PHARMACY

Innovation’s PharmAssist Symphony system achieves Microsoft certification

BY Alaric DeArment

JOHNSON CITY, N.Y. — Innovation’s PharmAssist Symphony pharmacy workflow system has received certification from Microsoft for applications running on Windows Server 2008 R2, Innovation said Friday.

The pharmacy automation company said the system was independently tested to meet the software giant’s standards for security, stability, availability, reliability and compatibility with the operating system.

The company said the certification built on its Gold Certified Partner status in the Microsoft Partner Program.

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Shortages linked with ethnic immunizations

BY Alaric DeArment

ROCHESTER, N.Y. — Delays or limits in the supply of flu vaccines can exacerbate disparities in vaccination rates among elderly whites, African-Americans and Hispanics, according to a study conducted by researchers at the University of Rochester and published in the American Journal of Preventive Medicine.

The researchers, led by medical professor Yoo Byung-Kwang, found that the disparities in vaccination rates within the elderly population can widen by two to seven percentage points in years when problems with the vaccine supply emerge, depending on the severity of the problem, while narrowing by two to 11 percentage points when there are adequate supplies.

Yoo and the other researchers used data from the “Medicare Current Beneficiary Survey” and examined seasonal influenza vaccination rates from 2000 to 2005. Overall vaccination rates were more than 70% for whites, compared with 43% to 63% for blacks; among Hispanics, those who spoke English had vaccination rates of 58% to 75%, compared with 31% to 53% among those who spoke only Spanish.

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Vaccine push hits retail

BY Alaric DeArment

With pharmacists across the country now able to administer vaccinations, the Department of Health and Human Services’ plan came at just the right time.

Last month, HHS announced that it would invest $750 million in prevention and public health, through the Prevention and Public Health Fund created by the healthcare-reform law. More than half of that was set aside for community prevention and clinical prevention, including increasing the availability and use of immunizations. Days later, HHS announced a new National Vaccine Plan that specifically acknowledged the role pharmacies can play in increasing use of vaccines as “community immunization sites.” Most recently, Walgreens, Rite Aid and Supervalu stepped up and announced that they had ensured their stores had the shingles vaccine in stock in response to reports of supply problems.

“There appears to be a growing trend for administration of adult vaccines at pharmacies and retail clinics,” IMS Health senior principal Heather von Allmen told Drug Store News. “The largest shifts toward retail pharmacy administration are for flu vaccine and the adult shingles vaccine. The adult pneumococcal vaccine, while still primarily administered in a nonpharmacy setting, is also seeing an increase in administration in the pharmacy setting.”

One advantage pharmacies have over physicians’ offices is the ability to easily meet storage requirements. For example, the adult shingles vaccine has to be frozen, and physicians’ offices don’t always have the ability to stock it. However, a pharmacy is already set up to store it, von Allmen said.

“I think you will see pharmacies continue to promote the administration of adult vaccines in the pharmacy or retail clinic setting,” von Allmen said. “This provides a revenue growth opportunity for pharmacies and provides patients with the convenience of receipt of the vaccine.”

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