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PRNewswire / Bizjournals
OnsiteRx® launches first for Arizona: Automated drug dispensing in nursing home


Biztech Magazine
Point-of-Sale Technologies: Cash or Credit?


Pittsburgh Business Times
On-SiteRx medicine dispenser saves Redstone Highlands nursing home $10,000


Midland Reporter-Telegram
Manor Park installs new automated drug dispensing system


Pittsburgh Business Times
Western Pennsylvania senior care providers adding new drug-dispensing machines - Devices designed to reduce costs, improve care


Dallas Morning News Article
Automated drug-dispensing improves care at nursing home


The Mesquite News Star Article
National program for seniors launches in Mesquite



OnsiteRx® launches first for Arizona: Automated drug dispensing in nursing home

Thrusday, February 16, 2012

By OnSiteRx, Inc./
PRNewswire / Bizjournals

DALLAS-FT. WORTH, TEXAS, FEBRUARY 16: OnSiteRx®, Inc. (http://www.onsiterx.com), parent organization for OnSiteRx® of Phoenix, LLC, in partnership with Covenant Health Network, announces today that they have successfully implemented the first automated drug dispensing system to operate in a long term care facility in the state of Arizona.

“It is not often when healthcare can increase patient safety and lower medication cost,” states Dr. Reef Gillum, Founder and CEO of OnSiteRx®. “This is a giant step for healthcare in Arizona. The system transforms a 30 year old antiquated process by providing daily dispensed, individually packaged, pharmacist reviewed medication within minutes, significantly increasing safety, decreasing drug waste and improving documentation.”

OnSiteRx’s ODS™ (OnSiteRx Dispensing System™) was fully operational at the Christian Care Nursing Center in Phoenix, Arizona on Wednesday, February 1, 2012. Through its own patent pending web-based software application, the system remotely communicates to a dispensing packager positioned in a secured location at the facility. OnSiteRx’s local pharmacy closely monitors and supplies the inventory within the packager, and handles all emergency deliveries for the facility as well.

Matt Luger, CEO of the Phoenix-based non-profit organization, Covenant Health Network, states, “This new model of medication administration will revolutionize the way pharmacy services are provided in senior care settings. First dose orders can be processed and are available for the nursing staff to pass immediately, rather than having to wait hours for an off-site pharmacy courier to deliver. Medications are dispensed and the facility or resident is charged only as used, rather than a week or month in advance. Nursing staff time saved, due to the reduction in the length of each med pass, can be re-directed to more resident-focused functions.”

OnSiteRx’s system incorporates controls and reporting capabilities to ensure the highest level of regulatory compliance for the residents’ safety. Through this method of dispensing medications, the system will reduce cost to residents and insurance providers, can reduce the opportunity of facility errors, and reduce the thousands of dollars of drugs currently destroyed by each facility every month. OnSiteRx®, Inc. also owns and operates pharmacies in Texas and Pennsylvania and plans to extend its footprint into additional states.

About OnSiteRx , Inc.

OnSiteRx is a Texas based organization who manages its own pharmacy network that utilizes proven technology to provide a state-of-the-art medication delivery solution to long term care facilities.

About Covenant Health Network

Covenant Health Network is an alliance of faith-based non-profit senior care organizations, dedicated to improve quality of life for the 13,000 seniors it serves daily and improve efficiency for the 90 post-acute care facilities in its network.

About Christian Care Nursing Center

Christian Care Nursing Center, Inc., located in Phoenix, Arizona, is a 68-bed nursing center offering skilled nursing care services since 1981 and regularly receives the highest quality ratings from the Arizona Department of Health Services.

Contact Information

OnSiteRx®, Inc.
Christine Grizzle
By phone: 817-778-8769
E-mail: christine.grizzle@onsiterx.com

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OnSiteRx medicine dispenser saves Redstone Highlands
nursing home $10,000

Friday, April 9, 2010

By KRIS B. MAMULA/
Pittsburgh Business Times

ODS
John Dickson, president and CEO of Redstone Highlands, stands next to a pharmaceutical dispenser from OnSiteRXC, a Texas-based company that supplies the machines.
A new system for dispensing medications at a Westmoreland County nursing home saved the facility $10,000 during a six-week trial, delivering on a promise of significantly lower operating costs for cash-strapped senior living facilities.

