Fewer unit-dosed, barcode ready drugs from the manufacturer?

I’ve noticed a trend over the past few months. Several medications that we typically purchase are no longer available in unit-dosed, barcode ready packaging. The result has been the purchase of more and more medications in bulk, which require repackaging and barcoding prior to dispensing. The reason for the trend is unclear, but appears to be a difference in opinion on what information should be contained in the barcode and what barcode standard to use. Even with organizations like ASHP encouraging manufacturers to develop standards and the FDA requiring barcodes on prescription medications, there appears to be a gap.
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Follow-up on Siemens Raid

Earlier this week I mentioned that Siemens U.S. Headquarters was raided. Here’s some additional information from the Healthcare IT Consultant Blog

“Siemens Medical Solutions USA Inc., whose Malvern, Pa., complex was searched by Defense Department agents Wednesday, is a defendant in a whistle-blower lawsuit.

The unit of German conglomerate Siemens AG (NYSE:SI) is accused in the suit of giving corporate customers of its medical imaging equipment bigger discounts than it gave the federal government while assuring the government that it was getting the best discounts Siemens offered.The lawsuit was filed under the Federal False Claims Act, which allows individuals to file lawsuits alleging fraud by federal contractors and receive a percentage of any damages recovered by the suits.

It’s a civil suit that was filed in 2004 in U.S. District Court in the Virgin Islands and subsequently amended.”

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Next Health 2.0 Conference

This is something that I’ve become more interested in lately….”the ways that information technology and the web are changing healthcare in areas from online search to health focused online communities and social networks. ”

My chance is coming up later this year in October. Lucky for me it’s just up the road in San Francisco. If you can call 200 miles just up the road. More information can be found at the Health 2.0 website.

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Adverse Drug Event Occurences

I’ve been working with a group here on a Failure Mode and Effects Analysis (FMEA)  for our bar coding medication administration project (called MAK –Medication Administration checKing by our vendor, Siemens Medical ). The benefit to implementing such as system is to significantly reduce the number of errors that occur during medication administration in hospitals each year.

While researching the project I have come across several interesting facts. I would like to share them with you here.
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FDA revises ceftriaxone-calcium warning

The FDA has issued an update to the previous alert on the interaction between calcium and ceftriaxone (Rocephin). The original warning was based on reported fatalities involving neonates. The update occurred after Roche (manufacturer of ceftriaxone) conducted two studies using neonatal and adult plasma with varying concentrations of ceftriaxone and calcium. Based on the results, ceftriaxone and calcium-containing products may now be used concomitantly in patients greater than 28 days old.

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Agents raid Siemens U.S. headquarters

From the Action News website: “The raid began shortly after employees reported for work Wednesday morning.  Agents with the Defense Criminal Investigations Service rolled in with a rented box truck….DCIS confirms they were looking for records in connection with a specific military contract.” – Huh, we use Siemens Pharmacy Clinical Worksatation as our pharmacy system.

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Batch Files to Increase Pharmacy Efficiency

Our hospital utilizes a decentralized model. One pharmacist in the main pharmacy takes care of the dispensing duties while the rest of the pharmacists are responsible for order entry, kinetics and trouble shooting in their respective areas.

The pharmacist located in the ICU typically participates in daily rounds each morning. If you are familiar with how rounding works, then you know that a pharmacist’s main job is to evaluate drug therapy based on lots of data (patient condition, diagnosis, age, gender, weight, renal status, etc). Accessing this data at the point-of-care is never easy for a pharmacist and they will often rely on the old “pen an paper” to get the job done. With all the advances in technology it just didn’t seem right for them to be doing it this way. Solution? A tablet PC.
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Sum(1) ..how could something so simple be so frustrating

This time of year always comes with a lot of requests for medication usage data from the Pharmacy Clinical Coordinator.  This year has been no exception. The most recent request was for a report identifying all medications in the pharmacy drug master that were used less than ten times in 2008. Seemed simple enough. Right. 
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