Technology Update

July 11, 2005

Pharmacists can sign up for a free e-mail service to keep abreast of what's happening with the Medicare Rx drug benefit.

Pharmacists can sign up for a free e-mail service to keep abreast of what's happening with the Medicare Rx drug benefit. The Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services started the e-mails to be sure that pharmacists have the latest information to be able to help beneficiaries. To sign up, go to http://www.cms.hhs.gov/mailinglists; enter your name and e-mail address, and scroll down to select the listserv entitled Pharmacy_ MMA-L. Then click the "submit request" button.

Haywireless Hospira has launched a wireless version of its Hospira MedNet system that helps hospitals define medication dose limits and track IV drug delivery in an attempt to prevent errors. The scalable, customizable system has real-time send-and-receive capabilities and links to the hospital information system network, according to the firm, which is based in Lake Forest, Ill. The Web site is http://www.hospira.com/.

Rub-a-dub-dub Pharmacists who grab a bite to eat and a Coke at the counter might want to check out a new washable computer keyboard from Unotron. Unlike standard boards, the SpillSeal keyboard keys are individually sealed so liquid cleaners and disinfectants can't penetrate. The Westwood, N.J., firm also touts the cleanable keyboard as a way to reduce infections. It's available in corded and wireless versions. For further information, go to http://www.unotron.com/; or telephone (800) 381-5817.

Home sweet home Healthy Living has entered the home respiratory care market with a compressor nebulizer. The tabletop model weighs less than five pounds and operates on standard power, according to the firm that is a division of Samsung Healthcare. The unit includes a mouthpiece, adult- and child-sided masks, five replacement filters, and delivery tubing. The cup holds up to 5 ml of medication that's broken down to 0.5-micron size particles.

Speaking of diabetes The $5 billion glucose monitor market is in for a shakeup as advances in sensing electronics and signal processing come on line to challenge blood sample-based monitors, according to research by Greystone Associates. Optical, thermal, and radio frequency monitors will lead the way to noninvasive glucose testing over the next 18 to 24 months, said the medical technology consulting firm. Additional information is at http://www.greystoneassociates.org/.

Risky business The American Diabetes Association has launched a free interactive Web-based tool to help diabetes patients and people at risk of developing diabetes, heart disease, or stroke to better manage their health. The Diabetes PHD (Personal Health Decisions) is a risk-profiling program that lets users input personal health parameters, such as age, sex, height, weight, health history, and medications. The tool then calculates a detailed health-risk profile. The user can modify the profile by changing variables, such as weight and lipid levels, to see the effect on their long-term risk of diabetes and its complications. The URL is http://www.diabetes.org/diabetesphd.

United we stand Healthprolink Inc., a clinical pharmacy documentation firm, has joined forces with Pharmacy OneSource, a provider of professional information and formulary management tools. The combined firm will supply services to more than 650 healthcare organizations nationwide. The Web sites are at http://www.pharmacyonesource.com/ and http://www.healthprolink.com/.