Pharmacy integration also a technology consideration

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Suresh Vishnubhatla, PharMerica, Chief Technology Officer
Suresh Vishnubhatla, PharMerica, Chief Technology Officer
While many providers are still wrapping their heads around electronic health records and web-based care plans, there's another hurdle many are preparing to overcome: integration with pharmacy records.

“We believe the adoption of technology will provide better care,” said Suresh Vishnubhatla, the senior vice president and chief technology officer of PharMerica.

“We have to find opportunities where we can save you money,” he added to participants in November's PointClickCare User Summit in Orlando, FL.

Pharmacy issues for long-term care clinical staff include how quickly they can get medications to residents, especially those who are in pain and need a controlled substance. Administrators also must worry about cost containment and regulatory compliance.

Traditionally, pharmacy orders have been done via fax, which can be time-consuming and result in mistakes.
“It's very error-prone,” Vishnubhatla said. “There's a better way to do all these things.”

PharMerica, for example, offers electronic systems that can interact with a robust EMR or EHR interface, he said.
“There are less errors and it can become real-time,” Vishnubhatla said. “There's cost containment. You can focus on caring for the residents instead of chasing paper.” 

Digital signatures also make for faster pharmacy interactions. Omnicare's Omniview Dr™ will debut in 2012. It allows a physician to pursue e-prescribing. In a demonstration using Sims characters at the PCC summit, users saw how a nurse walks to the phone and talks to the physician and how the physician can then use his digital signature to send the order back to the pharmacy. This will save the nurse from having to print, fill out and fax back a medication order form.

“The new release will enhance the nurse entry process,” said Gina Timmons, RPh, vice president of customer facing technology at Omnicare. “We're looking to shrink the amount of time.”