Blog | July 25, 2017

Raising the Service Level in Long-Term Care Pharmacy

By Will Lockwood. Originally published at computertalk.com.

Don’t miss this great article published in ComputerTalk. Hear from your peers in the industry as they describe the ways they’ve found to be successful and serve their customers best. Topics cover software, patient care, document management (DocuTrack features prominently in one section), packaging, interfaces, communication, eMARS, and more. While the article is a bit long, it is definitely worth taking the time to read. Here’s an excerpt below:

Long-term care (LTC) pharmacies have been, by the very nature of the services they provide, on the leading edge of some important trends in pharmacy. For example, they’ve long been syncing prescriptions in order to provide cycle fills, and they’re the original adherence packagers. Then there are the platforms they’ve built out to create a connected care provider team, including web portals for LTC communities and interfaces between pharmacy systems and digital records platforms such as electronic medication administration records (eMARs). With this history of technology and practice innovations in mind, we checked in with four closed-door long-term care pharmacies to find out how they are continuing to raise the bar in the profession.

Committing to a Service Level

Managing the complex demands of dispensing workflow and patient care effectively is critical at any pharmacy, but the long-term care environment comes with very specific demands that mean these pharmacies really have to be on their game, particularly when there’s a clear growth path at hand. For example, about seven years ago Labi Avdiu and several colleagues saw an opportunity to take on a larger LTC business. So they created Medication Management Partners, which has since grown tremendously — from about a thousand residents its first year, to around 4,300 now. It is now licensed in seven states, soon to be eight. But to get where they are, Avdiu says, he and his partners had to come to terms with committing to the software they’d need to serve these new communities. The pharmacy ultimately selected FrameworkLTC from SoftWriters. “It became very apparent to us that the software we were using in our retail environment could not take on the growth that we wanted,” says Avdiu. “We could see that there’s a great deal of complexity that you have to manage in the LTC world, and the software platform you use needs to be built for this.”

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A high-performance LTC pharmacy also has to have the ability to layer customizations within its pharmacy management software, both LTC community by community and within a community itself. “An LTC community may have, for example, a memory care wing that wants things a certain way,” says Avdiu, “but also regular assisted living and independent living residents for which it wants things a different way.” Or, he reports, an LTC community may choose multidose for noncontrolled meds, but want all controlled substances or just schedule IIs in bingo cards. It may want specific hours of administration on meds for its assisted living side, but not for its memory care wing; or it may want certain classes of meds or all prescriptions for memory care residents packaged on a shorter cycle, since changes are more frequent.

Becoming a Partner

The right software can also drive innovative models, such as the one in use at GoldStar Pharmacy. “The central part of our approach to long-term care pharmacy is to be the patient’s medication management partner,” says A.J. Oben. “Our goal is first and foremost to help our patients stay at home, which is really the natural progression of where the industry is going. GoldStar’s focus is to do more than just fulfill medication orders. We are partners with healthcare providers and the patient.”

To this end, Oben says, the pharmacy assigns a health coach to each patient: “We’ve got a workflow in our pharmacy system from SuiteRx that tells each health coach which patients, for those who are living at home, or which LTC communities he or she needs to be calling that day.” As Oben explains it, six days before a scheduled delivery the SuiteRx system prompts the GoldStar Pharmacy health coach to review everything for that patient or LTC community, and make a phone call to ensure that the pharmacy is capturing any changes or events, such as hospitalizations, that might have happened along the way. And once a month, reports Oben, a clinical pharmacist reviews the entire file for a patient and makes recommendations to the physician. “This way, we know we have an accurate list of medications when we produce that patient’s multidose pack, which we’ve branded as the GoldStarPak,” he says.

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Keeping Your Head Above Water

Branshaw also offers examples of what you need from your LTC software in order to keep up with the demands of the market. He notes that having good visibility into your workflow is critical for avoiding bottlenecks that impede your service level. He points to the dashboard in Harbor Pharmacy’s QS/1 PrimeCare system that color-codes the different process queues — red, yellow, green — and shows how many tasks are currently at such steps as refills, voicemails, error resolution, QA, web portal messaging, and DUR alerts. This is a prime avenue for ensuring that there aren’t any unpleasant surprises and that the pharmacy has its staff and resources deployed correctly.