Redstone Highlands realized the savings for 22 patients through the end of February at its Greensburg skilled nursing unit, according to President and CEO John Dickson. The continuing care retirement community is expanding use of the automated dispensing unit to its personal care facility.

“It’s gigantic,” Dickson said. “It has proven there are great savings. Pharmacy isn’t simple, but it’s just sometimes paying attention to dispensing and cost, which bring back tremendous savings.”

Traditionally, prescriptions for long-term care residents are faxed to a pharmacy, which supplies enough medicine for 30 days. The practice is not without glitches. If the patient’s prescription changes the next day, the balance of the pills must be thrown away, which the facility sometimes has to pay for. Also, the risk of error increases with the number of people handling the prescription.

Under the new system at Redstone, a pharmacy loads canisters of common medications into a vending-like machine, which nurses then administer as prescribed. The machines are refilled two or three times a month and nurses enter prescription information into the unit, which provides immediate information about the patient’s drug benefits. A prescription change can take as little as three minutes, instead of hours or days.

What’s more, medication no longer has to be discarded with a change in prescription because only one day’s supply is dispensed at a time, resulting in additional savings for the facility. Long-term care facilities are billed for medications at the end of the month based on how much medicine was used, rather than for a 30-day supply when the prescription is filled.

“As an industry, we should have corrected all the waste and redundancy a long time ago,” said Dr. Reef Gillum, president and founder of OnSiteRX, the Forney, Texas, company that supplies the vending machines. “Having the right data at the right moment is a tremendous savings to health care. It’s not really rocket science — it’s just getting the process right.”

The three-year-old company has installed the systems in a dozen facilities, with orders for 80 more pending, Gillum said.

The dispensing systems were offered to 21 senior care institutions in the region last fall, representing more than 7,700 nursing and assisted living beds. Presbyterian Homes in the Presbytery of Lake Erie and Redstone signed up for the systems, and other members of the Faith-Based Network, a Wexford-based trade group, are considering it, Dickson said.

Since then, 10 institutions have bought ownership shares for $31,500 each in W PA OnSiteRx, the for-profit subsidiary of the nonprofit Western Pennsylvania Alliance of Senior Service Providers, according to Linda Massie, executive director of Faith-Based Network. W PA OnSiteRx recently opened a wholesale pharmacy operation in Butler County, where medications are purchased in bulk from drugmakers and the canisters are loaded. A second wholesale pharmacy is being built in Erie.

The drug dispensing systems are the “wave of the future,” said Jim Pieffer, senior vice president of Oakmont-based Presbyterian SeniorCare, which is considering a system.

“In four or five years, you’re going to see most nursing homes go this route,” Pieffer said. “It makes more sense in the world of higher costs and lower reimbursement.”

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Point-of-Sale Technologies: Cash or Credit?

Wednesday, May 19, 2010

By WYLIE WONG/
Biztech Magazine

Self-service computer kiosks are everywhere these days: at supermarkets to pay for groceries, at movie theaters to buy tickets and at airports to check in for flights. Now the healthcare industry is getting on board by offering ATM-like machines that dispense prescription drugs.

OnSiteRx, a three-year-old startup in Grapevine, Texas, delivers pharmacy services to nursing homes, including drug-dispensing kiosks that carry 240 different medications in pill form. When nurses need to make their morning rounds, they walk up to the kiosk installed in their nursing home, punch in their request on a touchscreen monitor, and the machine dispenses packets of drugs for each resident in room-number order.

“It’s like a giant vending machine,” says Richard Warren, OnSiteRx’s vice president and chief operating officer.

Retail stores and businesses are purchasing point-of-sale (POS) technologies to improve customer service and enrich the shopping experience. They are implementing new hardware, such as touchscreen POS computers, credit card signature pads and self-service kiosks, to accelerate transactions and reduce the amount of time customers wait in line. In the case of  OnSiteRx, installing a drug-dispensing kiosk at each nursing home speeds the delivery of important medications to patients.

