Cool Pharmacy Technology – Verification by MedKeeper

I had an opportunity to spend some time at MedKeeper headquarters in Westminster, CO last week. I’ve worked with MedKeeper before, but this was the first time I had the opportunity to visit the facility and meet their team.

MedKeeper is a company that makes several products for acute care pharmacy, specifically they develop software targeted at pharmacy operations. Some of you may know them for their medication tracking system, MedBoard.
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Drug monitoring in IV tubing using Raman spectroscopy

chemistryworld: “Recent research, led by Brian Cunningham at the University of Illinois in the US, has produced biomedical tubing that uses surface enhanced Raman spectroscopy (SERS) to monitor the contents and concentrations of drugs within a patient’s IV line.  The plasmonic nanodome array surface enhances the Raman signals.  The tubing could detect 10 pharmaceutical compounds with reproducible signals for a period of up to five days. For four of the drugs, the signal magnitude was dependent upon the drug concentration and combinations of compounds could also be detected, giving a much more detailed picture of a patient’s medication.” – This is great work being done by the University of Illinois. I’ve contemplated something like this in the past.

SERS_IVdrugID
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RFID vs barcode technologies

MedKeeper: “Based on similar use cases, the comparison between bar code and RFID technologies is inevitable. Several papers have reviewed the use of these technologies in hopes of defining best practice. Young concluded that a coordinated use of these technologies might provide the best compromise between implementation costs and potential benefits.   RFID technology, with its high cost, may be most appropriate for patient identification, while the lower cost of bar code systems may be more appropriate for material inventory.[3]

Sun et al.[4] arrived at a similar conclusion. In this case, the authors evaluated medication error reduction. Due to the high cost of RFID tags and readers the authors proposed a system utilizing less costly bar codes for unit-dose medications while using an RFID-embedded wristband worn by patients for identification.”
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Things get interesting as #Aesynt acquires Health Robotics

Business Wire: “Aesynt™ announced it has completed the acquisition of Health Robotics, the leading global supplier of automated technology for intravenous (IV) medication preparation, compounding and dispensing.”

For those of you that have short memories, Aesynt is basically a spin-off of the acute care pharmacy side of McKesson. It’s a big group that specializes in things like automated carousels, inventory management software, packaging and bar-coding technology, controlled substance management hardware and software, and a robotic distribution system, i.e. “the McKesson robot”.

Health Robotics is a company that specializes in IV room automation and technology. They have two robots: i.v.STATION for non-hazardous compounding and i.vSTATION ONCO for hazardous compounding, i.e. chemotherapy. Their robots compete with both Intelligent Hospital Systems – the RIVA robot – and APOTECAchemo. They also have i.v.SOFT, a workflow management system that competes against the likes of DoseEdge by Baxter, among others.

Someone at Aesynt has been paying attention. Interest in IV room technology has been steadily growing for the past few years, basically telegraphing the demand that we’re seeing today. This definitely puts Aesynt in a unique position in the acute care pharmacy space, especially when you consider that they also offer a point of care distribution system and something for anesthesia.

The acquisition of Health Robotics by Aesynt is sure to send some ripples through the world of pharmacy automation and technology. Grab some popcorn and settle back in your chair. As interest in the IV room continues to grow, and as companies begin to fight for market share, things are surely going to get interesting. Exciting stuff.

Using Google Glass in the pharmacy [youtube video from Drug Topics]

“Barry Bryant is owner of Barney’s Pharmacy in Augusta, Ga. He and his clinical pharmacy educator, Jake Galdo, discuss some of the ways this new technology can be used in the pharmacy.”

It was bound to happen eventually. Someone in pharmacy finally decided to play with Google Glass. Nothing too specific, apparently just tossing around some ideas, but nice to see. I hope these guys continue to post their experience with glass.

The HIPAA comment cracks me up. The comments about Glass being a HIPAA issue are nonsensical because the same concerns apply to any photo taken with any camera, whether it’s from Glass, a phone, a security camera, and so on. People fretting over the concept of taking a photo of someone is crazy. With that said I’ve come to expect comments like this.

