New software streamlines patient profile review

April 16, 2007

Pharmacy OneSource has a new Web-based software, called Sentri7, that can monitor medication, laboratory, and patient data.

Screening hospital patient profiles for medication problems and potential improvements just got easier. Pharmacy OneSource has a new Web-based software, called Sentri7, that can monitor medication, laboratory, and patient data. It also provides data review results on Web pages individualized for each user.

"Profile review prevents errors, reduces length of stay, and ensures optimal use of medications." So said Charles Westergard, R.Ph., MBA, a former hospital pharmacist and now VP of product design at Pharmacy OneSource. By reviewing patient chart information, pharmacists can identify problems such as incorrect dosing, adverse reactions, and drug interactions and pinpoint opportunities for drug changes.

While profile review is critical for optimal patient care, it takes time for pharmacists to look over all patient data and screen for potential changes. When OneSource surveyed hospital pharmacists, it learned that almost 90% of the respondents spent at least an hour a day performing medication and lab profile reviews-time that could be used for other tasks.

Numerous software programs are available for hospital pharmacists. A handful of them perform profile reviews similar to those that pharmacists do manually. Of these, Sentri7 is unique, according to Keith Streckenbach, executive VP, Pharmacy OneSource. It is the first pharmacy-specific, Web-hosted software to analyze existing medication, lab, and patient data systems, then provide results on detailed patient-specific Web pages.

Sentri7 works with whatever software and hardware hospitals use to record medication, lab, and patient data, allowing pharmacists to specify which patient data and parameters to follow. They can screen large patient groups for adverse reactions and drug interactions. They can narrow the screen to a patient group or unit, such as neonatal intensive care, then screen these patients for specific qualities based on the data fields provided by the hospital's lab and medication software.

Pharmacists can run several different screenings concurrently and receive results from all of them when they sign in to their Sentri7 Web page. On the page, pharmacists can also view what Pharmacy OneSource calls a patient card-all of a patient's information on one screen. "The patient card is one feature that consistently wows pharmacists who review Sentri7," Streckenbach said. It contains current values, trended values, and directional indicators. Farther down the screen are historical values of lab, chemistry, bacteriology, and demographic data, in addition to medications. "Most pharmacists envision presenting a printout of this screen along with their intervention recommendation to the physician," said Streckenbach.

While Sentri7 does not currently incorporate clinical assessment data, it does incorporate lab values and test results associated with renal, hepatic, and cardiac functions, as well as disease states and conditions. He added that Sentri7 data are stored and processed on Pharmacy OneSource's servers. The data are secure, and both the storage and displayed Web pages are compliant with the Health Insurance Portability & Accountability Act of 1996 (HIPAA).

Pharmacy OneSource charges a subscription fee for Sentri7; it can be paid monthly or annually. The cost is lower than that for installed hardware or software, according to Streckenbach. If hospital pharmacists do choose to incorporate Sentri7 into their current systems, Pharmacy OneSource provides ongoing customer support and upgrades for the software.

Adding software programs and services can increase up-front costs for hospitals, but companies like Pharmacy OneSource say the resulting cost savings are more than worth the investment. Profile review can improve patient care and reduce costs. Automating profile review can save pharmacists valuable time and increase cost savings.

THE AUTHOR is a clinical writer based in the Seattle area.