INDUSTRY  WATCH: May/June 2013

QS/1 Adds Part B Compliance Feature

Just released from QS/1 is what the company calls the first-of-its-kind software that allows pharmacies using NRx or PrimeCare pharmacy management systems to serve Medicare Part B customers while keeping the necessary documents in the event of an audit. During prescription processing, the pharmacy management system prompts for the required Medicare documentation to print. Using an electronic signature capture device, the patient can sign just once for all the required documentation. In the event of an audit, the system-generated Medicare-required documentation can be regenerated, complete with the patient signature and date signed. 

QS/1 also ensures that claims for diabetic testing strips, nebulizer inhalation medications, immunosuppressive drugs, or oral anti-cancer drugs contain the date of pickup as the date of service, as required by Medicare. Part B claims are not billed until the required patient and physician documentation is signed and on file.

“Missing or incomplete documentation is the most common error that results in the repayment of claims,” says Chris Kinard, the QS/1 market analyst who spearheaded the development of the new product. “Audits are inevitable, and Medicare Part B documentation gives you the audit compliance tools for Part B products and services,” he says.

More CRS Options From ScriptPro

Two years ago ScriptPro developed the Compact Robotic System (CRS) to provide the same advanced technology as found in the company’s SP robotic system, but with a far smaller footprint. This was the CRS 75, with 75 dispensing cells and requiring only 7 square feet of space.  Because demand for the CRS was immediate, the company developed two more options for the CRS line. New options include a CRS 150, with 150 dispensing cells and requiring only 9.5 square feet, and a CRS 225, with 225 cells and requiring only 12.1 square feet.

The CRS robots interface with the pharmacy management system to fill, print, and apply the prescription and auxiliary labels, and deliver uncapped vials for final inspection and on-screen drug image verification. The CRS robots can deliver up to 150 prescriptions an hour.

Cerner Etreby Offers Smartphone App

ScriptManager, a smartphone app powered by
PocketRx that brings prescription refills to the mobile device user, is now available to Cerner Etreby users.

ScriptManager includes a list of features that includes phone screens customized with the pharmacy logo and store information, coupled with simplified data entry. Pharmacy customers can not only request refills, but can also view their prescription history and set refill reminders.

The app has been integrated to work with the Cerner Etreby pharmacy management system. ScriptManager can run on the iPhone, Android, or Windows Phone, with Blackberry versions to be available in the immediate future. 

“We believe offering the patient an easy-to-use tool to order refills from anywhere will contribute to better medication adherence and more favorable outcomes,” says Mike Etreby, director of solution management for the company.

Kirby Lester Expands Product Line

The KL100, a midsize dispensing robot, is the latest addition to the Kirby Lester product line that brings a new level of efficiency and medication safety to higher-volume outpatient and central-fill pharmacies. According to the company, 50% or more of a pharmacy’s daily orders can be handled by the KL100, while its “FillSafe” solution allows complete security of the filling process. FillSafe eliminates any chance of dispensing from a cassette that was not authorized by a pharmacist. 

The unit is just 59 inches deep and can easily fit into an existing floor plan without the need for renovation; automate the filling of 100 of a pharmacy’s top-moving tablets and capsules; fill a prescription in 30 seconds; and accommodate several of the most popular vial types and sizes.

The KL100 is the seventh new product launch in six years for this 41-year-old company.

Mobile App Catches on at Shopko

Shopko reports that customers are using their mobile phones to order refills for over 1,000 prescriptions a day using its smartphone app. The app can also be used to receive pickup and dosage reminders and view a person’s health record. Shopko customers have the option of signing up at the pharmacy counter for text messaging to receive many of the same benefits as the mobile app. 

“Since we launched our mobile pharmacy solution in 2012, thousands of customers have been using their mobile phones to interact with our pharmacies in a way that works best and is most convenient for them,” says Mike Bettiga, Shopko interim CEO and chief operating officer.

