If you float something out over the internet, someone is going to see it and keep you honest. Remember what I said, “There is always someone smarter, harder working, more motivated and better informed than me, and those are the people I want to hear from.” Well, those people have responded with some great information pertaining to barcoding and pharmacy automation.
Below are some of the responses I’ve received from readers:
Me: Free text comment field in the formulary that prints on the AutoPharm labels. Simple things like ** look-alike-sound-alike ** or ** do not tube to floor **, etc.
Them: I’ve added this to our requirement list for our next version. Our final scoping is happening over the next few days so I’ll keep you in the loop on whether it gets in.
Me: The ability to place filters on items from within the AutoPharm software. If an item will never be filled in Pyxis, then I don’t want it showing up on my Pyxis fill. A small check box in the AutoPharm formulary that reads “do not include in Pyxis fill” or “do not fill” would be greatly appreciated. I really don’t need to see another label for “Pharmacokietics Protocol”. AutoPharm currently has options to exclude non-formulary items, but the function needs to be more flexible. Currently I work directly with our Pyxis engineer to filter items as necessary.
Them: We have a feature that may satisfy your need, as long as you want to filter drugs at a system level and not at a MedStation level. In your Pyxis console, assign the meds you don’t want to fill through AutoPharm with specific med classes (e.g. narcotics) . Then in the Talyst ADUI configuration screen, filter out these med classes. These won’t be fulfilled by AutoPharm.
Me: The ability to track incorrectly scanned medications. Knowing how often the AutoPharm software prevents the pharmacy from sending the wrong medication to a patient is important. It is also important to understand under what circumstances (i.e. increased workload, staffing shortage, etc) this occurs. There is literature to support attaching a dollar amount to these “near misses” and the people that write the checks around here love that type of information.
Them: I’ve added this to our requirement list for our next version. I’ll keep you in the loop on whether it gets in.
Me: Lot number and expiration tracking. This information is valuable for tracking FDA recalls and for keeping outdated medications off the floor.
Them: This is scoped for our upcoming Patient Safety release!
Me: 2-D barcode option for AutoPack and AutoLabel.
Them: We are currently able to print 2D labels. Please work with Technical Support on this.
Me: Large touch screen monitors for the carousels. It appears this may already be an option. I look forward to trying them out.
Them: Yes, touch screen monitors can be used. However, the AutoPharm application has not been written with touch-screen in mind, so some of the interface may be challenging to use in a touch-screen situation.
Me: Smaller CPUs for the carousels. I’ve heard rumors that this has already been done, however I have not seen them myself.
Them: Yes, you are correct. This is underway.
Me: Light sensitive packaging for AutoPack. It doesn’t happen often, but occasionally we are forced to use other, less reliable methods of unit-dosing our medications secondary to light sensitivity of the tablet in question (ondansetron comes to mind).
Them: For a 70 x 70 mm packet, USP [Section 661 on Containers and light transmission] states the container cannot allow more than 10 % of light of any wavelength between 290 and 450 nm into it. The UV light spectrum has an upper limit of 400 nm, so in essence we are focused on UV. Typically, a yellowish brown tint is added to plastic vials and containers in various degrees for just such a purpose, but as you’re aware our current film does not incorporate such a feature. Such a feature would need to be investigated for feasibility.
Me: A monthly news letter from Talyst detailing new ways to use their products would be great. There is always someone smarter, harder working, more motivated and better informed than me, and those are the people I want to hear from.
Them: Great idea! I love it. Talking with the folks here about this.
Me: The one recommendation I have for Pyxis is to allow for scanning of the medication barcode in leu of the PARx barcode. Scanning the label creates an additional step and introduces an opportunity for error (i.e. wrong label attached to the drug). Pyxis says that it’s not possible due to the number of medications on the market, but I say it is possible because our entire barcode database resides in the AutoPharm formulary.
Them: This functionality is available. What you would need to do is get a hold of your Pyxis engineer and have them do Scanned Code Maintenance in the Procar. They have to teach all the medications scans to Pyxis (similar to you scanning barcodes into AutoPharm). This would allow the technicians to scan the medication at the station. A few things to know is that I believe you need to have the new resident scanners at the stations. These would be with 3500 or 4000. The older scanners cannot read some of the RSS stacked 14 barcodes or some 2D barcodes that manufacturers are printing now. The other thing is that I believe if you use this functionality it will not populate the qty picked. - This reply is great because I have asked Pyxis about this very thing and always been told it couldn’t be done. All I could ever say was “oh”. Now that I’ve been educated the conversation will be a little bit more interesting.
Maybe this whole “internet thing” is worth while after all.