Today, about 30 percent of traditional retailers have installed self-service touchscreen kiosks at their stores, and another 34 percent are planning to deploy them within the next two years, says Aberdeen Group analyst Sahir Anand.

Kiosks are popular among businesses, Anand says, because they don’t occupy a lot of space, yet they generate revenue. Shoppers like them because many are inherently do-it-yourselfers, he says.

“People today are used to going through an online ordering payment system at their homes and offices, so when they go to a store environment, they think, ‘Why should I wait to be served when I could do it myself?’ ”

Onsite Pharmacy Kiosks

OnSiteRx provides prescription ordering software and drug-dispensing kiosks to nursing homes, but it also owns and operates the pharmacies that supply the facilities with prescription drugs. So far, the company has installed its technology in a dozen nursing homes and has plans to make the service available to correctional facilities.

The technology speeds up prescriptions and improves patient care, Warren says. Traditionally, nurses would fax in doctors’ prescriptions to a pharmacy, and the pharmacy would send the medication by courier — a process that could take four or more hours. Now, with everything automated and with medication already available from the in-house pharmacy  kiosk, patients can get their prescription approved and receive their medication within 15 minutes, Warren says.

At the heart of the kiosk, called the OnSiteRx Automatic Dispensing System, is a POS system that includes an HP rp5700 POS computer, a 17-inch Planar LCD touchscreen monitor and a Zebra Technologies barcode scanner used by nurses to scan in and keep track of canisters of drugs that are delivered and placed inside the drug-dispensing machine, says Stewart Stephens, executive director of research and development for ProvideRx Pharmacy Network, an OnSiteRx partner.

The pharmacy kiosk improves patient safety because it reduces the chance of nurses dispensing the wrong medication. Each patient’s medication is wrapped individually in plastic packets with their names, room numbers and prescriptions printed on them, Warren says. Gone are the days when nurses had to manually sort medication for each patient or spend time punching pills out of blister packs.

“The machine helps ensure that the right medication in the right dosage is given to the right patient at the right time,” Warren says.

The technology also reduces waste and saves money. Traditionally, pharmacies provide nursing home residents with a 30-day supply of medication. But if doctors change their prescription before the 30 days are up, nursing homes are required by law to toss out the drugs.

OnSiteRx’s pharmacy kiosk takes care of that problem because it dispenses the drugs on an as-needed basis, which prevents waste, Stephens says.

Inside the kiosk are 240 canisters, each filled with a different oral drug. The computer keeps track of all the medication that’s dispensed, including billing information, and regularly uploads the data to back-end auditing software at OnSiteRx’s headquarters, Stephens says. If a canister is running low, the kiosk’s computer alerts headquarters that it needs refills and the OnSiteRx pharmacy sends out a new canister filled with that specific drug, he says.

The kiosks are secured several ways. Nurses must log in with user names and passwords. The kiosks are also housed in locked rooms with IP-based surveillance cameras equipped with motion sensors,  Stephens says. IT administrators remotely troubleshoot the kiosks by using the surveillance cameras to look into the system.

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OnSiteRx medicine dispenser saves Redstone Highlands
nursing home $10,000

Friday, April 9, 2010

By KRIS B. MAMULA/
Pittsburgh Business Times

ODS
John Dickson, president and CEO of Redstone Highlands, stands next to a pharmaceutical dispenser from OnSiteRXC, a Texas-based company that supplies the machines.
A new system for dispensing medications at a Westmoreland County nursing home saved the facility $10,000 during a six-week trial, delivering on a promise of significantly lower operating costs for cash-strapped senior living facilities.

Redstone Highlands realized the savings for 22 patients through the end of February at its Greensburg skilled nursing unit, according to President and CEO John Dickson. The continuing care retirement community is expanding use of the automated dispensing unit to its personal care facility.

“It’s gigantic,” Dickson said. “It has proven there are great savings. Pharmacy isn’t simple, but it’s just sometimes paying attention to dispensing and cost, which bring back tremendous savings.”

Traditionally, prescriptions for long-term care residents are faxed to a pharmacy, which supplies enough medicine for 30 days. The practice is not without glitches. If the patient’s prescription changes the next day, the balance of the pills must be thrown away, which the facility sometimes has to pay for. Also, the risk of error increases with the number of people handling the prescription.