The new app and its mobile website,, operate on a secure network created by San Francisco-based mscripts.

PDX to Integrate CoverMyMeds Service

Available later this year in both the PDX Classic and PDX Enterprise pharmacy systems will be integration with CoverMyMeds’ prior authorization (PA) resolution service. This will help pharmacies expedite the submission of PA forms to insurance plans at no cost to the pharmacies.

If during claims transmission a user receives a specific third-party rejection, based on a list of preidentified D.0 rejection codes that require a prior authorization, the system will prompt so the claims data are routed to CoverMyMeds for assistance. CoverMyMeds will automatically prepopulate the appropriate PA request with the data from the claim and send the pharmacy a URL to access the PA. From that link pharmacy staff can use the CoverMyMeds online application and submit the request to the prescriber for completion and delivery to the patient’s insurance company.

“It is important that pharmacists have technologies they need to work smarter and faster. By partnering with CoverMyMeds, PDX customers will have access to another utility that will help streamline the prior authorization process,” says Jeff Farris, CEO of PDX.

NABP’s PMP InterConnect Continues to Grow

Fourteen states are now participating in NABP InterConnect to facilitate the sharing of prescription-monitoring program (PMP) data. The states are Arizona, Connecticut, Illinois, Indiana, Kansas, Kentucky, Louisiana, Michigan, New Mexico, North Dakota, Ohio, South Carolina, South Dakota, and Virginia.

InterConnect gives authorized PMP users the ability to request and share program data across state lines, while ensuring that each state’s data-access rules are enforced.

Eight additional states have signed a memorandum of understanding (MOU) to participate in the sharing program. NABP anticipates that more than 25 states will be sharing data or will have executed an MOU to participate in InterConnect in 2013.

PrescribeWellness and APA to Deliver Adherence Program 

In a partnership with the American Pharmacy Alliance (APA), PrescribeWellness will be providing independent pharmacies with a low cost, easy-to-implement patient engagement solution to compete with the chains and big box retailers.

“Lack of medication adherence is a major burden on the American healthcare system and APA’s processing expertise combined with the PrescribeWellness communications platform allows independent pharmacies to increase frequency-of-purchase, patient loyalty, and medication adherence,” says Al Babbington, CEO and cofounder of PrescribeWellness.

The PrescribeWellness automated, personalized communication focuses on delivering the right message at the right time in the right language in the actual voice of the independent pharmacist. The company has executed millions of targeted patient interactions using its “Voice of Authority” solution in the 12 states where the program has been operational and has been documented to improve medication adherence. The plan with APA is for an initial regional rollout, moving to full national coverage by September.

OutcomesMTM Selected by Amerigroup for MTM Services

OutcomesMTM will be administering medication therapy management (MTM) services for Amerigroup’s Medicaid members in Texas, Kansas, and Louisiana. Amerigroup is among more than 40 U.S. health plans that have adopted the OutcomesMTM platform, which connects such plans with over 65,000 local chain, independent, consultant, and health-system pharmacy providers across the country.

Through the program participating pharmacists receive alerts and information concerning medication use patterns, as well as guidance on working with patients and doctors to close key therapy gaps.

In 2012 the company named Walgreens as the top-performing large pharmacy chain and Kerr Drug as the top regional chain, while 25 chains and independent pharmacies meeting the OutcomesMTM criteria for “top performers” were selected across the country. 

Surescripts Increases Care Collaboration Users

NewCrop, LLC, a leading provider of technology relied on by more than 130 electronic health record (EHR) providers and 30,000 physicians, will connect to the Surescripts Network for Clinical Interoperability. This connectivity will enable physicians using EHRs with NewCrop technology to securely exchange clinical information across practices, hospitals, and other healthcare entities nationwide.

NewCrop serves small physician practices, primarily on family practice, ophthalmology, and cardiology, in New York, California, Texas, Florida, Arizona, Georgia, and Missouri. 

