pharmacy TECHNOLOGY news

FEBRUARY 01, 2008

Next President Should Require EHR Adoption

The Commonwealth Fund wants the next US president to ensure that all health care providers use electronic health records (EHRs) and participate in health data exchange, according to a new report.

The report, which addresses how the future president should handle the country's health care system, explained how health care payers should help finance the adoption of health information technology systems. The report also noted, however, that if the payment system is revamped to reward physicians for quality care, financial support might not be needed to push physicians to adopt EHRs.

"Within 5 years, all providers should be required to use an electronic health record and to participate in a health information exchange network that links information across clinical settings," according to the report.

James Morgan, chair of the Commonwealth Fund's Commission on a High Performance Health System, said that "further work needs to be done on the exact mechanisms by which we get" all physicians to use EHRs.

B. Braun's Smart Pump Technology Wins Accolades

B. Braun has been recognized as "Category Leader" in the KLAS Top 20 Mid-Year Report Card for Smart Pump Technology for 2007. The KLAS Top 20 Report is a biannual report card of vendor performance.

Based on the opinions of health care executives, managers, and clinicians, B. Braun Smart Pumps outscored the competition, receiving high marks in the categories "Contracting Experiences," "Keeps Promises," "Technology Easy to Implement/Support," and "Works as Promoted."

Gale White, vice president of Infusion Systems, said the recognition echoes the response the company receives from customers using B. Braun's Outlook Safety Infusion System suite of products and services. "Our design goals for the pumps—safety, reliability, and ease of use—reflect what our customers need and want," said White.

The Outlook 300 Safety Infusion System improves department efficiency by identifying trends in medication delivery use and accesses a real-time view of intravenous (IV) therapy progress for continuous maintenance. The system also provides immediate access to DoseGuard dose-limit data for continuous safety improvement, tracks medication-delivery trends to identify clinical support and training needs, and gives at-a-glance visualization of vital information concerning a patient's IV therapy.

HHS Awards Grants for Health Care Information Network

The Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) recently awarded $22.5 million in contracts to 9 health information exchanges (HIEs) for pilot implementation of a Nationwide Health Information Network (NHIN). The contracts are successors to 4 contracts for developing NHIN models.

The new contracts represented a critical step toward meeting the Bush administration's goal of having electronic health records for most Americans by 2014, according to John Loonsk, MD, director of the Office of Interoperability and Standards in HHS' Office of the National Coordinator for Health Information Technology.

In consideration for the grant monies, the HIEs did not have to be operational when they submitted their proposals, but they had to show that they had assembled the necessary components for an operational HIE with substantial participation from the medical community and an open government structure. The group will exchange information securely with one another and within their organizations, and they will implement scenarios marked as priorities by the American Health Information Community, an HHS advisory committee.

The groups will work collectively through an NHIN Cooperative organized by the national coordinator's office. The cooperative will hold 3 public meetings and demonstrate its outcomes in the fall of 2008.

MRA Helps Independents Increase Profits

McKesson Corp's recently launched McKesson Reimbursement Advantage (MRA) is advancing the future of independent pharmacy by connecting independent pharmacies to new solutions designed to help them increase their profits and offer new sources of revenue.

Amid continued pressure on reimbursement rates due to Average Manufacturer Price legislation and other industry issues, all pharmacy practice settings need to focus on maximum reimbursement for the drugs they dispense to patients. Recognizing the importance of addressing underadjudicated, unpaid, and underpaid claims, chain pharmacies perform real-time validation and processing of claim submission data to optimize reimbursement and minimize errors.

Independent pharmacies, however, generally lack the time and resources to perform edits and reconcile claims. They also may lack the time to follow up with third-party payers to get the money. MRA will provide pharmacies with a reimbursement optimization package, comprising financial and analytic services, customer care, and market-leading pre- and postedits. Pilot data indicate a pharmacy can increase its net profit by $150 to $1250 per month using the solution.