pharmacy TECHNOLOGY news

APRIL 01, 2007

RelayHealth Will Streamline Communication

McKesson has completed the acquisition of Per-Se Technologies Inc, a provider of financial and administrative health care solutions for hospitals, physicians, and retail pharmacies. The purchase also gives McKesson the opportunity to combine the connectivity assets from both companies into a new business known as RelayHealth.

The goal of RelayHealth is to improve how physicians, hospitals, pharmacies, payers, and patients share information, interact, and collaborate to enhance the quality of care. RelayHealth will operate in a vendor-neutral manner, supporting connectivity and interoperability with both McKesson and non-McKesson solutions.

In the area of pharmacy solutions, RelayHealth combines the Per-Se Intelligent Network with McKesson pharmacy networking services to process >8.5 billion pharmacy transactions annually and maintain connections to >90% of the nation's pharmacies. For payers and providers, RelayHealth will leverage the strengths of McKesson's Transaction Solutions Hub and related services with Per-Se's corresponding revenue cycle management offerings. In the customer space, McKesson's existing RelayHealth business pioneered and is quickly growing its physician-patient connectivity and care-management tools and services that connect physicians with their patients, other physicians, providers, pharmacies, and payers.

Counterfeit Drugs Can Be Detected

Spatially Offset Raman Spectroscopy (SORS) is a new technique that can verify the ingredients of a pharmaceutical product. The technique is more accurate at identifying fake drugs, compared with the conventional methods of analysis, according to researchers in the United Kingdom.

SORS can investigate deep layers of material, separating interfering signals coming from packaging, drug coatings, and inactive ingredients. Therefore, SORS confirms the actual content and concentration of a drug without ever opening the package, reported the researchers in Analytical Chemistry (March 1, 2007).

For the study, the researchers examined multiple containers of ibuprofen and paracetamol (acetaminophen) packaged in blister packs, plastic bottles, or jars. SORS and conventional spectroscopy were used to examine each package.The findings indicated that with the conventional approach intense spectral bands from the packaging would often overlap those of the drug being evaluated. When using the SORS method, however, the signal from the packaging was effectively suppressed, providing a more accurate readout.

Independent Pharmacy Transforms Rx Filling

Tim's Pharmacy in Yelm, Wash, has implemented Innovation Associates' PharmASSIST ROBOTx system along with PharmASSIST Symphony work flow and Voice-Tech IVR to automate the pharmacy's fulfillment and refill process.

On average, the pharmacy fills 350 scripts per day and has peak days of approximately 600 prescriptions. The independent's technology suite encompasses the PharmASSIST ROBOTx system (140 dispensers), PharmASSIST SmartScale to augment manual counting for nonautomated drugs, and 6 flexible workstations to handle various workflow tasks using PharmASSIST Symphony. To automate the refill process, the pharmacy uses Voice-Tech IVR in combination with fully integrated Symphony. The PharmASSIST ROBOTx/Symphony system is integrated with Tim's Pharmacy's management system, QS/1, ensuring real-time prescription order flow.

Rxe-source Helps with Pharmacy Shortage

Robert J. Moura, MSc, director of pharmacy at Emerson Hospital in Concord, Mass, has found a way to circumvent the shortage of pharmacists to provide reliable 24/7 order fulfillment. Instead of trying to find staffing for the third shift, the hospital implemented Rxe-source.

Cardinal Health's Rxe-source provides remote medication order entry and review by pharmacists trained on a hospital's policies and procedures, who are fully licensed and state board-approved at one of Cardinal's regional service centers.

The Rxe-source works in 3 ways: (1) whenever a medication order needs to be reviewed, a staff member can fax or scan the order to the Rxe-source pharmacy service center; (2) orders are queued so that STAT orders are reviewed first. The Rxe-source pharmacist logs into the hospital's pharmacy computer through a secure connection, reviews and enters the order, and documents consultations; and (3) if the hospital uses automated dispensing cabinets, then the medication is automatically approved for the nurse to access. If the hospital does not have automation, the nurse receives a fax approval.

In addition, if the hospital has a question or needs drug information, the staff can call the Rxe-source pharmacy service center and speak with a pharmacist. The pharmacy center provides the hospital's director of pharmacy with a briefing of the shift's activities.