Armed Forces News

Staff Sgt. Dustin Stevens, 7th Medical Support Squadron pharmacy technician, demonstrates how to enroll an account with the ScriptCenter at Dyess Air Force Base, Texas, Feb. 26, 2020. Active duty military, dependents, retirees and all eligible Department of Defense ID holders will be able to log in with their ID or by fingerprint. (Air Force photo by Senior Airman Mercedes Porter)

Beneficiaries of military health care soon will have the option of picking up prescription medications from lockers, which would be accessible any time of the day or night. The coming system also would decrease face-to-face interactions, and thus foster good social distancing.

The system already is in use at 27 Air Force bases. Vandenberg Air Force Base, California, for example, has had the lockers since 2009. Based on the success at these installations, the Military Health System plans on adding 20 more such lockers at other stateside and European locations between now and the end of next year. Further expansion would take place once other bases join the Defense Health Agency (DHA) common network security system.

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The lockers would function similarly to ATM cash dispensers. Users would allow the machines to quickly scan their Common Access Cards or state identifications, and then input a date of birth or fingerprints.

In time, the lockers will offer camera systems that allow dialog between patients and pharmacists. Personal service at pharmacies and mail-order delivery of prescriptions will continue to be available.

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