UCSF and Walgreens “reimagining pharmacy care”. Yeah, not so much…

baby_cryingUCSF: “A new initiative by UC San Francisco and Walgreens seeks to turn those numbers around, starting at the neighborhood pharmacy….“Walgreens at UCSF” is a pilot store that offers the most advanced level of community pharmacy care available in the United States today. It starts with the store’s unusual layout: Walk inside and the first thing you see isn’t racks of cosmetics or greeting cards; instead there’s a concierge desk where you can arrange a private consultation with a pharmacist or find out whether your prescription is ready. Pharmacists work with every customer to make sure they understand the medication they’re picking up, while also offering services such as the medication management that brought Helen to UCSF… For UCSF, it will serve as a teaching ground for student pharmacists completing their doctoral degree program, a clinical training site for pharmacy residents, and a research facility that explores new pharmacy patient-care models and programs.”

I found myself at UCSF Medical Center earlier this week and decided to visit the new Walgreens. I had previously read about the setup on Twitter and a couple of articles I found online.

Here are my thoughts and experiences regarding the “Wallgreens at UCSF”.
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How to get InkSeine to run on a Windows 8 tablet

I’ve written about InkSeine before. It’s a great little application for those of us that like inking on a tablet, but it’s an older application that was never put into production. InkSeine was never updated to work with Windows 8, either. I’ve tried, and failed, several times to get it up and running on my Windows 8 machines.

However, I finally got around to trying a workaround that a reader left as a comment on my site back in October; yeah, sometimes I’m a little slow.

Tawanda October 15, 2013 at 10:17 am –  Jerry, here’s how I got Inkseine working. I use a PDF markup software called Bluebeam Revu. Without bluebeam installed, Inkseine crashes on launch the way most users are reporting. Install Bluebeam back and Inkseine runs fine. So it looks like Bluebeam installs some Microsoft components that Inkseine requires, I just haven’t tried to figure out which ones. But it works. Install Bluebeam Revu even if you will never run it, and Inkseine runs well. Hopefully other tinkers will key out the components required so that those who do not use Bluebeam Revu do not have to install it. Hope it helps.

Works like a charm. Bluebeam Revu can be found here. I was going to purchase the software, but it’s $220. I downloaded the trial instead. Anyway, InkSeine is working perfectly on my ASUS VivoTab Note 8.

Good luck and enjoy.

Application for Wacom’s new WILL technology in healthcare

PC World: “Wacom has grand designs for a new graphical language…WILL, short for Wacom Ink Layer Language, will store pen strokes in a Stroke File Format and allow them to be streamed using its Stroke Messaging Format. The file formats capture not only coordinates and pressure, but also who made an ink stroke, and when…One of the more far-fetched usage scenarios Wang proposed for WILL involved digitally signing documents using a pen that would certify who had manipulated it thanks to a built-in DNA sampling device.”

Like it or not the human race still loves to communicate via pen and paper.1 It’s a process that’s been ingrained in us for a very long time. It’s natural, and it’s going to be quite some time before we’re able to move to a completely different medium for communication. We’re well on our way to a digital world, but that won’t replace our need to use pen and paper for a great many things for quite some time to come.
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Difficulty collecting information on pharmacy technology

I’ve been collecting information on pharmacy IV room systems for the better part of the past eight months. I’m talking about system designed to help pharmacists not only manage their IV room workflow, but also help with safety, efficiency, documentation, and so on.

These systems are becoming more and more popular these days as the powers to be, i.e. the FDA and pharmacy boards are about to get heavy handed with pharmacy IV rooms.
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PillPack: a new way of thinking about an old problem

I read a Wall Street Journal article this morning about an online pharmacy called PillPack that’s doing something a little different. “PillPack mails its customers their medications every two weeks, but rather than putting them into several big bottles, the company pre-sorts them into sealed, single-dose packs, based on when a patient needs to take their medications throughout the day. The pills arrive in a long chain of dose packs, linked together on a recyclable dispenser roll.

It’s not a new concept at all. In fact, the idea has been tossed around in certain pharmacy circles for years. Many companies are capable of providing such a service, but most lack the vision to bring the concept to life. Perhaps PillPack can provide enough value to its customers to make it viable. I really hope it works out for the company. At least they’re thinking outside the box, er, inside the box.

PillPack should really think about partnering with local hospitals and deliver discharge meds to the patient bedside in this handy format. Counsel the patient, make sure they have their meds, automatically enroll them in the mail order service, and so on. Just sayin’.