At Midwest LTC Pharmacy, Cindy Lobeda points to a need for document management software to handle the constant flow of orders and information coming in from and going out to prescribers and LTC communities. “In years past, all this information came in as paper faxes,” says Lobeda. “We used to have to take faxes off our fax machine constantly. And then we’d have to shuffle and reshuffle all that paper to move it through the process and prioritize what needed to be done next.” That’s not a tenable way to really build an LTC business, and Lobeda reports building a software platform centered on SoftWriters’ FrameworkLTC and Integra’s as the pharmacy’s foundation. “Document management is probably my favorite thing that DocuTrack we have implemented here,” says Lobeda. “It automates and prioritizes our inbound and outbound communications. We can automatically link all the paperwork to a prescription, and make it available in all the right work queues.” Lobeda’s staff has access to information at the click on a button, whether it’s to answer a question from an LTC community or in the event of an audit. “We can answer a question in seconds,” she says, “and preparing for an audit takes a few hours, compared to a few weeks.”

Read the full article here.

Blog | July 20, 2017

Fast, Reliable and Safe: PrimeCare® Enhancements for DocuTrack and DeliveryTrack

By Lisa Fowler. Originally published July 17, 2017 on www.qs1.com

From a single source come two products that can change the way long-term care (LTC) operations approach two tasks in pharmacy management – document/content and delivery logistics. Integra®’s DocuTrack and DeliveryTrack are essential to LTC pharmacy management, preparing your operation to ensure the best possible transfer and storage of information and products.

DocuTrack is the leading workflow and content-management solution in the LTC market. It is a turnkey product that organizes, stores, routes, retrieves and tracks all items in workflow directly from employee workstations. DocuTrack reduces the time spent on legislative documentation, filling and refilling logistics and consulting notes. The interface with QS/1’s Pharmacy Management Systems increases productivity, reduces costs and enhances compliance.

DeliveryTrack results in peace of mind when prescriptions leave the pharmacy. From the pharmacy to facilities or the customer’s home, track deliveries, verify items, capture electronic signatures and more.

Each of these products is a powerful tool tailored specifically for pharmacy workflow. Together they enhance and improve the process of transferring and storing information and delivering prescriptions. New enhancements further integration with QS/1.

DocuTrack

QS/1 and Integra have worked to make daily processes easier with PrimeCare, a pharmacy management system, and DocuTrack, a complete workflow and document management system. With QS/1’s Service Pack 19.1.20 and Integra’s DocuTrack eRx module version 6.6, many new features are available to customers using electronic medication administration record (eMAR) or Surescripts® interfaces.

DocuTrack can now load National Council for Prescription Drug Programs (NCPDP) SCRIPT messages directly into PrimeCare. The NCPDP SCRIPT message types include NewRx, CancelRx, Census, and Resupply. The eMAR or Surescripts interface sends messages to QS/1’s Data Center to be delivered to the pharmacy. Simultaneously, the NCPDP SCRIPT messages are sent to DocuTrack’s eRx module.

DocuTrack added a new feature to allow NCPDP SCRIPT messages to be sent to PrimeCare with one click. Previously, for example, to process a Census message you clicked Mail, Census and double clicked the message to display the Patient Record to update patient information. To add a New Rx message, you clicked Mail, New Rx and double clicked the message to display the Patient Record to start entering the new prescription. With this enhancement, click Load NCPDP Message within DocuTrack and the Patient Record automatically displays.

You now have the ability to mark an uncompleted Refill message (received via Health Level 7 (HL7) from the DocuTrack refill sheet barcode) as processed in the Mail/Tickler scan, if a Resupply message was already processed from the 10.6 eMAR. The NCPDP SCRIPT Resupply message and the HL7 Refill message can be the same message but sent to QS/1 in two different formats. The eMAR sends NCPDP Resupply messages to QS/1, and DocuTrack scans and sends HL7 Refills to QS/1. Because two different workflows are used for these different message types, it is possible for duplicate messages to be received and processed. Since both messages contain the same Prescriber Order Number, QS/1 has the ability to identify and match these messages. Once the Resupply message has processed, the uncompleted duplicate HL7 Refill will be marked as processed in the Mail/Tickler scan.

