It’s time for pharmacy to find ways to collect and share information

Regardless of what everyone thinks, the healthcare industry is in the infancy of “big data”. The concept isn’t new, but we still have a long way to go, especially in pharmacy. I recall sitting at conferences years ago listening to sessions describing data collection and manipulation. The problem has been that data, especially that found in pharmacies is scattered across disparate systems without an effective method for connecting the dots. The adoption of electronic health records (EHRs) has made things better, but much of the data collected in an average acute care pharmacy is outside the EHR’s reach.  And to say that most pharmacies have their collective heads buried in the sand, would be putting it kindly.

Those on the outside often find it difficult to understand the sheer volume of data that’s produced in a pharmacy. Unfortunately, the data sources are mostly stored in disparate systems creating silos, which makes each system blind to the others. Is is possible to connect the systems and exchange data? Sure, but few if any are doing it.

Data sources in pharmacies come from places like clinical interventions, inventory management, cost containment strategies, regulatory compliance, internal communications, and so on.
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What USP <797> has to say about beyond-use dating of stock bags

Nothing. It says nothing, which leaves things open to interpretation. That’s bad.

Beyond use dating (BUD) in USP <797> is pretty straightforward, but there’s really no language in there describing stock bags.

Here are some things to think about. When performing routine compounding, USP <797> states that in the absence of sterility testing, the assigned BUD must not exceed the following:

USP 797 BUD for temp and risk
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More thoughts on the ASHP national survey results for informatics and pharmacy practice

On Monday I spoke briefly about two articles in AJHP that summarize two recent ASHP surveys. The first covers Pharmaccy Informatics in U.S. Hospitals(1), while the second focuses on pharmacy practice in acute care hospitals(2).

Both surveys contain a wealth of information, and provide a snapshot of what pharmacies in the U.S. are doing. While conducted at different times by different groups, I think it’s more interesting to look at the two surveys together. As I mentioned in my podcast, the adoption of automation and technology goes hand in hand with pharmacy operations. You can no longer have one without the other.
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JerryFahrni.com Podcast #1: ASHP National Survey Results

Show notes:
Host: Jerry Fahrni

The two surveys discussed in the podcast are below:

Fox, B. I., C. A. Pedersen, and K. F. Gumpper. “ASHP National Survey on Informatics: Assessment of the Adoption and Use of Pharmacy Informatics in U.S. Hospitals–2013.” American Journal of Health-System Pharmacy 72, no. 8 (April 15, 2015): 636–55. doi:10.2146/ajhp140274.

Pedersen, C. A., P. J. Schneider, and D. J. Scheckelhoff. “ASHP National Survey of Pharmacy Practice in Hospital Settings: Dispensing and Administration–2014.” American Journal of Health-System Pharmacy 72, no. 13 (July 1, 2015): 1119–37. doi:10.2146/ajhp150032.

Cool Pharmacy Technology – Aesynt REINVENT [it’s about the data]

Data surrounds us. We’re deluged by it in every facet of our lives, from the bank statements we receive in our personal life to the mountains of data collected in healthcare. Regardless of the data collected, there are basically three things that can be done with the information. It can be ignored, archived, or used. Unfortunately only one of those three things is truly meaningful, using it.

Many, especially in pharmacy, chose to ignore or archive data rather than use it. That’s not because the information isn’t valuable, but rather because they are overwhelmed with the amount of information they receive and simply have no idea what to do with it. Throw in the fact that the more data we collect, the more useful it becomes, and things get weird. Seems counterintuitive, but data collected from a single source, say one pharmacy i.v. room, offers little value.

Single source data creates several problems, such as potential bias, the inability to find trends that may be available in larger data sets, and failure to create usable comparisons to others that may offer insight into improved operations. Only when data is collected from several different sources does one truly begin to understand its value.
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Aethon launches TraySafe at #ASHPSM15 in Denver

I’ve been at the ASHP Summer Meeting in Denver this week roaming the exhibit hall looking for interesting new products. One product that caught my attention was TraySafe by Aethon.

TraySafe is a medication tray management system. There are several such systems currently on the market, but what makes TraySafe different is its approach to the replenishment process. The system utilizes a combination of photo recognition and barcode scanning to analyze tray content and notify the user of items that are missing, in the wrong location, or about to expire.

TraySafe1
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Pharmacy – entrenched in outdated dogma

Dogma: belief or set of beliefs that is accepted by the members of a group without being questioned or doubted (Merriam-Webster)

I have opinions, lots of opinions. And like most, I believe my opinions are valid; it’s human nature. It’s not uncommon for me to find people within a group that agree and disagree with my opinions. However, once in a while I come across an entire group of people that stand in disagreement with my thoughts. That’s not crazy to imagine, but when that happens I’m forced to re-evaluate. Let’s face it, if everyone thinks I’m wrong, it’s possible that I am.

Such is the case with my thoughts on the use of technology and personnel in the i.v. room, which are on record at this site and are quite transparent. In a nutshell I believe that:
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“Improving Safety and Efficiency in the IV Room” : thoughts on the ASHP webinar

I previously wrote about a live webinar put on by ASHP – Improving Safety and Efficiency in the IV Room: Key Features of Automated Workflow Systems – on Wednesday, May 20 2015. The webinar was made up of three separate, 20 minute presentations:

  • Medication Error Reduction Strategy Using Dispense Preparation and Dispense Check by Tom Lausten, RPh, Director of Pharmacy at Children’s Hospital of Wisconsin.
  • IV Workflow Systems: Barcode Plus Volumetric Verification by Steve Speth, RPh, Pharmacy Operations Manager at IU Bloomington.
  • Automated i.v. Workflow Systems and Technologies by Caryn Bellisle, RPh, Director of Pharmacy Regulatory Compliance at Brigham and Women’s Hospital.

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