INDUSTRY  WATCH: September/October 2013

More Connectivity Options from SoftWriters

SoftWriters, provider of FrameworkLTC pharmacy management software, continues to expand its integration offerings via its singular interface solution, FrameworkHL7, by completing integration with Omnicell. This interface improves inventory and billing accuracy for a pharmacy and time-savings for facilities. “We are excited about the relationship with Omnicell as it will continue to provide our customers significant value-added offerings to better serve their existing facilities and compete for new business,” says Heather Martin, VP of sales and marketing for SoftWriters. The company has also announced that PrescribeUS, the third-largest national network of independent LTC pharmacies, has selected FrameworkLTC and FrameworkLINK as the standardized technology suites for advanced integration opportunities in order for its members to improve communication with the facilities served.

Integra has announced that Version 5.3 is now in limited-production release. Some of the enhancements offered in the latest version include an enhanced staple/unstaple feature for easier manipulation of documents and automatic submission of refills based on an import rule that saves time. The import rules workspace now has a column chooser, allowing administrators to view any or all of a rule’s attributes. The company also added the ability to find stapled documents with multiple sources using the
search tab to help keep documents organized. In commenting on the latest version, Louie Foster, product director for DocuTrack, notes that “we have focused on delivering a better user experience and providing our clients with even more automation capabilities.” Foster says he is encouraged by the feedback received on 5.3. Integra has also met with Advanced Pharmacy to discuss the importance of technology in the pharmacy market; IT development; the use of Integra’s document and workflow management system; and Advanced Pharmacy’s proprietary PassPort remote dispensing machine. Advanced Pharmacy is located in Houston and has been a DocuTrack customer since 2009.

Two more pharmacy system vendors have reported that their software has been audited and found in compliance with the DEA’s requirements for electronic prescriptions of controlled substances (EPCS). These companies are Health Business Systems and PioneerRx. The companies reported that their systems have been certified by Surescripts as well to receive electronically prescribed controlled substances.

A survey conducted by Health Business Systems during the Cardinal Regional Business Conference in August found that 76% of the pharmacy owners responding stated that patient adherence programs were important. The survey also found that 52% of the respondents said that they were taking steps to incorporate adherence programs into their practice. Scott McClusky, regional business and marketing senior manager for HBS, reports that “most pharmacy owners recognize the importance of adherence programs, but don’t fully understand their options. As a pharmacy management system vendor, we support various adherence programs that pharmacies can take advantage of.”

New from RxMedic is the RM 64, which the company claims is the fastest robotic dispensing system on the market, capable of filling up to 300 prescriptions an hour. RM64, so named because of its 64 cells, fills multiple prescriptions simultaneously at the rate of five prescriptions a minute. It can count any size or shape of pill and includes safety features such as a digital photo of the vial contents. The RM64 comes with a new touch-screen layout that requires only three keystrokes to restock cells and a unique carousel collating area that is, according to the company, the largest in its class. David Williams, RxMedic VP, notes that the RM64 is offered at a price that makes it affordable for most pharmacies.

The Retail Solutions Providers Association gave RMS top honors for its EvolutionPOS mobile technology with the 2013 Innovative Award for POS solutions. According to Brad Jones, CEO of RMS, the company has dedicated an immense number of resources to deliver what Jones describes as “a cutting-edge product to both the institutional outpatient market as well as the independent retail pharmacy market.”

Quick response barcodes, or QR codes, can now be included on the prescription label for ScriptPro’s entire line of products. The QR code is printed directly on the label rather than on the paper document that comes with the prescription, in case the patient misplaces or throws away this document. The QR code can be scanned with a smartphone to initiate a refill request. The code also provides new opportunities for pharmacies to communicate with their patients, such as using the code to review details about the prescription; setting up reminders for when a prescription is due for a refill or is ready for pickup; and finding weekly specials and coupons.

The company reports that it has added QS/1 to its list of successful interface development partners for its SynMed automated robotic system for multidose blister cards. In addition, Synergy Medical has begun working with SoftWriters to complete an interface to the SoftWriters Framework LTC system. Synergy has already established interfaces with pharmacy systems SuiteRx, PioneerRx, and FSI. “This is an exciting time for our company,” says Jean Boutin, Synergy Medical founder and president. “Continuing the successful completion of interfaces with numerous pharmacy system vendors is critical to our ongoing efforts to penetrate the U.S. market and bodes well for the installation of SynMed systems in the United States.”

The American Associated Pharmacies (AAP), a member-owned cooperative with over 2,000 independent pharmacies, and PPSC, one of the nation’s oldest and largest pharmacy service firms, are now supporting the Prescribe Wellness patient adherence program. The Prescribe Wellness LinkWellness solution addresses all obstacles to adherence with its trusted “voice of authority” to deliver the right message at the right time, in the right language, through the right channel in the actual voice of the neighborhood pharmacist, gaining the personal-touch advantage. In commenting on the effectiveness of the program, Dave Smith, owner of a Good Neighbor pharmacy, says, “Prescribe Wellness has helped me grow my overall fills by 10%. That’s a gross profit increase of $5,000 a month.”

Connect, a Web-based platform, will now serve as the hub for all documentation, billing, reporting, and administrative functions for MTM programs administered by the company. More than 50 health plans have adopted the OutcomesMTM unified platform, which connects these plans with more than 70,000 chain, independent, consultant, and health-system pharmacy providers across the country. The Connect platform has been developed to streamline and expedite medication therapy management delivery and administration. According to Jessica Frank, VP of operations for the company, the new Connect platform “represents 14 years of feedback and refinement of our expertise in delivering successful MTM programs since 1999. It is the most advanced system of its kind.” OutcomesMTM has also announced that Hy-Vee has selected the company for the integration of MTM services into the benefit offerings for its employees and dependents.

New to the software from iMedicare is a way to help seniors select a Medicare Part D plan that identifies therapeutically equivalent medication alternatives. This feature lets the person see what the less expensive options are and whether these are a generic or a more affordable brand. The company reports that 500 pharmacies are now using the service to personalize the Part D plan selection process based on the person’s drug regimen. Before, iMedicare pharmacists would spend 30 to 45 minutes helping patients find a Medicare plan that covered their prescriptions. This process has been reduced to two minutes. As one pharmacist, Robert Nearhoof, owner of KleinsRx in Ohio, found, “We would always have to print out all the information to present to our customers. Now with iMedicare, we are able to show them in multiple ways which plan might be best for them.” iMedicare expects to have 1,000 pharmacies using the service by the end of this year. Its pharmacy system partners include Computer-Rx, SoftWriters, QS/1, and Rx30.