NHF beneficiaries utilise app to fill prescriptions amid COVID


NHF beneficiaries utilise app to fill prescriptions amid COVID

Sunday, October 11, 2020

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A farmer who lives in the deep-rural community of Banga Ridge in the hills of Portland, started using the National Health Fund (NHF) Quick Prescript (QP) app to fill prescriptions in March.

It was around the time that Jamaica reported it's first case of the novel coronavirus.

According to the farmer, 51-year-old Rodrick Parkes, the process is “so easy”.

“First time I would have to join the line and, based on where I live, I have to take two taxis to come to pick up; and when I come, the pharmacy would be pack with people. Now when I come, sometimes my name is the first to [be] call[ed] and so I just pick up and leave,” said Parkes. “Yes, a good something to recommend, it's very easy.”

The QP app, which is available to patients who use the public health care system, Parkes said he used it to collect medication for his daughter and said the app has been a real lifesaver.

Launched in 2018 as a solution to reduce waiting time and improve efficiency in Drug Serv pharmacies, the QP app is a free mobile application which allows patients to submit their prescriptions by taking a photograph of it and uploading it to the app. Patients are contacted by an NHF customer service representative and further arrangements are made for the collection of their medication at a Drug Serv pharmacy of choice.

Additionally, as an alternative to the app, the Quick Prescript Kiosk is also available at select locations for clients to scan their prescriptions and make arrangements for pick-up.

Lois Mendez-Ballentine is also a first-time user of the app and is very grateful for it.

“I heard about the app on the radio for a while now. I used to use the scheduled refill and that was good for me and still helps, but since COVID-19 I decided I need to try and see how best the app would work for me because staying outside and waiting in a line, I don't want to do all of that in my condition, and so I try the QP app and it works very well,” said Mendez-Ballentine.

Mendez-Ballentine, who also collects medication for her 81-year-old mother, said the convenience is what resonates with her as it relates to the app.

“I will continue to use it as long as it is available. I can send in my prescription today and pick up tomorrow, and I don't have to wait any long time. At first, when I go for my medication, I was saying there must be something that can be done, especially for the elderly who get up from early and might have to wait [in line], and I'm happy that there are ways that this don't have to happen anymore,” she said.

Parkes and Mendez-Ballentine both collect medication at the Drug Serv pharmacy at the Annotto Bay Hospital in St Mary. This location was able to fill 100 per cent of its prescriptions since March 2020, using only the Quick Prescript app and Quick Prescript Kiosk.

During a six-month period, as the Government issued stay-at-home orders for the elderly in order to minimise interactions and public gatherings due to the novel coronavirus, the Drug Serv pharmacy located at Annotto Bay filled 9,925 prescriptions for all age groups using just the NHF Quick Prescript app and Quick Prescript Kiosk.

Chief executive officer for the NHF Everton Anderson is happy with how his team and the patients have embraced the technology.

“The NHF has always embraced technology and innovations to improve customer service and the ability to respond in a crisis such as the coronavirus pandemic is critical, and when persons were ordered to stay at home, it was an opportune time to reassure our beneficiaries and to remind them of the alternative options we offer,” said Anderson.

The NHF's aim is to continue to provide the highest quality service with an emphasis on improving access to quality pharmaceuticals as well as improved organisational efficiency and enhanced customer satisfaction.

As of September 30, 2020, a total of 123,008 prescriptions have been filled using only the QP app and kiosk.

Patients who seek medical care in the public sector are encouraged to download the Quick Prescript app for a quick and easy way to fill their prescriptions at Drug Serv pharmacies. They can visit selected Drug Serv pharmacies to use the QP Kiosk.

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