Medication error reduction driving technology trends

tech roundnup at ASHP midyear 2001



Medication error reduction driving technology trends

Information technology and pharmacy automation vendors were out in force at the ASHP Midyear Clinical Meeting in December. Not surprisingly, the prevention of medication errors was the catalyst behind an array of new products and services. Here's a sampling of the technology products that were on display at ASHP.

Tucson, Ariz.-based Sunquest Information Systems demonstrated two new offerings: FlexiMed pharmacy information system release 5.5.1 and Clinical Event Manager (CEM). The new version of FlexiMed includes dose-range checking (DRC) technology that allows practitioners to monitor dose compliance while at the same time consider patient demographic information such as height and weight. The DRC component compares dose, frequency, and duration of a medication order against established dose range in conjunction with patient-specific information.

Micromedex, based in Greenwood Village, Colo., unveiled mobileMicromedex, a handheld device designed to verify medications at the point of care. The PDA utilizes a Palm operating system and allows end users to access and download clinical content, including alternative medicine, drug information, toxicology information, and acute care information. The mobileMicromedex software is free to current Micromedex customers who subscribe to the Healthcare Series for Windows, Intranet, or Healthcare Series on-line versions.

Palo Alto, Calif.-based Omnicell unveiled a physician order management system and new software that tracks the movement of controlled substances. OmniLinkRx is a physician order management system that simplifies the communication of orders from remote nursing stations to the pharmacy. Orders are scanned into digital senders located at nursing stations, where the image is electronically communicated to the pharmacy.


In the area of automated dispensing, Houston-based Integrated Dispensing Systems released a new product in its pharmacy automation line of products. The IDS500 is a medication-dispensing robot that utilizes bar-code technology. The IDS500 can process multiple orders simultaneously and can be restocked as it dispenses.

Alaris Medical announced the general North American release of a modular intravenous infusion platform with proprietary medication error-prevention software. The Medley Medication Safety System integrates drug infusion and monitoring systems at the bedside. Alaris' Guardrail Safety Software prompts caregivers when programming goes outside any of up to 1,000 of the hospital-determined best-practice guidelines.

Deerfield, Ill.-based Baxter Healthcare Corp. released its new medication infusion pump software with features designed to enhance patient safety through the reduction of IV medication programming errors. The Colleague Guardian software feature allows a hospital to enter its own standard drug infusion protocol into the Colleague drug library. This enables hospitals to set customized dose limits for more than 90 different drug protocols.

McKesson Corp. and Alaris Medical chose the ASHP meeting to announce a long-term strategic agreement to develop and co-market new products designed to reduce IV medication errors. McKesson hopes that the new products will complement McKesson Automation's core products in hospital data management and bar-coding technology.

McKesson announced an alliance with Shands Hospital, at the University of Florida, where the facility will implement MedCarousel, an automatic medication storage and retrieval system that fully integrates with McKesson Automation's ConnectRx platform. There it will share database information with all other McKesson automation products, including the ROBOT-Rx and AccuDose-Rx.

Pyxis Corp., a subsidiary of Cardinal Health, announced plans to enter into an alliance with VisualMED Clinical Systems Corp. of Canada, to offer a comprehensive repository-based clinical toolset for healthcare providers. Under the agreement, Pyxis will distribute VisualMed's computer physician order entry system (CPOE) and clinical decision support systems in the United States and Canada. Pyxis hopes to provide an effective bedside solution, incorporating information resources for results reporting, order entry, medication verification, and clinical data collection.

Oklahoma City-based ForHealth Technologies unveiled the PARxD IV system, a robotic technology that can prepare 60-300 syringe-based doses per hour and 500 syringes in eight hours without operator intervention. The PARxD IV selects, reconstitutes, and labels small-volume parenteral (SVP) precuts in syringe-based dosage forms.

Anthony Vecchione


Tony Vecchione. Medication error reduction driving technology trends.

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