PHARMACY

Wellspan Health, Voiceport collaborate on improved medication adherence

BY Jason Owen

ROCHESTER, N.Y. — VoicePort today announced a finalized agreement to deploy their services with WellSpan Health, a new client located in York, Pa., offering a vast array of inpatient, outpatient, home health and physician services.

The company will install two of VoicePort’s patient solutions: PharmaRemind patient notifications and Meducation prescription translation, education and written instruction service. Both innovative solutions will enter Wellspan Health’s pharmacy work-flow in pursuit of delivering improved medication adherence for their pharmacy patients.

Both companies are eager to begin the collaboration and the opportunity to better patient medication adherence. “We are very excited to have the chance to work with WellSpan Health in the opportunity of improving patient health and improving medication adherence,” said Alphonse J. Sasso, VP business development with Voiceport.

Added Cynthia Johannes Beecher, director of Wellspan Pharmacy and Healthy Community Pharmacy, "We are pleased to be partnering with VoicePort to be able to enhance the services we provide our pharmacy patients in the area of education, adherence and private notification on prescription status."

PharmaRemind is a patient reminder service that provides automated HIPAA and PHI compliant notifications to patients to help them stay on task to refill, or pick up a prescription from their pharmacy. The solution will be integrated within the WellSpan Health Pharmacy Management Data Base System with programming built in to recognize when patients should be communicated regarding a prescription to help keep them on regimen. The patient receives their notification in their preferred mode of communication including advanced speech recognition phone, e-mail, text or smartphone.

Meducation is a patient translation, education and instruction service that delivers medication instruction sheets in easy-to-read vocabulary, with translations in 18 different languages. VoicePort is the authorized partner to sell these services in collaboration with Meducation parent company, Polyglot Systems. The solution is written in a manner to help low healt- literate and limited English proficient patients better understand the instructions on how to take their medication complete, with such tools as a universal medication scheduler, pictograms, device videos and a multiple medication calendar scheduler.

VoicePort’s PharmaPhonetics patient solution delivers cost-effective, automated, personalized, intelligent and interactive unified communications that connects directly to the patients on behalf of the pharmacy. Their services include prescription pick-up and refill reminder notifications, health awareness/medical therapy review messaging, patient counseling, translation, education and instruction services, mobile applications focused on pharmacy or the front end, automated web-based appointment scheduling services and patient co-payment assistance programs. The Unified Patient Communication platform enables permission based phone, text, e-mail, web and mobile notifications that are personalized to individual patients and their specific needs.

“Medication adherence is estimated to be a $300 billion issue in the United States. Offering our clients communication patient instruction options via phone, web, text, e-mail and mobile to deliver messages that align to their customers’ preferred needs will help to increase compliance and improve the overall health of each patient,” said Christopher J. Mann, president and CEO, Voiceport. Mann added, “Our new partnership with WellSpan Health further demonstrates the value of our intelligent and automated solutions. We look forward to working with them to satisfy all of their patient needs. We also expect that we will have opportunities to meet with like organizations throughout the country in this new space to leverage our solutions in a similar fashion.”


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PHARMACY

’60 Minutes’ report explores fungal meningitis outbreak

BY Alaric DeArment

ALEXANDRIA, Va. — A report on CBS’ "60 Minutes" Sunday explored the aftermath of the nationwide outbreak of fungal meningitis linked to the New England Compounding Center that, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, has sickened 720 people in 20 states and led to 48 deaths.

But "aftermath" might not necessarily be an appropriate word for the people who contracted the infection, for which there is no cure, but who must continue taking medication to treat it and suffer debilitating symptoms.

In the report, former employees of the NECC, which has since declared bankruptcy, talked about alleged means the company’s managers used to evade the scrutiny of regulators as the pharmacy, in employees’ view, had transitioned from a small operation to a manufacturing center and started ignoring safety and sanitary regulations in order to increase volume.

"This story appropriately shines a spotlight on the terrible patient suffering that occurred as a result of the irresponsible actions of NECC, and it reinforces the need to ensure proper oversight by health officials," National Community Pharmacists Association CEO B. Douglas Hoey said in a statement. "The accounts of former NECC employees that were reported in the story persuasively reinforce the views of NCPA and others that NECC was in fact evading necessary regulation in part by purporting to be a compounding pharmacy."

The report included an interview with Food and Drug Administration commissioner Margaret Hamburg, who has called for increased federal authority over compounding pharmacies. But Hoey criticized the government’s response.

"As congressional hearings and investigations have made clear, prior to the tragic meningitis outbreak, the FDA and the Massachusetts Board of Pharmacy had adequate authority to take action against NECC," Hoey said. "They could have acted to mitigate or potentially even prevent patient suffering. Sadly, they did not." 

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Legislation would expand Texas pharmacists’ vaccination ability

BY Alaric DeArment

AUSTIN, Texas — Legislation proposed in Texas’ state legislature would expand the range of vaccines that pharmacists can administer to children.

Currently, pharmacists in the state can administer the flu vaccine to children older than 7 years, but they can only administer other Centers for Disease Control and Prevention-recommended vaccines for tetanus, diphtheria and pertussis to those ages 14 years and older. The new legislation, including bills introduced in the state Senate and House, would allow pharmacists to administer those vaccines to children ages 7 years and older as well.

The proposed legislation drew praise from the Texas Pharmacy Association, which noted that the state ranks below the national average when it comes to immunization rates. The TPA cited a poll of 836 Texas voters conducted last month by Baselice and Associates showed that 93% of respondents agree that children, with parental consent, should be protected against common childhood diseases, while 87% agreed that trained pharmacists should be allowed to administer vaccines.

"Pharmacists are highly qualified and trusted healthcare providers who are in the best position to help meet the growing immunization demand and reduce the number of vaccine-preventable diseases for thousands of Texas children," TPA CEO Joe DaSilva said. "Unfortunately, there are still many immunizations that Texans do not have easy access to, including the highly contagious pertussis."

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