Wolters Kluwer acquires Pharmacy OneSource

You may not be familiar with Wolters Kluwer, but if you’re a pharmacist I’m sure you are familiar with their products: Facts & Comparisons, Medi-Span, Ovid, ProVation Medical, UpToDate. While Facts & Comparisons has become an afterthought in the drug information world, products like UpToDate and ProVation Medical are gaining traction in the healthcare industry. This is especially true as physicians, pharmacists and other healthcare providers look for ways to access information while on the go, i.e. access from mobile devices.

Wolters and Kluwer just bolstered their position and gained significantly more credibility with their purchase of Pharmacy OneSource. Pharmacy OneSource is the maker of several innovative pharmacy products such as Accupedia pediatric dosing software, Sentri 7 clinical surveillance software and Quantifi for pharmacist intervention documentation. Pharmacy OneSource not only provides several interesting and innovative applications, they also offer them by way of the Software-as-a-Service (SaaS) model, which is uncommon in the pharmacy world.

I’ve blogged about Pharmacy OneSource several times as I’m not only a fan of their products, but their distribution model and use of cloud computing as well. It’s no secret that I believe in cloud computing as the future for many applicaitons in pharmacy and feel that Pharmacy OneSource has created a solid foundation on which the rest of the industry can build. My only hope for the Wolters Klumer acquisition of Pharmacy OneSource is that their innovative products and strategy won’t change. Often times the first thing to go when a smaller company is purchased by a larger company is innovation. Here’s hoping that won’t happen.

MedKeeper acquires DoseResponse

It looks like MedKeeper is making a play in the therapeutic monitoring market by acquiring DoseResponse, a web-based outpatient anticoagulation management system from Keystone Therapeutics. The press release can be found here.

Outpatient anticoagulation therapy, i.e. warfarin management, became a big deal when JCAHO made it one of their national patient safety goals a few years back. I’m specifically referring to National Patient Safety Goal 3E: Reducing Harm from Anticoagulation Therapy. If you feel like giving yourself a headache you can read through the entire Abulatory Health Care National Patient Safety Goals (PDF). I wouldn’t recommend it.
Continue reading MedKeeper acquires DoseResponse

Speaking of healthcare data, is Microsoft the elephant in the room?

In a previous blog I discussed the need for a uniformed data structure in healthcare. The concept got me thinking about how to accomplish such a monumental task, and make no mistake, it would be a monumental task. There aren’t many “people” out there that could develop the hardware and software infrastructure solid enough to handle the needs of the complex data stream coming out of the healthcare industry.

Then I noticed a trend at a lot of the web sites that I frequent: Microsoft has slowly, and quietly, been positioning itself to jump into the healthcare market.
Continue reading Speaking of healthcare data, is Microsoft the elephant in the room?

Time for a new model of data storage and software distribution in pharmacy

There was a time when I thought all a pharmacist needed to do his job was a pen and a calculator. It was just so cumbersome to carry anything else. If you wanted to have mobile drug information it meant carrying a drug reference book with you everywhere. Who can forget being in pharmacy school where every self respecting pharmacy student had a Drug Information Handbook stuffed in their lab coat pocket along with all the other stuff they carried like a homemade peripheral brain scribbled on the pages of a notebook or on those neat little 3×5 cards.
Continue reading Time for a new model of data storage and software distribution in pharmacy

SaaS and speech recognition for EHRs

CMIO: “In the past, major barriers to EHR adoption included high upfront costs and lack of IT resources to implement and maintain the technology,” the report stated. “A SaaS model solves both of these issues and Ovum believes it is the best approach for physician offices and small hospitals. With a predictable, monthly expense, a subscription-based SaaS EHR is a much easier cost for providers to swallow.” Speech recognition tools have helped increase EHR adoption among clinicians by increasing the accuracy of the patient health record—providers don’t need to make as many corrections. Speech recognition should feed directly into the PHR without the lag time of transcription, according to the report.” – It makes sense that Software-as-a-Service (SaaS) and speech recognition could be used to increase EHR adoption rates. Together they offer several potential benefits as well as creating a better user experience. In fact, I’m a fan of both and have blogged about how I think they could be used in pharmacy; here and here.  However, in regards to speech recognition, an educational session at the 95th Annual Meeting of the Radiological Society of North America (RSNA) reports that “a study by Zoltani and colleagues conducted at their facility found that 68 percent of more than 17,000 finalized reports contained errors, 15 percent of which could potentially change the meaning of the report. A radiologist’s experience, sex and caseload were not associated with significant differences in error rates.”

