Cool pharmacy technology – StoreRx

It’s not often that I take note of pharmacy technology designed for the outpatient setting, but I had to make an exception when I came across the StoreRx robotic prescription storage system by ARX.

What little outpatient pharmacy I remember, keeping track of patient prescriptions once filled was always a headache. I’ve seen several systems designed to make use of hanging bags like the WillCallRx system by TGCRx (PDF), but I never like the bag system; not sure why. However the StoreRx robot uses a different system altogether.

Unfortunately for you and me, I couldn’t find a video of the StoreRx system in action anywhere on the internet. That’s a real bummer as I’d like to see it doing its thing.

According to the ARX website:

StoreRX is the most space efficient way of storing your customer’s prescriptions inside a robot. It enables accurate tracking of completed prescriptions, which is ideal for prescriptions with several bags and also for monitoring those which have not been collected.

The white and brown medium grade e-flute cardboard boxes come in 2 different sizes, large and small. Both are easily recognised and efficiently stored by the robot. The StoreRX boxes are fully recyclable and bio degradable, but of course, these robust boxes can be re-used again and again.

Prescriptions can be stored and located using the patient name, as opposed to looking up the required packs, making the prescriptions easier to locate during busier periods.

Other outpatient pharmacy will-call systems can be found here.

Top posts for week ending March 6, 2011

Below is a list of the most read blog posts over the last week based on number of hits:

  1. Automated unit-dose packagers for acute care pharmacy
    • A look at some of the high-volume unit dose packaging machines on the market today
  2. The evolution of tablets for pharmacy
    • With all the hoopla surrounding tablets today, what impact do I think these devices will have on pharmacy practice? Good question. Read on if you want to know my opinion
  3. Cool Technology for Pharmacy (Alaris Smartpump June 18, 2009)
    • The Alaris System utilizes “smart pumps” combined with software to create limits, called guardrails, on infusion concentrations and rates. I’m surprised that this post continues to land at the top of the list week in and week out.
  4. Quick update: Pharmacy iPad use
    • An older post, April 2010, that no longer applies to much of what’s going on with tablets in healthcare today.
  5. HIMSS Interoperability Showcase – Omnicell video
    • Great stuff. Omnicell is making great strides in healthcare at the moment. You’d be wise to keep an eye on them.
  6. Best iPhone / iPod Touch Applications for Pharmacists
    • As with the iPad post above, this information is dated, but strangely still relevant. The post originally appeared September 2009. One of these days I need to get around to updating the information.
  7. The National Drug Code (NDC) is a gremlin in the works of pharmacy
    • The NDC is a real hassle in pharmacy. Read on if you want to know why.
  8. Barcodes on patient wristbands
    • Wristbands are a popular item for discussion in any barcode medication administration (BCMA) project. They’re just not user friendly. The difficulty associated with scanning a patient wristband is one more reason why RFID may be worth a second look.
  9. Moving storage around in the “cloud”
    • I’m a big fan of the cloud, but it still has a long way to go.
  10. First Impressions – Lenovo T410s Laptop
    • Still loving the T410s Laptop. Update on battery life: consistently getting about 4 hours with both batteries in.
  11. Medscape Mobile available for Android
    • Medscape Mobile is also available for the iPhone, iPad and BlackBerry, just in case you don’t have an Android device.
  12. Pediatric labels for bar code medication administration (BCMA)
    • Still a problem for many facilities looking at BCMA.
  13. Why not a computerized pharmacist?
    • IBM’s Watson is cool. Potentially for the pharmacy practice model of the future.
  14. Is the tablet PC dead?
    • It’s not dead yet, but it has one foot in the grave.
  15. New study equals new opportunity for pharmacists – ADSs in the ED
    • A post based on the February 2011 issue of Annals of Emergency Medicine that talks about patients entering the emergency department (ED) secondary to an adverse drug event (ADE). It’s not a good thing in case you were wondering.

Is the tablet PC dead?

Mashable: “Microsoft will release a tablet-oriented version of Windows no sooner than 2012, Bloomberg reports, citing sources familiar with the matter.

