Cool Technology for Pharmacy

RIVARobotic IV Automation (RIVA) is a medical device developed by Intelligent Hospital Systems Inc. (IH Systems). Hospital pharmacies use RIVA to automatically and accurately prepare IV syringes and bags. By automating the preparation of IV syringes and bags, RIVA addresses the issues of safety for the patient and the pharmacy technician, efficiency and effectiveness in the pharmacy and the challenges of a changing regulatory environment. RIVA allows hospital pharmacies to compound sterile preparations in a United States Pharmacopeia (USP) 797 environment while producing admixtures in either syringes or bags. The automation of repetitive and complex tasks reduces the incidence of errors and contamination.” – The RIVA system is built on .Net 2.0 written in C# running on Windows XP Embedded OS. The system costs somewhere in the neighborhood of $1.2 million and uses a robotic arm to prepare IV syringes and bags behind a glass case. There are two videos on YouTube worth watching here and here. They are very similar, but offer different views of the robotic arm in action.

RIVA appears to be popular in Children’s hospitals as three of the four hospitals listed on the company’s website include Primary Children’s Medical Center of Salt Lake City, Children’s Hospital of Orange County, and The Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia. I’ll be in Philadelphia in about a week and only live a few hours from Orange County. I wonder if I could arrange a demo. Hmmm.

Interesting observation about EMR and babies

EMR and HIPAA: “However, the thing that hit me most was that the computer was so rarely in the middle of my wife and baby’s care. At all of the most important points the computer wasn’t even really present. Other sophisticated technical devices were there, but the computer and the EMR were no where to be seen. No EMR when they measured her contractions. No EMR when they gave her a spinal tap (don’t ask me the real technical terms). No EMR when the doctor was performing the c-section. The first time I saw an EMR was actually when we took my new born baby into another room to do all the necessary weighing, immunizations, etc.” – Nursing units where babies are delivered (insert naming convention here: “OB”, “Mother-Baby”, “Post-Partum”, etc) often use some form of EMR, but it may not be the same one as the rest of the facility. One thing I’ve learned during my involvement in several projects here at the hospital is that “OB” does everything just a little bit differently. When we implemented Pyxis and eliminated floor stock, they fought us every step of the way. When we implemented Alaris pumps, they fought us every step of the way. As we move forward with barcode medication administration (BCMA), they are fighting us every step of the way. The same was true during the meeting to discuss our implementation plans for CPOE. The argument is always the same, “that just won’t work for us because we’re different”. I think every nursing unit feels that way at first, but most come around after they give the technology a fair evaluation. Every unit has little nuances; it just takes some time to work through them. Now, if I could only figure out how to make OB feel same way.{sigh}

Why I wanted RxCalc

I have a couple of passions when it comes to pharmacy. The first is a love of pharmacy technology. Very few pharmacists have an appreciation for the “operations” side of pharmacy which includes automated dispensing cabinets, automated carousels, automated TPN compounders, Pharmacy Information System, etc. These tools are absolutely necessary if we want to get pharmacists out of the physical pharmacy and at the bedside where they belong. My second passion is a little less known discipline known as pharmacokinetics. I have no idea why I like pharmacokinetics; I just do. Some kids like PB&J and some don’t. It’s just the way it is.
Continue reading Why I wanted RxCalc

Keeping up while on the information superhighway

Web 2.0 has certainly created an information revolution. I used to rely solely on journal articles to keep me up to date. Now I rely on an internet connection. Unfortunately, this creates a situation where information arrives faster than I can digest it, and if you’re not careful you can drown in the excess and end up not learning a thing.
Continue reading Keeping up while on the information superhighway

New barcode technology coming out of MIT

Engadget: “Since barcodes are the sign of the devil (must be true, we read it on the interwebs) it’s no surprise thateveryone wants to replace ’em. QR codes have been quite popular, allowing people and companies to tag their stuff with colorful decals filled with bits and bytes, and of course RFID tags are still going strong, but a team of researchers at MIT has come up with something better: Bokode. It’s effectively a tiny little retroreflective holograph that is just 3mm wide but, when a camera focused to infinity sweeps across it, the Bokodes become clear and appear much larger, captured in the video below. In this way they can contain “thousands of bits” of data and, interestingly, show positional information too, meaning the camera knows where in 3D space it is in relation to the tag. This, of course, has hundreds of potential applications ranging from grocery shopping to augmented reality, and should lead to new and exciting ways for scholars to interpret/misinterpret Revelations.” – I first saw this information yesterday in a link to a BBC News article that was floating around Twitter. I can see use for such barcode technology in pharmacy. In the BBC article, Dr. Mohan (one of the MIT researchers) makes a comment that while standing in front of thousands of books “You could take a picture and you’d immediately know where the book you’re looking for is.” Now, replace the word ‘book(s)’ with ‘drug(s)’ and you will understand my interest. More information can be found here.

EHR breach in Canada blamed on virus, aye.

Healthcare IT News: ALBERTA, CANADA – Officials are saying that a virus is to blame for compromising thousands of patient medical records at Alberta Health Services. The virus impacted AHS’ network and Netcare, Alberta’s electronic health record, from May 15-29 before it was detected and removed, said officials. The virus is said to be a new variant of a Trojan horse program called Coreflood, which is designed to steal data from an infected computer and send it to a server controlled by a hacker. Coreflood captures passwords and data the user of the computer accesses. AHS has identified two groups who are potentially at risk – patients whose health information was accessed in Netcare through an infected computer, and employees who accessed personal banking and email accounts from work using an infected computer.” – I’d like to know a little more detail on how the virus was introduced into the system, the operating system being used, etc. Computer viruses are particularly problematic in healthcare where IT departments invest significant resources, both physical and financial, in stopping these malicious attacks.

Healthcare vs. consumer tech, who’s more advanced?

I spend a lot of time on the internet, probably too much time.  My recent readings resulted in a raised eyebrow when I spotted two articles in particular; one for a new touch-screen anesthesia system from McKesson and the other for a touch-screen coca-cola fountain drink dispenser.
Continue reading Healthcare vs. consumer tech, who’s more advanced?