Imagine you are on a vacation with your family with the sound of waves crashing and warm sun rays peeking through the palm trees around you. Then, an alarm goes off on your phone to remind you to take your medication and when you open the bottle, you realize your prescription is running low.
Much to your chagrin, you end up sacrificing money and hours of precious vacation time to find, schedule and visit an emergency room, urgent care center, or pharmacy clinic to obtain a new prescription.
Thanks to OneVA Pharmacy, VA is making prescription refills simpler for traveling Veterans. OneVA Pharmacy is available and implemented at all VA medical centers (VAMC) as of June 2018. By simply registering at a local VAMC that uses OneVA, Veterans can forego the time-consuming and convoluted process formerly required to request a new prescription.
“Right now, throughout the entire country, if you have a Veteran living in California and travel to Florida and want to have their prescription, they can do that. They go to the pharmacy and use this product to get the prescription filled,” explained Ms. Angela Chow, an implementation manager with VA’s Office of Information and Technology (OIT).
Uniformity Breeds Simplicity
Before the implementation of OneVA Pharmacy, traveling Veterans who needed a prescription refill were required to either a) visit the emergency room, b) visit the urgent care center, or c) schedule a pharmacy clinic appointment.
With OneVA, patients’ pharmacy information is available across VA so pharmacists can access any prescription already on file from any VAMC. Veterans on the road can easily refill their prescriptions—with the exception of controlled substance prescriptions, such as opioid or narcotic pain relievers and anti-anxiety medications.
This new process improves efficiency and saves time for both Veterans and pharmacists. By providing streamlined access to Veterans’ active and refillable prescription information and enabling the ability to request prescription refills directly from any VA pharmacy, pharmacists can fulfill window refill requests much more quickly.
The Road to OneVA
VHA and OIT worked jointly to roll out OneVA Pharmacy through several phases starting at the end of 2016, with the final step of implementation finished in June 2018. Since final implementation, pharmacists have filled 7,934 prescriptions and saved countless hours of Veteran and provider time.
Despite the successful implementation of OneVA during the first phase of the project, there is still work to be done to make this service even greater for Veterans and pharmacists. Dr. Robert Silverman, PharmD, VHA’s project manager for OneVA Pharmacy shared, “Phase two will allow VA pharmacies to address many of the integrated workflow functions not present in OneVA Pharmacy phase one.”
Phase two of the project will also eliminate the need for a pharmacist to contact another pharmacist to work around scenarios not yet covered by OneVA Pharmacy.
A unified VA pharmacy across VA is vital to providing better services to Veterans, improving efficiency, and providing safe care by reducing chances for mistakes, especially for the aging Veteran population.
VHA and OIT will continue to partner together to further improve the connection and capabilities between pharmacies so that Veterans receive the high-quality health care services they have earned.
This story was provided from the VA Office of Information and Technology. The mission of the Office of Information and Technology (OIT) is to collaborate with our business partners to create the best experience for all Veterans.