This has been an interesting and exciting day so far. I spent the morning at the ASHP exhibit hall looking at two products that had piqued my interest the day before: AutoCool and AutoSplit from Talyst.
AutoCool is an automated refrigerated storage system. The AutoCool unit looks similar to a “normal” refrigerator on the outside – theÂ refrigeration unit is on top, it has a glass door that opens on hinges and has the same basic footprint – but that’s pretty much where the similarities end. Inside, AutoCool is a series of “Lazy Susan like” trays stacked one on top of the other. Each tray is divided into several pie shaped sections that present themselves via a small sprint loaded metal door.
This was the first opportunity I’ve had to see AutoCool in person, and I must say it was impressive. The units are small, but can be daisy chained together to increase storage space. An onsite Talyst representative told me that a maximum of 7 units could be connected in series. That’s a lot of refrigerated storage space.
Refrigerated storage is one area that we’ve struggled with this past year. The items are available in our AutoPharm software for scanning and inventory control, but their location away from the main carousels makes it too easy to bypass the system. Placing these items in a small refrigerated carousel turned on its end (i.e. AutoCool), would make bypassing the system much more difficult. While it’s clear from the size of the unit that not all our refrigerated items would fit in AutoCool, many of our high cost, high risk medications could. Â That’s pretty slick.
AutoSplit is software designed to automate the 340B ordering process through you pharmacy’s wholesaler.Â The 340B Drug Pricing Program resulted from enactment of the Veterans Health Care Act of 1992. 340B limits the cost of covered outpatient drugs to certain federal grantees, federally-qualified health center look-alikes and qualified disproportionate share hospitals. You can save a lot of money if you are able to take advantage of 340B pricing. Our hospital currently utilizes the 340B program, but uses a manual system to track and order qualifying medications. AutoSplit automates the process, making the ordering process much easier. This type of thing doesn’t usually grab my attention, but with the current economic debacle and lower state reimbursement for hospital services, it makes sense to use technology to take full advantage of cost saving opportunities.
The rest of my morning was centered around a visit to Northwestern Memorial Hospital to take a look at their pharmacy technology. I’ll post more on that later.