QS/1 and Integra have made it easier to associate documents and save time by reducing the number of clicks. Integra added a new flag, Auto Add DocuTrack Document Type on Association. If this flag is checked, QS/1 uses the DocuTrack Document Type when associating. If the flag is not checked, the QS/1 document description is used for association.

To allow more fields to be associated from PrimeCare to DocuTrack forms, using the Form Fill In feature, QS/1 is providing its premium application program interface (API) to all DocuTrack customers at no additional cost. Pharmacies will automatically receive the API with Service Pack 19.1.20.

DocuTrack also supports the ability to automatically associate patients to incoming documents. Nursing Home forms, such as A23 or A/R Statement B, which print the charge account barcode, are auto associated when the barcoded form is scanned into DocuTrack. This feature can be implemented if the Patient ID is also used for the Charge Account number in PrimeCare or a patient association has been made from PrimeCare, at least once, to DocuTrack before the Statement of Account has been printed.

DeliveryTrack

PrimeCare Service Pack 19.1.20 also includes enhancements for DeliveryTrack, Integra’s delivery management solution. Signatures from DeliveryTrack to QS/1 are populated in PrimeCare on the Transaction Record. Storing signatures in PrimeCare completes the delivery reconciliation process. New Print Options were added to the Delivery Sheet to allow for patient home deliveries. Answer Yes to print the patient’s home address on the Delivery Sheet. The home Delivery Sheets must be run separately from facility deliveries.

There are current options for Export File = YES or ONLY, using the Print Pat. Info Print Option to determine the address information to include in the file. Print Pat. Info = NO populates the export file with the facility’s Address and Print Pat. Info = YES populates the export file with the patient’s Address, City, State, and Zip. A new option, Print Pat. Info = YA2, creates the export file with a new format and prints the Delivery Sheets. With the new file format, a new field for 2nd Address has been added to print after the Street Address field.

DocuTrack and DeliveryTrack were designed specifically for the pharmacy market and can add additional efficiency and accountability to your operation. Go paperless and gain more control over your delivery processes with these products.

Blog | July 18, 2017

Webinar This Thursday, July 20 – What’s New in DocuTrack 6.6

Join us on Thursday, July 20th at 10:00 p.m. (PST) for a new DocuTrack webinar. This workflow Webinar will help administrators understand how to use the new Address Book Workspace (Sources Workspace). New features of Address Book are used to build Document Import Rules. Learn how to create Doc Import Rules to capitalize on the DocuTrack System to efficiently route documents within pharmacy workflow.

Register now!

Audience: DocuTrack administrators
Instructor: Keri Nelson, Implementation Manager
Date: Thursday, July 20
Time: 10:00 a.m. PST (1:00 p.m. EST)

Learning Objectives:

  1. Understand Source Types
  2. Fine-tune your ability to manage address book as needed using Source Identifiers, Contact Methods and Processing Rules
  3. Understanding Import Rules and various options available (barcodes, Source based rules, notes, time-based rules)
  4. Efficiently and effectively automatically route documents to specific folders within DocuTrack workflow
  5. Highlight What’s New for End Users:
  • New Viewer
  • Simplified Custom Stamp Creation
  • User Preferred Stamps
  • Annotations and Entity Notes

Blog | July 14, 2017

They Don’t Know What They’re Missing

Faxes are a fact of life for long-term care pharmacies. But as anyone in the pharmacy market will tell you, faxing isn’t 100% reliable, which drives many in the industry to look for alternatives to traditional faxing. When Erik Dwelly started working at PCA Pharmacy, staff had already started looking into other options. “If we don’t get faxes, we don’t work, we don’t process medication,” says Erik Dwelly, Director of Information Technology and Security at PCA Pharmacy. “One pharmacy could handle four faxes at one time, another pharmacy could handle eight. But that wasn’t good enough during a down time. Customers thought they were faxing in, and nurses would get upset because they couldn’t fax in, so it was just this huge problem that didn’t make sense from an IT standpoint.”

