues so that we can better address our patient's needs and ensure we are always working toward a highly reliable organization.  These huddles are extremely important and they have been shown to improve communication, decrease errors and improve the patient experience.  This is not different than safety briefs or pre-briefs or rock drills that you have done in your own section.  Preparation decreases errors and improves safety.
Speaking of the Pharmacy, we know you hate to wait in lines.  Since we do not have an electronic method of checking in patients (we are working on a product called Q-Flow), you are required to stand in line to activate your prescription and then retrieve the prescription later.  We are looking at other HIPAA compliant means to improve this process.  We know that about 47% of our prescriptions are refills.  Did you know you can call in refills through AudioCare (the number is on your prescription bottle) or you can activate the refill on TRICARE Online?  This will save you from having to drop off the refill request and you would only stand in line once.  You can also use ExpressScripts and receive your medications in the mail and this is FREE for all Active Duty Service Members and only a small co-pay for other beneficiaries. For more information on pharmacy refills, please click here.
I believe that when you stand in line at the Pharmacy, it only seems like your wait is much longer than other pharmacies because other pharmacies give you the luxury of walking around or sitting down in a waiting area after you have your ticket.  The wait at DTHC Pharmacy is estimated to be less than 60 minutes, while the average wait at other pharmacies is as high as 80 minutes.  I realize you do not have any extra time in your day to wait in a pharmacy line and our mission is to provide quality and convenient care to our patients, but I guarantee that you will always have to wait at least some time for your medications no matter where you are in this country. However, we will continue to examine ways to improve the speed of prescription processing while always ensuring your safety. 
The DTHC Pharmacy has been filling your prescriptions despite equipment degradation, decreased staff and small working areas, you will not find a more dedicated staff who clearly have your safety and convenience in mind.  As we work on improvements in electronic check-in, space, and technologic advances, please have patience and know we are doing our best to provide you with only the highest quality medical care in the NCR.
Thank you for being our patient and thank you for your understanding as we continue to make improvements to the DiLorenzo Pentagon Clinic.
“Committed to caring… always”
COL Thomas J. Rogers
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