Pharmacy Technology News

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SmartCabinet Streamlines Operations

The Gregwire Pharmacy in Russell, Kansas, was looking to increase efficiency and diminish patient wait times while providing pharmacists with more availability to counsel patients. Implementing Innovation's PharmASSIST SmartCabinet automation system has helped them to reach their goals. "It's had a tremendous impact on our business," said Patrick Hilger, RPh, owner of Gregwire Pharmacy.

Gregwire fills about 200 prescriptions on a typical day, and that number is expected to see some growth. "After doing my homework, I eventually decided on a single PharmASSIST SmartCabinet, primarily because of the system's in-depth quality control, simultaneous counting feature, and its scalability potential," said Hilger.

The pharmacy's system consists of 2 cabinets/98 dispensers, automating the counting of the store's biggest selling prescriptions to fill about 40% to 45% of Gregwire's daily load. The SmartCabinet receives orders from the store's Speed Script pharmacy management system, and speeds up customer service by sometimes counting between 5 and 8 prescriptions simultaneously. "I also have total confidence in the system's accuracy," said Hilger. "We have never had a mistake with this system. It has so many checks and balances during replenishment and filling that it's been 100% error free."

Epocrates Essentials Comes to iPhone

Pharmacists and other clinicians can now access a plethora of medical and drug information anytime, anyplace. The Epocrates Essentials medical application is available for the iPhone and iPod Touch, putting vital care information right at one's fingertips. A new version of the software developed exclusively for the iPhone platform, the Epocrates Essentials suite introduces new features and functionality.

The software includes prescribing and safety information for >300 drugs, including pill images. The application also offers peer-reviewed disease content and evidence-based differential diagnosis developed in conjunction with the publishers of the British Medical Journal. An infectious disease treatment guide provides empiric and specific treatment recommendations, and there are hundreds of diagnostic and laboratory tests for interpretation and diagnostic support.

Other innovative features include >600 alternative medications and their drug interactions, as well as MedMath medical calculators equipped with pregnancy wheel and unit conversions. Users are able to cross-link between the drug, disease, and diagnostic content in order to take full advantage of the suite's capabilities.

Personal Health Technologies in DM Industry to See Boon

The future looks bright for providers of personal health care technologies. Purveyors of products like health monitoring devices and personal health records (PHRs) can generate >$460 million in revenue in 2013 by aiming efforts at the disease management (DM) industry, according to a recent report by the market research and consulting firm Parks Associates.

"The drumbeat grows louder each day demanding transformation of our health care system," said Harry Wang, director of Health and Mobile Product Research for Parks Associates. "The DM sector is subject to the same pressure and must act quickly or risk obsolescence in the face of competing care management models."

The report, entitled Disease Management Industry and High-Tech Adoption, outlines challenges and opportunities that exist within the DM industry. It cites changes in the field of health care, as well as President Barack Obama's stimulus package and reform initiatives as driving forces behind spending on such technologies in the coming 5 years.

"Personal technologies such as home health diagnostic and monitoring de- vices, PHRs, and Web and mobile communication applications will become competitive advantages for a new breed of DM companies," said Wang. "These tools will make DM services more effective and efficient, benefiting everyone from patients to payers." Google, IBM Give New

Meaning to Reading Body Language

Google and IBM have partnered to create software that will allow information from personal medical devices to be streamed into a patient's Google Health account or other personal health record (PHR). Physicians and other clinicians will be able to gain real-time information on patients' conditions as a result of having immediate access to information from devices used for patient monitoring, screening, and routine evaluation.

The software brings the ability to have PHRs that are completely up-to-date and accurate, providing the opportunities for health care professionals to give better overall feedback to patients on their conditions. It also allows caregivers to have remote access to a patient's condition.

IBM developed the new software based on guidelines from Continua Health Alliance, an organization focused on interoperability of personal health care products and solutions. "With close to a quarter of the world's population overweight, more than 600 million people with some form of chronic disease, and millions more reaching retirement age, the time for greater personal health management is now," said Continua President Dave Whitlinger.

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