When Jeff Ross, PCA’s Integra sales rep, approached Dwelly with Integra Cloud Fax (ICF), Dwelly noticed immediately that “ICF was a heck of a lot cheaper. A heck of a lot cheaper. It was an easy thousand dollars a month cheaper for us.” With ICF in place for a year and a half, Dwelly has this to say about ICF, “It’s been a very stable service. But the biggest single benefit of ICF was being able to virtualize DocuTrack and not have a physical server dependence anymore. But, one of the best improvements we found was people were no longer complaining about busy signals. That was huge for us. When we used traditional faxing, a lot of my time was spent trying to explain to people that we only have eight lines. If somebody was calling in and it’s busy, I can’t do anything about that.”

Another problem ICF helped PCA fix was problem-solving when a customer had a faxing problem. “Since we moved to a cloud-based service, when a customer can’t fax in, I know it’s most likely an issue on the facility’s end. I would say probably 99 out of 100 times, it has always been the facility’s end. I don’t have to prove that anymore because I can see in the last hour we’ve gotten 68 faxes. I can see that this one facility who can’t connect, most likely has an issue on their end. From my perspective as the IT Director, it took a huge portion of my normal day-to-day support off my plate.”

To read the full case study, click here.

Blog | July 6, 2017

Secure Messaging & HIE in the Long-Term Care Market

In an effort to keep our customers apprised of the latest technology trends in the pharmacy market, our industry experts compiled an article for the May/June edition of ComputerTalk. In case you missed the article, here it is in its entirety:

In Long-Term Care Pharmacy, Direct Secure Messaging and Health Information Exchange (HIE) are rapidly emerging technologies.  As participants in the U.S. healthcare system, each time we visit a health care provider, pharmacy, or community service provider, data is created about details of the encounter. Until now, this information was held by each provider independently. With HIE, all this information can be aggregated into one continuity of care document (CCD) and securely sent between providers and patients.

Direct Secure Messaging in combination with HIE technology will enable:

  • Private and secure patient communication and information
  • Improved quality, safety, efficiency, and reduced health disparities
  • Improved care coordination, and population health management

Enablement and Engagement:

Fundamentally, the impact of Direct and HIEs is much broader than simple connectivity. The electronic sharing of health information aids in the management of data exchanged, and strives to reduce duplication of services and operational costs.

HIE technology will enable an individual to establish a defined care team and utilize real-time, event-driven, bi-directional communication. Members of the care team, including the institutional pharmacy, can receive real-time notifications of events including: life events, change in condition, medication errors, transitions, facility changes, adverse reactions, illness, hospitalization, behavior change, and more. This enables the LTC pharmacist to play a significant consultative role in each patient’s polypharmacy while still managing the dispensing workflow.

Traditionally in Long-Term Care, transport of patient records has been done by fax or courier service. With HIE and Direct Secure Messaging, patients can move seamlessly from a hospital to a facility, with the discharge notice sent securely, via Direct Messaging, over the public internet. That discharge notice could contain the patient diagnosis, medical history, and all documentation needed, in one message.

Benefits for the LTC Pharmacy:

  • Savings through the elimination of phone lines and fax services
  • Secure email transport for:
    • Patient record updates, order clarifications, Refill Too Soons, insurance information, approvals, medication authorizations, therapeutic interchanges, and more
  • Improved workflow with:
    • Compliant use of email platforms such as Outlook with a Direct email address
    • Standardized continuity of care documents
    • Real-time notifications during transitions of care, life events, and health status changes
    • Consolidated content and information management in one central repository
  • Potential savings opportunities:
    • 90/10 Innovation Pool: Reimbursement up to 90% for innovation not funded through Meaningful Use
    • State Innovation Model (SIM funds): For pilot programs to implement new technologies
    • New revenue through consulting and medication therapy management (MTM) programs.
    • Talk to your technology lender or Medicaid Director to understand options.

How to get started:

Pharmacies should talk to their clients, payers, and physicians that are servicing their patients. Many of these may already have Secure Messaging in place via Direct. With 1.5 million addresses already certified, the participating pool is growing rapidly.

The basic entry point for Institutional Pharmacies is the set-up of Direct Secure Messaging. Once you have certified Direct email addresses, you can take the next step in tapping into the growing network. Talk to your technology providers today to learn more about Direct and HIE, and to ensure they are moving their technologies along this critical path.

Related Terms:

Health Information Exchanges (HIEs) will become the infrastructure and vehicle for data sharing among provider practices and health systems through the Nationwide Health Information Network (NwHIN).