Despite Steve Ballmer’s bombastic statements in July last year, when he said Microsoft is “hardcore” about tablets and that we can expect “a lot” of Windows-based tablets by the end of 2010, none of the tablets that actually did hit the stores made any significant impact on the market.

The reasons for this are quite clear: Windows 7 simply isn’t optimized for use with modern tablets with finger-based input. Remember the long, painful transition from Windows Mobile 6 to Windows Phone 7? Once again, it will take time for Microsoft to deliver the user experience it needs to be able to compete with Apple’s iOS and Google’s Honeycomb.”

While the tablet PC may not be dead, it’s certainly on life support. The lack of a significant “Windows” presence in the new tablet market is troubling to say the least. I use a tablet PC nearly every day and for the life of me can’t figure out why Microsoft hasn’t taken a different approach to this market. Apple is kicking the crap out of them, as are Android tablet makers Motorola and Samsung. Why? Because Microsoft isn’t making tablets that people are interested in using.
Continue reading Is the tablet PC dead?

New study equals new opportunity for pharmacists – ADEs in the ED

The February 2011 issue of Annals of Emergency Medicine has an article that reveals that patients that come through the emergency department (ED) secondary to an adverse drug event (ADE) “had a higher risk of spending additional days in the hospital per month and higher rate of outpatient health care encounters. The adjusted median monthly cost of care was 1.90 times higher (Can $325 versus $96; 95% CI 1.18 to 3.08).” In other words people that suffer and ADE create a burden on the healthcare system.

The study was conducted in Canada, which by itself holds little significance. But I would wager a guess that most patients in Canada receive their prescriptions from a single primary care physician while patients in the US receive their medications from multiple physicians at the same time, i.e. patients in the US probably have a greater potential for ADEs.

Medication reconciliation across the healthcare continuum is probably the best weapon we have in the fight against ADEs in the outpatient setting. And who can better manage a patient’s medication reconciliation than pharmacists? Uh, no one. Getting a pharmacist involved sounds like a good investment to me.


Hohl CM, Nosyk B, Kuramoto L, et al. Outcomes of Emergency Department Patients Presenting With Adverse Drug Events. Annals of Emergency Medicine. 2011

The evolution of tablets for pharmacy

Everywhere I look these days someone is showing off a new tablet; in the media anyway. Out in public I typically see mostly iPads with the Galaxy tablet coming in a distant second. I’m not sure that this will change anytime soon, but it’s clear to me that tablets will become mainstream devices for many people over time. The technology is simply too good to ignore. No one knows if the tablet will ever replace desktop machines, but I have an idea that they will for many, especially as the tablet market matures and hardware vendors begin to meet the needs of consumers. Case in point is the growing number of iPad keyboard cases you can find floating around on the internet. People want the iPad experience, but they also want a solid keyboard to work with so vendors obliged consumers by creating things like the ClamCase.

To the best of my knowledge the next twelve months will bring tablets of all shapes, sizes and OS flavors to the market. I’ve seen information on tablets with screen sizes ranging from 7-inches to just over 10-inches, and operating systems including Android, Windows 7 (8?), WebOS, BlackBerry, and of course iOS. Did I miss any? It’s possible that I did as I’ve seen a few others thrown in the mix over the past several months, but I believe these constitute the bulk of what we’ll see.

With that said, what impact do I think these devices will have on pharmacy practice? That’s a good question. Because I’m a tablet enthusiast I’d like to think they will revolutionize pharmacy practice as we know it, but in reality it probably won’t make much difference at all. Why? Site back and I’ll tell you.
Continue reading The evolution of tablets for pharmacy

BlackBerry devices in healthcare (Video)

I found this interesting video (below) showing some of the things BlackBerry is doing at the University of Pittsburgh Medical Center (UPMC). The name BlackBerry really doesn’t come to mind when you think of healthcare. Maybe the new BlackBerry PlayBook will help change all that. It’s a compelling device for anyone already using a BlackBerry smartphone.

There’s a great review of the BlackBerry PlayBook at if you’re interested in learning more about the device.