Blog | August 31, 2017

Integra Support Engineers Working Toward Microsoft Certifications

 

Integra encourages continuing education for its engineers so they can remain on the cutting edge and better serve our customers. Many Integra engineers hold Microsoft certifications and continue to work toward new or renew them periodically. Integra Senior Support Engineer Matt Henry has just completed his first of three exams toward achieving his certification as a Microsoft Certified Solutions Associate (MCSA): SQL Server 2012/2014. This first exam 461 focused on Querying Microsoft SQL Server 2012/2014. The exam is intended for SQL Server database administrators, system engineers, and developers to validate their skills and knowledge in writing queries.

We like to give our engineers a public “pat on the back” and wish Matt luck on his next two exams toward full certification. Keep up the good work Matt!

More information about the MCSA can be found at https://www.microsoft.com/en-us/learning/mcsa-sql-certification.aspx.

Blog | August 29, 2017

Staff Had a Little Fun, Too

We had a wonderful time hosting J. M. Smith and QS/1 executives last week. And our staff had a chance to enjoy the gorgeous weather too during a meet and greet (nice shades, everyone!). We’ll take any excuse to enjoy a beautiful, sunny day, so having Alan, Saul, and Joey visit was perfect timing.

Blog | August 25, 2017

Disaster Preparation During Hurricane Harvey

Our thoughts are with all of our customers and all residents of the Texas coastal areas. In an effort to help you prepare your businesses, here are some recommendations.

  • Back-up’s are the most important step. Ensure they are viable for restore.
    1. Ensure that the back-up media is not in the same location as the server and is in a location that will be dry.
  • If you are leaving the pharmacy and will not be using Integra’s products, please complete the following steps.
    1. Take a picture of the backside of the server before unplugging any cables.
    2. Safely power down your server.
    3. Pull the power cable from the back of your server.
    4. Pull the Ethernet cable from the back of your server.
    5. Move your server to a safe location that will not get wet.

If you have any further questions regarding preparation, please contact Integra Support at (866) 720-6846 or by email at docutracksupport@integragroup.com.

 

Blog | August 24, 2017

J M Smith and QS/1 Management Visit the Integra Offices

Kevin Welch, Joey Parrish, Saul Factor, Alan Turfe, Jim McDonald, and Dennis Williams taking a break during this week’s meetings.

Integra was honored to welcome management from J M Smith and QS/1 at the Integra offices in Anacortes, WA this week. Visiting Integra was Alan Turfe – J M Smith Chairman & CEO, Saul Factor – QS/1 President, Joey Parrish – QS/1 Director of Customer Support, and our own Jim McDonald – Integra’s National Sales Director. Meetings took place to review product plans, client services operations, and Alan and Saul had lunch with the entire company to talk about the goals of J M Smith and hear from us all of us as well. Alan stated he is “thankful to be part of a team that takes such pride in what we do and who we are, whether by celebrating our successes, by giving back to our communities, or by going the extra mile for our customers.”

In July, Saul Factor, RPh joined the J M Smith team as the new president of QS/1. Saul hit the ground running, meeting employees and customers across the country in his first few weeks on the job. He and QS/1 Client Services Director, Joey Parrish, spent time with Integra’s Client Services Director, Mileen Loeffler, to share ideas and increase collaborative efforts across the two divisions.

“It’s an exciting time for Integra and the other divisions,” said Kevin Welch, Integra’s President, and J M Smith’s CTO. “Collaboration is strengthening and we look toward a very exciting future. Having Alan, Saul, and Joey at our offices lets my staff know there are real people who care at all levels and divisions within J M Smith.”

Blog | August 23, 2017

Niche Pharmacies Fill Needs for LTC Patients

Original article published August 2, 2017. By Naseem S. Miller, Orlando Sentinel. Click here to view full article

In a recent article, one of our valued customers – Guardian Pharmacy of Orlando – gives a succinct description of the role of LTC pharmacy in today’s growing marketplace. Below is an excerpt.


The average nursing-home resident has many as a dozen prescription medications. To dispense the pills from regular pill bottles can be time-consuming for nurses and increase the risk of mistakes, diversion and drug interactions.

