Integration no longer optional for pharmacy technology

I’ve written about the need for better integration and interoperability before. I’ve even written about the trend toward integrated systems. In January 2014, I wrote that “healthcare systems, and more specifically pharmacies, have started to understand the importance of having integrated systems.”

Here we are two years later, and to my surprise, we seem to be making great progress. There are obvious trends appearing in pharmacy.

  • While walking through the Exhibit Hall at ASHP Midyear, it was clear that integration was on the minds of many – people, healthcare systems, vendors. The term “integration” was being thrown around like confetti at Mardi Gras.
  • Companies like Baxter, Omnicell, and Aesynt are making a concerted effort to improve integration, each using a different approach. Baxter has a new EPIC interface, allowing DoseEdge to feed information directly into the EHR. Omnicell has made significant strides in creating a centralized database across their inventory management products for the central pharmacy. Aesynt is focusing on pulling data from several disparate sources for their data analytics tools, REINVENT and Formulary Tool Kit (FTK)
  • Acquisitions continue to be on everyone’s mind. Aesynt recently became part of Omnicell, and CareFusion is part of BD. Others are possible by year’s end.
  • Pharmacies want fewer disparate systems and are willing to sacrifice functionality for integration. I won’t go into specifics here, but several pharmacies that I’ve spoken with are opting for systems that are, in my opinion, missing key components, in favor of integration with their EHR or another system.

Looking over the landscape, it’s obvious that integration of systems will no longer be optional. The big boys are all in, and the little guys should take note as to not be left out in the cold.

Integration and standardization are still stumbling blocks in healthcare

I spent a good chunk of my morning in meetings and workgroups for the implementation of our barcode medication administration system (BCMA). Most of these sessions are dominated by nursing as many consider BCMA a nursing system.
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Beyond patient safety with technology and automation

I had reason to do some thinking about healthcare automation over the weekend, and after much thought decided that healthcare, specifically pharmacy, was a little strange in several ways. As an industry, healthcare rarely looks beyond patient safety when talking about technology and automation. Let’s face it, patient safety is the rally cry for any department in need of a jumpstart to complete a project that has stalled for one reason or another. Unfortunately the investment of time, energy and capital resources typically stops immediately after implementation secondary to meeting the patient safety goal. However, this model seldom allows for technology and automation to be taken to the next logical step.
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