SaaS and pharmacy

Software as a service (SaaS) has recently been popping up in healthcare related news, from Fujitsu’s SaaS solution for drug trials to the host of web-based applications from Pharmacy OnceSource.

SaaS is different than the traditional enterprise software model because the provider of the software licenses it to the customer as an on-demand service. The vendor often times hosts the software on their own servers where data is manipulated and returned to the customer for viewing. It’s kind of like renting software.

The beauty of SaaS applications like those from Pharmacy OneSource are that they can be viewed from any device with a web-enabled browser; Mac, PC, smartphone, etc. In addition, the application is owned, delivered, maintained and managed by the provider, limiting the burden on the customer. A by-product of this model is that delivery of the application over the web ensures that the software is always up to date.

The SaaS model appears to be popular in the “business” world at present, but is increasing in popularity in healthcare secondary to its simplified deployment and reduced cost. With advances in cloud computing strategy, better data storage models and faster internet connections I think it’s only a matter of time before we start to see more SaaS solutions in pharmacy practice. And why shouldn’t we? By their very nature SaaS applications lend themselves to use on mobile devices like the tablet PC and iPad, which in turn offers greater flexibility for pharmacists practicing at the bedside. Just a thought.

US Army utilizing Software-as-a-Service (SaaS) to standardize methodology

InformationWeek: “The pilot program has already shown the way toward more consistency in environmental reporting and given the Army baseline data for forecasting, but Davis is looking for more, especially in the way of greenhouse gasses. “As we begin to understand and appreciate the benefits of this information technology, we can calculate our greenhouse gas emissions and ultimately our carbon boot print,” he said. “I want something we can audit later on, something that’s not just a back of an envelope calculation.” The Army’s choice of multi-tenant SaaS for its pilot is notable, as the military has been reluctant to use Web-based systems in other cases, especially with operational data such as on-installation emissions. “The reaction of some of our customers is, ‘Oh my gosh, on the Internet?’ ” John Garing, director of strategic planning at the Defense Information Systems Agency, said in an interview earlier this year.” – You know you’re behind the times when the US military is outpacing you in non-weapons related technology. Doh!

Hybrid cloud to speed things up?

ByteandSwitch: “Every week or so one major internet service or another goes down for a moment, Amazon S3, Google Apps, Twitter etc… Let’s face it, if you store data in the cloud there are a hundred variables between you and your data and if any one of those variables decides to, well, be variable, then you may not be able to get to your data for a period of time. This does not mean that you can’t use the cloud, it means that you can’t put data that you are going to need immediate access to solely in the cloud.  What this does mean is using a hybrid model for cloud storage. As we demonstrate in our latest video “What is Hybrid Cloud Storage?” a hybrid cloud is an appliance that is placed on the customer’s site to act as a intermediary storage location for data that is in route to the cloud. The appliance serves many purposes: translation from CIFS/NFS to more internet friendly protocols, local cache for rapid restores of last copy of a backup or archive and as a place to get to data that would otherwise be inaccessible due to some sort of connection issue.”


– This actually makes perfect sense to me. One issue that often comes up when discussing a cloud environment, besides access to data, is speed. We have started using thin clients here at the hospital in place of desktop machines, and there is little doubt that performance has suffered. With the option discussed in the article above, data would move quickly between you and the local environment while in use, but slowly moved into the cloud in the background. I like it.

A rose by any other name….

HealthBlog: “Monday evening, I was invited to attend a dinner with my fellow panelists (Dr. David Kibbe, Ravi Sharma, Steve Adams, Martin Pellinat) and others to discuss the idea of clinical groupware.  If you are not familiar with that term, clinical groupware is described as a set of practice management, electronic medical record, decision support, prescription writing and other solutions that could be delivered to clinical practices as services over the Internet.” – Hold the phone. Isn’t that the same thing as SaaS or clound computing or simply and extension of EMR/EHR? Sounds like it to me. Maybe we should all agree on a standard naming convention as different names for the same thing is more confusing than helpful. I’m just sayin’…