Even the best things can be improved.

I had the opportunity to speak with a nice young lady from Talyst this morning about extending our barcoding system to our pharmacy satellites. She had great insight into what we wanted to do and offered some very helpful tips. The conversation took an interesting turn when she asked me how I liked the system and where I thought improvements could be made. After the initial shock of a vendor asking me my opinion, we spent a few minutes discussing the system and how our workflow has changed for the better.

Overall, we have been very pleased with our barcoding system. I wish all platforms ran as smoothly as our Talyst products. However, there is always room for improvement. I understand that Talyst is currently working on a “big” new release of their AutoPharm software that is focused on patient safety. I don’t have specifics, but it is possible that some of the items listed here are already in the works.

Things I would like to see in future AutoPharm/AutoPack/AutoLabel products include:

♦ The ability to modify the time limit for Ordered Meds Not Loaded (OMNL) reprints. Our facility is > 90% Pyxis for medication distribution. We do a lot of OMNLs each and every day. AutoPharm is smart enough to tell us we have an OMNL, just not patient enough to give us time to fill them before spitting out a duplicate request. This results in the same medication getting stacked on the counter before the first can  be loaded. We ended up turning the OMNL notification feature off.

♦ Better integration among AutoPharm, AutoPack and AutoLabel. I would like to have a single formulary to manage and be able to manage it from any location.

♦ 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.

♦ 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.

♦ 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.

♦ Lot number and expiration tracking. This information is valuable for tracking FDA recalls and for keeping outdated medications off the floor.

♦ 2-D barcode option for AutoPack and AutoLabel.

♦ Customization of AutoPack and AutoLabel barcodes. Currently the AutoPharm system does not recognize the difference between a unit-dosed, barcode ready medication generate from AutoPack and a bulk bottle of the same medication stored in the carousel. The barcodes both utilize the NDC number as the unique identifier.

♦ Customer defined reports. I would like to see Talyst build a robust report writer or give customers access to the data tables. The model reports are good, but there is always more information I would like to have. Anyone can collect data, but few people actually know what to do with it.

♦ Large touch screen monitors for the carousels. It appears this may already be an option. I look forward to trying them out.

♦ Smaller CPUs for the carousels. I’ve heard rumors that this has already been done, however I have not seen them myself.

♦ 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).

♦ 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.

6 thoughts on “Even the best things can be improved.”

  1. Hi Dan. Thanks for stopping by. I hope your found the site interesting, and thanks for introducing me to Technorati.

  2. Thanks for your insightful suggestions and accolades. It’s always exciting to hear how our customers are using and benefiting from our products.

    You will be happy to know that our upcoming release themed on patient safety includes expiration date tracking, more special handling for high alert meds, and additional label features. We are taking your advice on the free text field on labels and the report for tracking incorrect scans and including these into the release as well. Thanks for those suggestions.

    You are “right on” about the ability to access data and create custom reports. This is a request we have heard from many of our customers and is on the radar for the long term vision.

    Another good one about “light sensitive packaging” and we are looking into this further. Let’s start a dialog on this with our hardware team.

    Great idea about the newsletter. Marketing, Support, and Product Management are already working on doing this in an online version. We are putting together a portal where customers can submit articles about what they are doing, ask questions, and talk with one another. We’re very excited about this.

    Our great Technical Support team can help you with some of the other issues you mention. AutoPharm already handles these, and our team can point you in the right direction.

    Thanks again.

  3. Hi Marni,

    Thanks for stopping by. I am excited to hear about the features you listed in your comment. Pharmacy administration will be particularly interested in tracking incorrect scans, and the technicians will be excited about expiration date tracking. The current process is time consuming and labor intensive. The new AutoPharm functionality will be a welcome addition to our barcoding system. I hope to hear from you again in the near future.


  4. Jerry,

    thanks for chatting with us today about the support issues. We reviewed the ability to modify the time limit for OMNL’s and having a single formulary to manage and be able to manage it from any location.

    We have a plan to review this in more detail tomorrow as well, but I really appreciate you sharing this with us so we can help out.

    Thanks, Tony

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