PHARMACY

HIE, mobile technology dominate conversations at HIMSS

A few weeks ago, we joined some 37,000 of our closest friends for the Healthcare Information and Management Systems Society (HIMSS) annual conference. HIMSS is a cause-based, not-for-profit organization focused on providing global leadership for the optimal use of information technology and management systems for the betterment of health care.

The annual conference not only brought a huge crowd, but this year experienced record-breaking first time attendance and offered participants more than 300 educational opportunities. One week almost wasn’t enough time!

During the conference, there were a few trends that resounded with the pharmacy portion of the audience. Healthcare Information Exchange (HIE) was certainly a theme, and many conversations involved organizational willingness to participate in HIE initiatives for the betterment of health care. Many agree that exchanging patient medication history electronically with providers can enhance patient care.

Further, several educational sessions addressed performing the exchange of such patient medication history in real-time. When a patient has provided consent for the caregiver to access his or her information, the caregiver should be able to access that information quickly. We continue to explore proactive ways to provide real-time patient medication histories to the physician end-users.

Another burgeoning theme at HIMSS was the concept of providing e-prescribing services in a non-EDI environment. While the pharmacy industry has experienced a major move toward e-prescribing, there are still providers and pharmacies that operate in nontechnical ways. How can we best serve both communities in an era of meaningful use incentives? And, as e-prescribing continues to provide better patient outcomes while also improving the cost of health care, many are asking, "what’s next?"  

At HIMSS, there was quite a buzz around mobile technology as well. Thought leaders believe it may be time to get the patient more involved in the e-prescribing workflow process. Text messaging and other forms of communication could prove to be effective in helping the patient stay connected when it comes to his or her electronic  prescriptions. These types of communications also can enable pharmacies to provide important healthcare messages to the patient, meanwhile keeping the patient informed about a variety of pertinent pharmacy topics. Whether, for example, it is providing messaging to the patient that prescriptions are available for pickup or that the local pharmacy has scheduled a flu clinic, timely alerts to the patient can have multiple healthcare benefits.

Overall, HIMSS was a jam-packed, educational and informative conference, and it was truly a benefit to gather the various parties together to work toward “transforming health care through IT.”


Richard Brook
VP of pharmacy sales
Richard Brook is VP of pharmacy sales for Emdeon and is responsible for enterprise-wide sales of pharmacy solutions that simplify the prescription process and increase efficiency, accuracy and profitability for 60,000 chain and community pharmacies nationwide. He also supports pharmacy connectivity needs for Emdeon’s payer and prescription benefit manager customers.

Lathe Bigler
Senior director of clinical services for the pharmacy services division
Lathe Bigler serves as Emdeon’s senior director of clinical services for the pharmacy services division. His focus on developing layers of competitive advantage and increasing market growth are instrumental in Emdeon’s advancement in the exchange of electronic prescriptions and other clinical information. Lathe has more than 15 years experience in healthcare and information technology fields and has held roles in marketing, product management, business development and industry relations with such corporations as NDC Health, Midmark Diagnostics, DrFirst and AltaPoint Data Systems. Lathe has a bachelor’s degree in marketing and business administration.

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Bausch + Lomb agrees to buy Ista

BY Allison Cerra

MADISON, N.J., and IRVINE, Calif. — Bausch + Lomb will acquire eye drug maker Ista Pharmaceuticals for $9.10 per share in cash, or approximately $500 million.

Bausch + Lomb’s said its acquisition of Ista "accelerates the company’s strategy to strengthen its pipeline and marketed products and capabilities." Ista’s portfolio of nonsteroidal, anti-inflammatory, allergy, glaucoma and spreading agents complements Bausch + Lomb’s portfolio of existing prescription ophthalmology and over-the-counter eye health products, the company said. Currently, nearly all of Ista’s current U.S. products are manufactured by Bausch + Lomb, the company said.

The companies will continue to operate independently until completion of the transaction, which is expected to close during the second quarter.

"Ista is an excellent strategic fit with Bausch + Lomb’s rapidly growing pharmaceutical business, and this combination represents an important step in Bausch + Lomb’s commitment to becoming the best global eye health company," Bausch + Lomb president and CEO Brent Saunders said. "We share a strong overlapping customer base in the United States, a commitment to serving our physicians and patients and a track record of developing meaningful medical advances in eye health. With this combination, we will significantly enhance our pharmaceutical pipeline, nearly doubling the number of mid- to late-stage innovations. We look forward to delivering the benefits of this combination to customers, patients, employees and partners of both companies."

The announcement follows an acquisition offer made for Ista by Canada-based drug maker Valeant Pharmaceuticals. Valeant sought to purchase Ista for $7.50 per share in cash but withdrew its offer due to lack of progress.

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Rite Aid announces ‘Favorite Pharmacist’ contest winners

BY Alaric DeArment

CAMP HILL, Pa. — A Rite Aid pharmacist and customer on the West Coast are the winners of an annual contest the chain sponsors, the company said Tuesday.

Rite Aid announced the winners of the 2011 Favorite Pharmacist contest: Sampathkumaran Trichy Santhanagopalan, of Yakima, Wash.; and winning customer Art Gomez, of Santa Rosa, Calif., who nominated his long-time pharmacist, Amy Druzgala. Each winner will receive $2,500 in Rite Aid gift cards, and Santhanagopalan will receive a "Favorite Pharmacist" pin and letter of commendation from Rite Aid president and CEO John Standley.

"Rite Aid’s pharmacists are our greatest asset, and this contest is a unique way to celebrate their commitment to customer service," Rite Aid SVP pharmacy Dan Miller said. "I’d like to congratulate our two winners and express Rite Aid’s sincere gratitude to all our pharmacists for their dedicated service year-round."

The winners were chosen from among 12,000 entries. Santhanagopalan, who has worked as a Rite Aid pharmacist for four years, was nominated by nearly 50 customers.

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