Under the new system at Redstone, a pharmacy loads canisters of common medications into a vending-like machine, which nurses then administer as prescribed. The machines are refilled two or three times a month and nurses enter prescription information into the unit, which provides immediate information about the patient’s drug benefits. A prescription change can take as little as three minutes, instead of hours or days.

What’s more, medication no longer has to be discarded with a change in prescription because only one day’s supply is dispensed at a time, resulting in additional savings for the facility. Long-term care facilities are billed for medications at the end of the month based on how much medicine was used, rather than for a 30-day supply when the prescription is filled.

“As an industry, we should have corrected all the waste and redundancy a long time ago,” said Dr. Reef Gillum, president and founder of OnSiteRX, the Forney, Texas, company that supplies the vending machines. “Having the right data at the right moment is a tremendous savings to health care. It’s not really rocket science — it’s just getting the process right.”

The three-year-old company has installed the systems in a dozen facilities, with orders for 80 more pending, Gillum said.

The dispensing systems were offered to 21 senior care institutions in the region last fall, representing more than 7,700 nursing and assisted living beds. Presbyterian Homes in the Presbytery of Lake Erie and Redstone signed up for the systems, and other members of the Faith-Based Network, a Wexford-based trade group, are considering it, Dickson said.

Since then, 10 institutions have bought ownership shares for $31,500 each in W PA OnSiteRx, the for-profit subsidiary of the nonprofit Western Pennsylvania Alliance of Senior Service Providers, according to Linda Massie, executive director of Faith-Based Network. W PA OnSiteRx recently opened a wholesale pharmacy operation in Butler County, where medications are purchased in bulk from drugmakers and the canisters are loaded. A second wholesale pharmacy is being built in Erie.

The drug dispensing systems are the “wave of the future,” said Jim Pieffer, senior vice president of Oakmont-based Presbyterian SeniorCare, which is considering a system.

“In four or five years, you’re going to see most nursing homes go this route,” Pieffer said. “It makes more sense in the world of higher costs and lower reimbursement.”

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Manor Park installs new automated drug dispensing system

11:15 PM CDT on Wednesday, April 7, 2010

By RUTH CAMPBELL/
Midland Reporter-Telegram

ODSLooking to enhance patient safety, save money and reduce waste, The Village at Manor Park has installed an OnSiteRx machine to serve up to 277 residents.

Resembling a vending machine, the device contains 300 of the most commonly prescribed medications at the continuing care facility, Director of Nursing Cheryl Cummins said. Drugs that can cause allergic reactions, such as penicillin and sulfa drugs, are kept out of the machine because they all go down the same chute.

Controlled drugs, except for those like morphine that require a triplicate prescription, also are kept in the machine.

The system combines an automated drug-dispensing machine with Web-based software that allows physicians, nurses and pharmacists to order prescriptions, check for side effects and deliver the medication to nursing home residents in minutes. The system checks for interactions and side effects and provides an explanation and description of the medications within each packet.

The machine is kept in a secure room with cameras and access is password protected. Drugs are dispensed for a 24-hour period. The system keeps track of all transactions.

All of the nurses and pharmacy technicians names are in the computer and each has a unique password.

“It used to take three to four hours to get medications for new patients. Now nurses input medication over the computer and it sends it to the central pharmacy, which sends it back to the machine, which says is all right to dispense,” Cummins said. This takes 30-45 minutes.

At first, Cummins said people disliked the new machine -- as they were told they would -- but everyone is adjusting.

“It was definitely a big change when we first did it. Now that we're getting used to it, it's going to be a help in a lot of ways,” pharmacy tech Heather McLemore said.

Before, Cummins said some $6,000-$8,000 worth of prescriptions were destroyed for Manor Park alone. The U.S. Food and Drug Administration requires that once a prescription is sent out of the pharmacy, it can't go back.

Drugs are destroyed if people die, leave the facility, have allergic reactions to a prescription or it's the wrong drug, Cummins said.

