Pharmacy Technology News

FEBRUARY 01, 2009

EHR Toolkit Available for West Virginians

West Virginia residents, including physicians, clinicians, and patients, have new resources available to help them understand electronic health records (EHRs).

"This toolkit of resources includes pamphlets, brochures, and posters that physicians can use to help their patients understand the many benefits of having electronic health records, as well as privacy and security precautions," Patty Ruddick, project director of the West Virginia Health Information Security and Privacy Collaboration, said.

The resources are available in both print form and electronically in downloadable form at The Web site also features more information on EHRs and health information exchange. The eHealthWV effort—funded as part of a federal grant—is providing this information now, because the switch to EHRs has started in West Virginia, and the pace is expected to pick up in the next few years.

The West Virginia initiative is part of a national effort to educate individuals and providers about the importance of privacy and security in using EHRs. The federal government has set a goal of 2014 for most Americans to have EHRs.

SPEAK Initiative Underscores Med Safety Awareness

Pharmacy OneSource Inc recently launched the Sharing Pharmacy Experience and Knowledge (SPEAK) initiative to focus public and industry attention on medication safety awareness.

Health care professionals can visit the official Web site ( and submit actions they or their organizations have taken that successfully prevented or reduced the risk of medication errors. These error reduction actions will be posted at and shared with Pharmacy OneSource.

"It is vitally important to share the actions that the health care community is implementing to help prevent medication errors," said Allen Vaida, PharmD, FASHP, executive vice president of the Institute for Safe Medication Practices (ISMP). "SPEAK will give health care professionals a chance to highlight how they have incorporated error reduction recommendations from ISMP to prevent errors and improve medication use processes."

Kirby Lester Aids Humanitarian Cause

Flood victims in Honduras' second largest city were able to receive their medications thanks to Kirby Lester's donation. The Little Friends International group was able to dispense >100,000 vitamin tablets and filled 3700 prescriptions using Kirby Lester's KL15e tablet counter.

Little Friends International, in partnership with Cure International, sent a team of physicians, nurses, dentists, and other volunteers, plus nearly 7 tons of supplies for a massive humanitarian project in San Pedro Sula in the northeast corner of Honduras.

The humanitarian group treated >3000 Hondurans, many of whom were displaced by devastating floods in October. Each patient was given 30 vitamin tablets, in addition to any necessary prescription medications. Using the KL15e counter, the 4-person field pharmacy staff finished packing all medications and vitamins in <5 days, or about 25% less time than it would have taken counting by hand.

"This is the first time we dispensed vitamins to each patient and to every member of the patient's family. This presented an unexpected amount of work for our pharmacy. The Kirby Lester machine was a godsend," commented Dr. Mary Pergiovanni, founder and president of Little Friends International. "Honduras endures about 95% humidity with frequent rains—that is not an ideal environment for any machine. We worked with Kirby Lester very hard, and it held up perfectly."

Tennessee Accelerates E-Prescribing Adoption

Tennessee is on the verge of mainstream electronic prescribing (e-prescribing) adoption. The number of active electronic prescribers in the state is at 1792, up 127% from last year, and 749% from 2006. E-prescribing also has increased. In 2008, Tennessee health care providers generated 1.5 million electronic prescriptions—a 160% increase from 2007 and about 3% of all prescriptions in the state.

In an effort to keep Tennessee on track for e-prescribing, Democratic Gov Phil Bredesen recently met with state health care leaders to launch e-Prescribe Tennessee, a collaborative framework of health care industry stakeholders that will work to accelerate e-prescribing adoption in the state. E-Prescribe Tennessee will have pharmacists, physicians, nurses, and others in public and private sector health care leading the organization.

This group will work on building cooperation and coordination among prescribing constituents and educating the public on the benefits of e-prescribing. Gov Bredesen said that the collaboration was the strategy Tennessee needed to guide them through the make-or-break period for mainstream e-prescribing adoption statewide. He emphasized that pharmacists, physicians, and state health care leaders need to continue to work together to speed up e-prescribing adoption.

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