PHARMACY

Report: Harris Teeter to implement new EHR in stores

BY Allison Cerra

NEW YORK The health information technology revolution is sweeping beyond urban centers and into the heartland.

 

Newest case in point: Harris Teeter, whose tagline is “Your Neighborhood Food Market,” and whose reach is deep in the South and Mid-Atlantic regions. The 188-store chain has adopted sophisticated electronic health record technology in 118 in-store pharmacies, giving both its customer-patients and its pharmacists a real-time, easily accessed information platform with which to make more informed health decisions.

 

Behind the technology driving the online system: Florida-based Connectyx Technologies Holding Group. One distinguishing characteristic: ease of use. Harris Teeter pharmacy customers can use the system’s flash drive to access their prescription records anywhere they can find a computer and an Internet connection.

Connectyx president and CEO Ronn Schuman described the ease with which patients in the company’s eight-state market area — which also includes Washington, D.C. — can connect with their own data. It goes without saying that also can give those patients’ pharmacists and physicians ready access to accurate data and a more comprehensive patient profile.

“Harris Teeter’s customer base will greatly benefit from digitally storing their personal health records on our … MedFlash drive, which is so portable it can be kept on a key ring for access whenever and wherever needed,” Schuman said.

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Bayer Schering Pharma completes patient enrollment for ROCKET AF study

BY Alaric DeArment

BARCELONA, Spain Bayer Schering Pharma has finished enrolling patients into its late-stage clinical trial of a drug for preventing complications of atrial fibrillation, the German drug maker announced Sunday.

Bayer said the 14,269-patient phase 3 study, called ROCKET AF, would compare the safety and efficacy of Xarelto (rivaroxaban) in 20 mg doses to warfarin as a way to prevent stroke and non-centrial nervous system systemic embolism in patients with AF.

“We are encouraged by the excellent progress of the ROCKET AF study in atrial fibrillation and look forward to the study results in 2010,” Bayer HealthCare chief medical officer Kemal Malik said in a statement.

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Researchers link Type 1 diabetes to immune response to wheat

BY Allison Cerra

NEW YORK Scientists at the Ottawa Hospital Research Institute and the University of Ottawa have discovered what may be an important clue to the cause of Type 1 diabetes: immunity to wheat proteins.

Early in life, the immune system is supposed to learn to attack such foreign invaders as viruses and bacteria, while leaving the body’s own tissues and harmless molecules in the environment alone (including food in the gut). When this process goes awry, autoimmune diseases and allergies can develop. The new research concluded that immune cells (known as T cells) from people with Type 1 diabetes are also more likely to over-react to wheat.

“The immune system has to find the perfect balance to defend the body against foreign invaders without hurting itself or over-reacting to the environment and this can be particularly challenging in the gut, where there is an abundance of food and bacteria,” said Fraser Scott, a senior scientist at the Ottawa Hospital Research Institute and Professor of Medicine at the University of Ottawa. “Our research suggests that people with certain genes may be more likely to develop an over-reaction to wheat and possibly other foods in the gut and this may tip the balance with the immune system and make the body more likely to develop other immune problems, such as Type 1 diabetes.”

Scott’s previous research has shown that a wheat-free diet can reduce the risk of developing diabetes in animal models, but he notes that more research will be required to confirm the link and determine possible effects of diet changes in humans. Research is also needed to investigate links with celiac disease, another autoimmune disease that has been linked to wheat.

In a commentary accompanying the paper, diabetes expert Dr. Mikael Knip of Finland said “These observations add to the accumulating concept that the gut is an active player in the diabetes disease process.”

This research was funded by the Juvenile Diabetes Research Foundation and the Canadian Institutes of Health Research. The authors include Dr. Majid Mojibian, Dr. Habiba Chakir, Dr. David E. Lefebvre, Jennifer A. Crookshank, Brigitte Sonier and Dr. Erin Keely, as well as Dr. Scott. Patients were enrolled at The Ottawa Hospital and the Children’s Hospital of Eastern Ontario.

The 42-patient study, published in the August 2009 issue of the journal Diabetes.

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