The machine packages and labels the drugs with the name of the patient, room number, date and time they are supposed to take the drug, the prescription number, the name of the doctor and pharmacist who filled it. This is meant to reduce chance of errors, Cummins said.

Each packet has its own number so there is “very little chance” of drug diversion -- stealing prescriptions. Cummins said that has not been a problem at Manor Park, but other facilities have experienced it.

The machine and drugs together are valued at $250,000, Cummins said.

Manor Park is leasing the machine from Grapevine-based OnSiteRx, but its central pharmacy is run by the same company, Manor Park Executive Director Alan Hale said. He added he thinks the federal government will begin pushing for facilities to obtain machines like the OnSiteRx to provide more efficiency.

“Technology is the way of the future,” Cummins said. “You're either going to get on board, or get left behind. We're trying to get on board.”

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Western Pennsylvania senior care providers adding new drug-dispensing machines
Devices designed to reduce costs, improve care


Friday, October 2, 2009

By KRIS B MAMULA /
Pittsburgh Business Times

Some big senior care providers in western Pennsylvania may soon change the way they dispense prescription medications to patients, backed by the promise of reduced costs and improved patient care.

Key to the system is a large vending machine-sized drug dispenser, which will be loaded with prescription drugs for a specific nursing home or assisted living center. A machine will be installed at each facility, where drugs will be dispensed once a day for residents, then loaded into a medication cart for distribution by a nurse, greatly streamlining current practice, according to John Dickson, president and CEO of Redstone Highlands, a continuing care retirement community based in Greensburg.

“The opportunity for savings are eye-popping,” he said. “It’s a gold mine for insurance companies and family members, if they’re paying privately.”

Twenty-one senior care institutions, representing more than 7,700 nursing and assisted living beds in the region, will be offered ownership stakes in the pharmacy, with the first vending machines to be installed at Redstone Highlands and Presbyterian Homes in the Presbytery of Lake Erie within seven months, according to Linda Massie, executive director of Faith-Based Network, a nonprofit group purchasing outfit based in Wexford. Each machine will hold 240 canisters of the facility’s most commonly prescribed drugs.

Two-year-old Provide RX of Grapevine, Texas, will provide the software and dispensing machines, which are used by more than 300 hospitals and 20 nursing homes. Some nursing homes have seen drug cost savings of 10 percent after installing the system, translating into monthly savings ranging up to $40,000 a month, according to a company spokesman.

The nonprofit Western Pennsylvania Alliance of Senior Service Providers recently created a for-profit subsidiary called Western Pennsylvania OnSiteRX to oversee the new pharmacy operation. It will be based in Butler County. The alliance was formed last year by the Faith-Based Network and Healthcare Ventures Alliance in Erie to bulk up buying power for such heavy hitters as Concordia Lutheran Ministries in Cabot, Lutheran SeniorLife in Cranberry and Oakmont-based Presbyterian SeniorCare.

Administrators will have a chance to kick the tires of the automated dispensers at a retreat later this month, she said.

“It’s really new technology for long-term care,” Massie said. “Our board has been amazed at the potential savings.”

Here’s how the new system works:

Nursing homes currently order 30-day supplies of prescription drugs for each resident. If the prescription changes within that time, what remains of the original order is required to be thrown away.

With the new system, only the drug prescribed for one day would have to be discarded with a prescription change. In addition, several hours to a few days are generally needed to fill prescriptions for new nursing home admissions. With the new system, a prescription can be filled in as little as 15 minutes, according to the company.

Medicare, commercial insurers and, in some instances, the nursing home pay for patient prescriptions. Each stands to save money from the new dispensing system, but the biggest savings may be for people who pay for drugs out of pocket.

Eliminating waste is the goal of any drug distribution system, which the Western Pennsylvania OnSiteRX system may accomplish, according to Jerry O’Mahoney, vice president of sales for the eastern region of Medtrack Pharmacy Services LLC, a pharmacy benefit manager. The elderly market can be a rich source of revenue for pharmaceutical sales.

“It’s a lucrative business and closely regulated by the state because a lot of prescription drugs for Medicare eligible people are paid for by Medicare,” he said. “As long as you’re closely monitoring administration of the prescriptions, you’re OK.”