Health Information Service Provider (HISPs) are organizations that manage the security and exchange of protected health information and provides Direct email addresses to registered users.

Direct is a national encryption standard for securely exchanging healthcare data via the Internet. Also known as the Direct Project, Direct Exchange, and Direct Secure Messaging, it specifies the secure, scalable, and standards-based method for the exchange of Protected Health Information (PHI).

Blog | June 30, 2017

Connecting and Networking in Anacortes

Once a year, our sales team comes to Anacortes for a week of meetings, training, and networking. Since they live in different states so they can be close to the pharmacies in their territories, we work hard to ensure our sales staff feels connected to their co-workers at corporate headquarters.

“These meetings are incredibly beneficial in helping educate our sales reps on the latest product features and company information,” says Jim McDonald, Integra’s National Sales Director. “It also serves as a time for us to reconnect with the staff in admin, support, client services, finance, and marketing who we work with on a daily basis.”

During these meetings, product directors and managers give presentations on their products and departments, providing a look ahead at where product development is going. They discussed the challenges faced by pharmacies in today’s market and shared the unique ways in which pharmacies are using Integra products to meet those challenges. With a shared goal of providing the best possible service to current and potential customers, on-site staff and the sales team view this past week’s meetings as a success.

“What I took away most from this week was not only product knowledge but the relationships with co-workers that I was able to enhance,” said Tony Chambrovich, Sales Manager for the Northeast.

Blog | June 22, 2017

Don’t Miss Out on Your Free Smartphone!

Now is the time to start the conversation. DeliveryTrack is the leading delivery management solution in the LTC market. And the best part is it’s customized to your pharmacy and your processes. DeliveryTrack can help you save money, bring more accountability to your delivery processes, and provide better service to your customers. But don’t take our word for it. Here’s what a few of the 150 pharmacies who use DeliveryTrack have to say:

“We use the proof of delivery the most…it saves us a lot of time and aggravation in terms of looking for signed delivery sheets.” ~Boris Natenzon, Owner – Vitacare Pharmacy

“What really paid for DeliveryTrack was when we had an audit. We used to spend 60 hours of prep time; our prep time is now minutes. All the delivery signatures end up in DocuTrack where we can use audit assist to pull the prescriptions and delivery signatures with a single search.”  ~Jamie Williams, IT Manager & Mike Sauer, Technology Manager – Williams Apothecary

“Now we can track our drivers. We know where they are. We know how long it takes them to get from one facility to the next. And we can modify our routes based on that. So it’s really invaluable to us on our workflow and the processes from beginning to end.”  ~Amy Cruse, Operations Manager – AmPharm, Inc.

“We have instant knowledge of the delivery and instant access to the original documents. And that’s very important. It makes your customer service much stronger and makes you look much more professional in the eyes of your customer.”  ~Michael Kaplan, President – Medic Pharmacy

Let us show you how DeliveryTrack can meet your specific needs and work for your pharmacy, by scheduling a demo. And, if you schedule a demo in June, we’ll include a free Android smartphone with your purchase of DeliveryTrack. Call (866) 257-4279 or email sales@integragroup.com. To learn more, visit www.getdeliverytrack.com.

Blog | June 20, 2017

See DeliveryTrack in Action!

Android devices. Real-time tracking. Signature capture. All admittedly cool features. But have you ever wanted to see how DeliveryTrack works? Start by watching the video, then go to getdeliverytrack.com to sign up for your free demo so you can see exactly why DeliveryTrack is the best delivery solution for long-term care pharmacies.

Blog | June 15, 2017

We’re Growing! See Our Building Addition

We are pleased and excited to announce the beginning of construction on an additional building to our corporate headquarters. Over the past few years, we’ve grown so much that we are out of space. The new building will double our workspace so we can comfortably accommodate our current staff, and have room for continued growth.

“This new facility will provide us much-needed space to better serve our customers,” said Kevin Welch, President of Integra. “Downtown Anacortes has served us well as a base of operations, and we are pleased to be able to expand our presence at our current location.”

In the image above, our current facility is on the far right. A skybridge, the first in the San Juan Islands, will connect the two structures. The new building is slated for completion at the end of 2017.

Keep an eye on our progress with the building webcam.