Patient safety is focus of technology showcase at ASHP meeting

January 28, 2008

From pharmacy automation to environmentally friendly drug disposal solutions, many new technology products are on display at the ASHP show.

Here is a sampling of the kinds of technological innovations showcased at the meeting:

McKesson Corp. of San Francisco marked the first anniversary of its High Performance Pharmacy Web site by introducing a supplementary assessment tool and benchmarking service. Pharmacists and health-system executives who visit the site can now use the interactive High Performance Pharmacy Assessment Tool to evaluate their institution's practices and identify ways to achieve the best performance. For pharmacists who wonder how their business measures up to others in the industry, McKesson has created the High Performance Pharmacy Benchmarking Service. Users of this service can compare their pharmacy operations to others based on size, dispensing models, and deployed technology.

In December 2006, Omnicell Inc. gave nurses the ability to obtain a filtered list of patients' medication orders. Now the Mountain View, Calif.-based company is enabling nurses and hospital pharmacists to store, manage, and track medications with its SinglePointe software. SinglePointe provides caregivers with an auto-assign process that matches patients and their medications that are not routinely stocked in a hospital's dispensing system. The software also sends out a warning when drugs should no longer be used and reminds nurses to transfer medications to a different part of the hospital when patients are transferred between floors or units.

Asolva Inc. of Los Angeles unveiled a Web-based tool that allows hospital pharmacists to compile clinical data on patients. Medici links with a hospital's electronic medical records system to help pharmacists collect data such as medication profiles. Besides enabling pharmacists to make better decisions on patient care, Medici allows R.Ph.s to input notes and status flags that can be shared with colleagues, resulting in more stringent monitoring of compliance and patients' progress.

Cardinal Health took advantage of its recent partnership with Sentry Data Systems Inc. of Deerfield Beach, Fla., to teach hospitals how to capture the savings benefit of the 340B Drug Pricing Program. Using Sentry Data Systems' Sentinel RCM (Revenue Cycle Manager) software, hospitals can better track inventory, automate their pharmaceutical procurement and replenishment for 340B, and computerize wholesale acquisition and group purchasing organization contracts. The software also tracks drug purchases, dispensations, and billing.

QuadraMed of Reston, Va., provided demonstrations of its Pharmacy Integrated Medication Management (IMM), a wireless point-of-care medication scanning system that enables pharmacists and nurses to verify patients' identities and validate drugs against active orders. The system-designed to reduce medication errors and streamline workflow- allows nurses to use handheld wireless scanners at patients' bedside to ensure they are receiving the proper doses of medication. Pharmacy IMM also allows pharmacists to verify patient medication orders and helps enhance communication with doctors and nurses.

THE AUTHOR is a writer based in New Jersey.