Pharmacy Technology News

DECEMBER 01, 2008

‣ Conference Pushes for E-prescribing

The recent National E-prescribing Conference drew >1400 health care professionals and industry leaders. Hosted by the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS), the conference encouraged the adoption of electronic prescribing (e-prescribing).

An e-prescribing incentive payment program is included in the recently enacted Medicare Improvements for Patients and Providers Act of 2008. Under the legislation, scheduled to begin January 1, 2009, physicians who adopt e-prescribing technology in 2009 and 2010 will receive a 2% bonus in their Medicare payments. Clinicians who use the technology in 2011 and 2012 will receive a 1% bonus; and those who use it in 2013 will receive a 0.5% bonus. Physicians who do not use the technology will see a reduction in their Medicare payments.

"Some doctors have been doing it for 10-plus years, and some will continue to resist it," noted David Brailer, MD, chairman of Health Evolution Partners. Health and Human Services Secretary Michael O. Leavitt said, "We need the health care system to get better, and e-prescribing is the next logical step."

As for selecting e-prescribing technology, the government has not designated a preferred vendor. "We've kept it vendor neutral," explained Kerry Weems, CMS acting administrator. "We said, 'Let's have standards and let the market dictate who meets them.'"

‣ IntelliDOT Modules Help Optimize Patient Safety

Louisiana State University Health Care Services Division plans to integrate 3 modules from IntelliDOT Corp as part of an enhanced patient safety initiative.

The IntelliDOT Bedside Medication Administration has easy-to-read screen prompts that guide the nurse through medication administration workflows at the bedside. The system is used to verify the 5 rights of medication administration. Each nurse receives customized prompts and warnings to ensure medications are administered and documented correctly.

Using the same handheld device and a small portable wireless printer, the IntelliDOT Mother–Baby Breast Milk Matching allows the nurse to print bar code labels for milk containers at the time the milk is received from the mother, or the mother can take and apply the labels at home. At administration, the infant's identification band is scanned along with the breast milk container, ensuring positive identification and accurate feeding.

The IntelliDOT Vital Signs Collection takes vital sign information and clinical documentation and captures it using the same handheld device. The captured data can populate the electronic medication administration record or electronic flow sheets and/or print on separate patient-specific flow sheets. The admissions, discharges, transfers, and pharmacy-encoded orders will be passed from McKesson Horizon Pharmacy System via an HL7 interface and will be sent wirelessly to the IntelliDOT handheld.

‣ Guide Helps Clinicians Go Paperless

The eHealth Initiative and several health care organizations have issued the first comprehensive how-to guide to help clinicians make informed decisions about how and when to transition from paper to electronic prescribing (e-prescribing) systems.

"We know e-prescribing is an efficient way to improve health care delivery, decrease medication errors, and prevent potentially dangerous drug interactions," said Janet Marchibroda, eHealth Initiative chief executive officer. "However, the transition from a paper to electronic system is quite challenging."

Developed under the guidance of a steering group comprised of clinicians, pharmacies, health plans, employers, and 4 major medical associations, "A Clinician's Guide to Electronic Prescribing" is designed to meet the needs of 2 target audiences. The first section of the guide targets office-based clinicians who are new to the concept of e-prescribing. The second section of the guide targets office-based clinicians who are ready to move forward and bring e-prescribing into their practices.

‣ CA Hospital Implements PharmASSIST Solutions

Little Company of Mary Hospital-Torrance (Torrance, CA) has implemented Innovation's PharmASSIST ROBOTx and PharmASSIST Symphony systems as a key component of its ongoing patient safety initiative.

From a workflow perspective, PharmASSIST Symphony provides bar code scanning for every step of the pharmacy's fulfillment process. To begin the workflow, pharmacy staff scan every hard copy prescription, enabling a paperless workflow by which they can view the original prescription image during Rx verification or when tracking or troubleshooting a prescription.

In order to process an average of 200 Rxs daily, with peaks reaching 250, the pharmacy employs a 100 dispenser ROBOTx system completely integrated with the PharmASSIST Symphony workflow and its workstations. The PharmASSIST systems are in turn integrated with the pharmacy's HCC pharmacy management system and Voice-Tech IVR for refill processing