Pharmacy Technology News

FEBRUARY 01, 2007

Virginia Hospital Installs IntelliFill i.v.

Inova Health System has selected the IntelliFill i.v. to automate most of its small volume intravenous (IV) medication preparation. The health care system will implement the pharmacy robotic system at its Inova Fairfax Hospital campus in Falls Church, Va. The campus is comprised of 3 facilities serving 833 beds.

ForHealth Technologies Inc's Intellifill i.v. system automates the compounding and labeling of IV medication doses in syringes with a combination of accuracy, reliability, and speed often not possible using manual processes. The system uses bar-code scanning, vision systems, and weight confirmation steps and delivers patient-labeled, barcoded syringes prepared in an ISO Class 4 environment. Therefore, IntelliFill i.v. minimizes the risks of touch contamination during preparation, lowers drug budget costs, and reduces the chances of medication errors.

Brenda Jo Simmons, PharmD, director of pharmacy for Inova Fairfax Hospital, said "By automating our IV preparation, we will be able to take the human factor out of the equation and redeploy staff to work with our medical teams on more cognitive functions and on clinical intervention for our patients."

Public Input Will Help Improve Efficiency

Industry leaders, practitioners, and the public were recently asked to comment on model standards to avert medical claim errors and uncover health care fraud that will be recommended for use in electronic health records (EHRs). These model claims-efficiency standards are being developed by experts assembled by the Research Triangle Institute (RTI). The goal is improve claims accuracy and to reduce the ability for individuals to create false claims and other improper payments against public and private health care plans.

"The move to EHR systems represents a unique opportunity for improving billing accuracy and reducing health care fraud and improper payments; however, the model standards developed must be critiqued by the larger community in order to be meaningful and useful to those who will use the systems," explained Colleen McCue, PhD, RTI senior research scientist and project manager.

The research team is working with the National Health Care Antifraud Association, health care providers, health insurers, federal agencies, and the Health Information Technology Standards Panel. During the 6-month project, the group will create model claims-efficiency standards for EHRs that will prevent, detect, and support the prosecution of health care fraud, as well as reducing opportunities for error or fraud.

HDMA Focuses on System to Track Drugs

Implementation of a track-and-trace system is a crucial step in keeping the pharmaceutical supply chain safe. Healthcare Distribution Management Association (HDMA) Chairman Mark W. Parrish, chief executive officer of the health care supply chain for Cardinal Health Inc, discussed this bold move at the recent RFID (radio frequency identification) Health Care Industry Adoption Summit.

He said a target date needs to be declared for when the industry will be ready to implement a track-and-trace system that meets the needs of all stakeholders. "Ensuring the integrity of the health care supply chain is not only our commitment—it is our responsibility as its guardians. It's the right thing, and probably the most important thing, to do to maintain the high level of confidence the public and the patient have placed with us," he said.

Members of HDMA are working to create a coalition of constituents of the pharmaceutical supply chain to establish a target date for industry-wide implementation of a consistent trackand- trace system. He said the group will continue to discuss the initiative with pharmacy associations.

Initiative Uses RFID and EPCIS

AmerisourceBergen Corp is launching a Track and Trace Program for the pharmaceutical supply chain at its largest distribution center in California. The initiative will use radio frequency identification (RFID) and electronic product code information system (EPCIS) technology to track and trace products throughout the entire distribution process.

In the pilot, AmerisourceBergen will use IBM's RFID middleware and embedded software on readers to read RFID tags currently used by certain pharmaceutical manufacturers as those products enter the distribution center. The product identification from each RFID tag will be electronically stored in IBM's EPCIS.

As new orders come into the distribution center, the RFID system can monitor products placed in shipping totes as they travel through the picking, packing, and shipping processes. As the totes leave the distribution center, the EPCIS software will record the time and location of each unit leaving the building, as well as its destination, so that the company can have a comprehensive record of the history of all RFID-tagged drugs.

The next step in the pilot program will be to connect the company's EPCIS directly to other business partner EPCIS systems and to select pharmaceutical manufacturer systems.

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