That’s where niche pharmacies such as Guardian Pharmacy Services, which recently opened a new facility in Orlando — its seventh location in Florida — come in.

“We don’t have specialized packaging and consultants in average retail stores, so these pharmacies evolved,” said Dana Saffel, president and CEO of Pharmacare Strategies, a consulting firm in Florida.

The pharmacies mainly contract with long-term care facilities such as nursing homes to fill residents’ prescriptions.

“There are no on-site pharmacies in nursing homes, and that’s where we come in,” said Alan Obringer, president of Guardian Pharmacy of Orlando and an industry veteran.

There’s already a spike in the number of pharmacy-school graduates who choose to specialize in geriatric pharmacy.

“The geriatric specialty has been growing very rapidly, and I expect it to continue to grow rapidly,” said Thomas Clark, senior director of geriatric pharmacy certification at Board of Pharmacy Specialties, an autonomous division of the American Pharmacists Association. “In the first half of this year, we doubled the number of applicants for the specialty to 700.”

Running a long-term pharmacy is not easy business. Profit margins are slim and competition is stiff, particularly for smaller groups.

“Our biggest challenge is competing with large chains to get the business [of long-term care facilities] in the community,” said Bri Morris, who manages long-term care services for National Community Pharmacists Association.

But recent changes in federal guidelines, which reward providers for quality and patient satisfaction, are giving smaller companies new opportunities.

“The number of nursing-home beds has been declining,” said Clark. “That’s in part because assisted living is growing and taking on less acute patients.”

Also, the rapidly growing aging population is more likely to “age in place” instead of moving into a nursing home. They also want more personalized care.

“The most common issue for long-term care facilities is non-personal care,” said Obringer of Guardian. “We answer the phone. We try to text everybody, like it’s our own grandmother. And we customize our services.”

Read the full article here.

Blog | August 18, 2017

New Building Update

Kevin (second from left) with the TelCo team standing near the southern side of the north building.

In case you haven’t heard, Integra is dramatically expanding its offices in Anacortes in order to accommodate current and future growth. Work is progressing quickly on the project with the northern-most building exterior nearing completion, with the roof/truss installation scheduled for early September. The foundation for the southern building is also complete. Construction on the walls will be starting shortly.

Kevin Welch, Integra’s President said, “I am pleased with the progress made by our contractor, TriCo Construction. These two new buildings will provide Integra with much-needed space while maintaining the style of our current building which is part of the rich history of Anacortes.”

Blog | August 3, 2017

We Don’t Have to Fight Audits Anymore

Audits are an unpleasant reality for long-term care pharmacies. But with so many business dollars at potential risk, Williams Apothecary viewed the time-consuming task of pulling files as a necessary evil. “We didn’t lose a lot of audit fines because we were really good at them,” said Jamie Williams, IT Manager at Williams Apothecary. “But even fighting the audits took hours of follow-up time hunting down and producing signatures. Audits were pretty much a full-time job, but that work would start after your day job tasks were done.”

Now, with DocuTrack and DeliveryTrack, audits are significantly easier. “The integration of QS/1, DocuTrack, and DeliveryTrack works great for us. For the prescriptions, we just dump the numbers in DocuTrack, highlight all the prescription responses that come back, and print them off or create PDFs immediately.”

“Eventually, it got old for auditors trying to continue to get huge amounts of money back from us,” said Mike Sauer, Technology Manager at Williams Apothecary. “We used to have to fight auditors on their fines. Now we don’t even have to fight it, because we have the signatures up front.”

Read the full case study here.

Blog | July 28, 2017

Kevin Welch Expands Role at Integra & J M Smith

Kevin Welch, President of Integra, has been appointed as Chief Technology Officer of the J M Smith Corporation. Kevin – who will remain dedicated to his role as President of Integra – will oversee the development of new technology across the J M Smith Corporation, streamlining the process of bringing technology to market.

“My goal is to assist all of J M Smith Corporation, including Integra LTC Solutions, in the strategic development and deployment of next-generation products and services,” said Kevin. “I want to ensure our technology strategy aligns with our business strategy, ultimately to meet the demands of our market today, prepare for the future, and better serve our growing customer base.”

Read the full press release here.

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.”

……

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.

……

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.