DOD automating prescription system

Tricare Online

The Defense Department's Military Health System soon will have an automated prescription refill and reminder system that will enable Tricare Online customers worldwide to order pharmacy refills via the Internet.

Microlog Corp.'s telephone- and Web-based automated prescription refill and appointment reminder system will standardize all DOD medical facilities on a common platform, integrating disparate patient-care information systems with the Tricare Web site.

The new system is designed to let pharmacy staff continue providing services to military personnel even if the patient information systems are unavailable, said Microlog's John Mitchell, director of federal sales at the Germantown, Md.-based company.

DOD's Tricare Medical Activity on May 30 awarded Microlog a five-year, $10.6 million contract that calls for the system's integration, testing and worldwide installation to be completed within one year, he said.

The Composite Health Care System (CHCS) II is DOD's main electronic patient record system and enables physicians to view and update patient histories, order drug prescriptions or X-rays, and make a diagnosis.

The DOD Military Health System services more than 8.7 million military personnel and their dependents through 592 pharmacies and 102 military treatment facilities. The system processes more than 1 million prescriptions and nearly 900,000 outpatients per week.

"The Microlog system will allow Tricare Online customers to order prescription refills over the Internet from anywhere in the world, once it is fully deployed," Mitchell said. "It will provide for a central database where DOD pharmacists can be assured that the patient cannot go to more than one facility to get the same prescription filled by two different facilities. This central database will also be the engine that will enable processing of refill requests over the Web from anywhere in the world."

The Microlog solution will also allow pharmacists to be able to enter and fill new prescriptions and refill requests even when CHCS II is down or the network is unavailable, he said, adding that it allows pharmacy staff to focus on patient care instead of tedious tasks. "Today, if the patient information systems go down, military pharmacists can continue to process orders and print drug labels locally, but can spend a week manually recovering these interim orders when the patient information systems become available," said John Mears, Microlog's chief technology officer, in a statement. "The new solution will automatically recover these types of interim orders, saving the military significant dollars and otherwise wasted staff effort."

Other system features include:

* Performing outbound dialing notifications to remind patients of an appointment at a military medical facility.

* Reminding customers to pick up a prescription they ordered and may have forgotten.

* Notifying patients of a drug recall that may affect them.

The Microlog solution will be deployed at 126 sites, serving all DOD military treatment facilities and pharmacies in Asia, Europe, the United States, Puerto Rico, and Guantanamo Bay, Cuba.

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