Pharmacy Technology News

Pharmacy Times, Volume 0, 0

Virginia Hospital InstallsIntelliFill i.v.

Inova HealthSystem has selectedthe IntelliFilli.v. to automatemost of itssmall volumeintravenous (IV)medication preparation. The healthcare system will implement the pharmacyrobotic system at its Inova FairfaxHospital campus in Falls Church,Va. The campus is comprised of 3 facilitiesserving 833 beds.

ForHealth Technologies Inc's Intellifilli.v. system automates the compoundingand labeling of IV medication dosesin syringes with a combination of accuracy,reliability, and speed often notpossible using manual processes. Thesystem uses bar-code scanning, visionsystems, and weight confirmationsteps and delivers patient-labeled, barcodedsyringes prepared in an ISOClass 4 environment. Therefore, IntelliFill i.v. minimizes the risks of touchcontamination during preparation, lowersdrug budget costs, and reduces thechances of medication errors.

Brenda Jo Simmons, PharmD, directorof pharmacy for Inova Fairfax Hospital,said "By automating our IV preparation,we will be able to take the human factorout of the equation and redeploystaff to work with our medical teams onmore cognitive functions and on clinicalintervention for our patients."

Public Input Will Help ImproveEfficiency

Industry leaders, practitioners, andthe public were recently asked to commenton model standards to avertmedical claim errors and uncoverhealth care fraud that will be recommendedfor use in electronic healthrecords (EHRs). These model claims-efficiencystandards are being developedby experts assembled by theResearch Triangle Institute (RTI). Thegoal is improve claims accuracy and toreduce the ability for individuals to createfalse claims and other improperpayments against public and privatehealth care plans.

"The move to EHR systems representsa unique opportunity for improvingbilling accuracy and reducinghealth care fraud and improper payments;however, the model standardsdeveloped must be critiqued by thelarger community in order to be meaningfuland useful to those who will usethe systems," explained Colleen McCue,PhD, RTI senior research scientist andproject manager.

The research team is working withthe National Health Care AntifraudAssociation, health care providers,health insurers, federal agencies, andthe Health Information TechnologyStandards Panel. During the 6-monthproject, the group will create modelclaims-efficiency standards for EHRsthat will prevent, detect, and supportthe prosecution of health care fraud, aswell as reducing opportunities for erroror fraud.

HDMA Focuses on System to TrackDrugs

Implementation of a track-and-tracesystem is a crucial step in keeping thepharmaceutical supply chain safe.Healthcare Distribution ManagementAssociation (HDMA) Chairman Mark W.Parrish, chief executive officer of thehealth care supply chain for CardinalHealth Inc, discussed this bold move atthe recent RFID (radio frequency identification)Health Care Industry AdoptionSummit.

He said a target date needs to bedeclared for when the industry will beready to implement a track-and-tracesystem that meets the needs of allstakeholders. "Ensuring the integrity ofthe health care supply chain is not onlyour commitment—it is our responsibilityas its guardians. It's the right thing,and probably the most important thing,to do to maintain the high level of confidencethe public and the patient haveplaced with us," he said.

Members of HDMA are working tocreate a coalition of constituents of thepharmaceutical supply chain to establisha target date for industry-wide implementationof a consistent trackand-trace system. He said the groupwill continue to discuss the initiativewith pharmacy associations.

Initiative Uses RFID and EPCIS

AmerisourceBergen Corp is launchinga Track and Trace Program for thepharmaceutical supply chain at itslargest distribution center in California.The initiative will use radio frequencyidentification (RFID) and electronicproduct code information system(EPCIS) technology to track and traceproducts throughout the entire distributionprocess.

In the pilot, AmerisourceBergen willuse IBM's RFID middleware andembedded software on readers to readRFID tags currently used by certainpharmaceutical manufacturers asthose products enter the distributioncenter. The product identification fromeach RFID tag will be electronicallystored in IBM's EPCIS.

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

The next step in the pilot programwill be to connect the company's EPCISdirectly to other business partnerEPCIS systems and to select pharmaceuticalmanufacturer systems.