NewCrop joins Epic, GE, Medent, NextGen, and others as EHR technology providers connected to the Surescripts Network for Clinical Interoperability.

PQA and CECity Launch New Joint Venture

The Pharmacy Quality Alliance (PQA) and have created a joint venture to deliver EQuIPP (Electronic Quality Improvement Platform for Plans and Pharmacies). This is the first national pharmacy quality measurement, benchmarking, and reporting platform for pharmacies and health plans. It measures the quality of patient medication use, including nonadherence, and makes this measurement available and understandable.

The Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) brought attention to the quality of medication use through the Medicare Part D Star Ratings program, which assesses plan performance against PQA measures. The role of appropriate medication use in a high-value healthcare system was reinforced by a recent report from the Congressional Budget Office that indicates that a 1% increase in prescriptions filled by Medicare beneficiaries would save Medicare roughly one-fifth of a percent in expenditure, or approximately $1.1 billion annually.

Top Health IT Companies Form Alliance

Cerner, McKesson, Allscripts, athenahealth, Greenway Medical Technologies, and RelayHealth have formed the CommonWell Health Alliance, an independent not-for-profit organization to support universal, trusted access to healthcare data through interoperability. This effort is aimed at improving the quality of care delivery, while working to lower costs for care providers and patients.

The Alliance intends to be a collaborative effort of suppliers focused on achieving data liquidity between systems in compliance with patient authorizations, and will define, promote, and certify a national infrastructure with common platforms and policies. It will also ensure that HIT products displaying the Alliance seal are certified to work on the national infrastructure.

Innovation Launches Pharmacy Intelligence Services

Pharmacy Intelligence is the name of new services developed by Innovation, with the assistance of Binghamton University’s Watson Institute for Systems Excellence. It is a combination of application-based data analytics, computer-animated process simulation, and Lean Six Sigma process analysis.

Using these tools, Innovation builds and analyzes customer scenarios with the customer’s pharmacy-specific data simulated through various automation and production logistics technologies, workflows, and physical configurations. The entire exercise assesses a pharmacy’s operational risks, optimizes its system designs and processes, and accurately forecasts the results. Customers can get tangible answers before they invest, including the information needed to develop a proven return on investment, giving them confidence in system design, growth path, and automation decisions.

Doyle Jensen, Innovation’s executive VP, sums it up this way: “Pharmacy Intelligence brings exception value to pharmacies by dissecting all types of operational scenarios, human factors, and the like and shows how a system can provide the ultimate flexibility while simultaneously optimizing the pharmacy’s resources. Pharmacies are ready to innovate using smart data analysis and they certainly want to see a definitive financial return on investment.”

Rexam Introduces Adherence Tool

Rexam, manufacturer of prescription vials, has joined with the makers of the popular Rx Timer Cap, an easy-to-use “smart cap,” to improve patient medication adherence. The Rx Timer Cap uses a patented built-in LCD timer that automatically counts the minutes and hours since a patient last took his or her medication.

“As the need to address adherence becomes more important in addressing rising healthcare costs, we are pleased our customers have appealed to us to integrate the Rx Timer Cap into their prescription-filling operations,” says Pat O’Connell, VP of sales and marketing for Rexam Healthcare.

Integra Releases New Version of DeliveryTrack

DeliveryTrack 4.0, the latest version of Integra’s delivery solution, has a reworked architecture and expanded feature set, according to Raymond van Rooyen, Integra’s product manager. “Combination shops and enterprise customers seeking multiple interfaces per business unit are accommodated in this release,” he says. The company views a business unit as multiple information systems being used within a pharmacy.

One new feature is the ability to use third-party carriers such as UPS to deliver manifests and prescriptions in a shipping tote. Other new features include changes to the handheld devices for one-time instructions; device synchronization with the server even when a user is logged off; and changed licensing to allow multiple users to access one license. New reports have also been added for battery management, deliveries per stop, inventory reconciliation, and shipping carrier tracking that shows UPS shipping activity. CT

GSL Intellicab