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Automated drug-dispensing improves care at nursing home

12:00 AM CDT on Sunday, June 8, 2008

By BOB MOOS /
The Dallas Morning News
bmoos@dallasnews.com

Getting the right prescription drug into the right hands at the right time can be a logistical nightmare for nursing homes, but a Grapevine-based health care technology company and a Mesquite senior living community have found a way to eliminate medication errors, slash drug costs and save nurses time.

The OnSiteRx system reduces medical errors and saves on drug costs, says the CEO of Christian Care Centers.

The OnSiteRx system, developed by Provider Business Solutions, combines an automated drug-dispensing machine with Web-based software that allows physicians, nurses and pharmacists to order prescriptions, check for side effects and deliver the medication to nursing home residents in minutes.

"We've taken existing technologies and combined them in a way they've never been before," said Phil Elmore, president and chief executive of Christian Care Centers Inc., a nonprofit senior care organization that has tested the system at its Mesquite and Gunter, Texas, campuses. "We hope the result will be a revolution in how nursing homes dispense drugs."

OnSiteRx caught the attention of hundreds of nursing home administrators at the Texas Association of Homes and Services for the Aging's recent an nual conference in Arlington. Christian Care won the association's award for innovation.

Provider Business Solutions expects 50 to 100 nursing homes to install the system by the end of the year, said Dr. Reef Gillum, president of the privately held company and a retired surgeon. Besides Christian Care, the first senior living communities with OnSiteRx will be in Houston; Columbus, Ohio; Sacramento, Calif.; and Tampa, Fla.

Technological innovations that improve the accuracy and efficiency of drug dispensing are likely to spread fast because they address two major concerns of nursing homes, said Majd Alwan, director of the Center for Aging Services Technologies.

"Medication errors are common among seniors with a number of chronic conditions, and the dispensing process is rife with waste. Any system that can help solve those challenges will catch on," he said.

Nursing homes are virtual pillboxes. Each resident may be on a dozen or more prescriptions ordered by a number of physicians.

If one doctor doesn't know what another has prescribed, there's the risk of a harmful reaction. Experts estimate that 20,000 life-threatening "drug events" occur every year among the nation's 1.6 million nursing home residents.

Under a standard system, a nursing home also disposes of thousands of unused pills each month because physicians occasionally change their patients' prescriptions before the 30-day supplies run out.

Before Christian Care installed its OnSiteRx system in Mesquite last year, nursing director Kim Cook says four or five large bags containing $12,000 in unused prescriptions were destroyed each month. "It made me sick to watch because I knew that we, our residents or their insurers had paid for all those medications," she said.

OnSiteRx holds 240 of the most common medications for nursing home residents.

The unit, about the size of a vending machine, dispenses each resident's drugs, seals them in plastic and prints the patient's name and prescription information on the packet. Nurses load their drug carts and administer the prescriptions.

"It's like putting a pharmacy inside the nursing home," Mr. Elmore said. "The difference is that it's dispensing prescriptions a pill at a time, not for 30 days, so it's able to drastically reduce drug waste."

Automated drug-dispensing machines are growing in popularity at hospitals, but they're rare in long-term care facilities.

"Nursing homes have been slow to adapt the equipment to their needs because of the cost," said Dr. Jerry Gurwitz, a professor at the University of Massachusetts medical school and an expert in the safe use of medications in elderly patients.

Dr. Gillum intends to change that. Provider Business Solutions will lease or sell the system to institutional pharmacies, which in turn will charge nursing homes a fee for the automated service. At Christian Care, the $10,000 monthly savings in the nursing home's drug costs have more than offset the $3,500 pharmacy charge, Mr. Elmore said.

OnSiteRx's online feature sets it apart from other drug-dispensing machines, Dr. Gillum said. Once a physician signs onto a Web site and orders a medication, the system reviews it for side effects and checks whether it is covered by the resident's insurance. The prescription is then sent over the Web to a pharmacist, who approves it for dispensing.

Ms. Cook said her staff sometimes had to wait four or more hours on weekdays and a full day on weekends to get prescriptions filled and delivered under the previous system at Christian Care, which relied on handwritten orders, faxed forms and couriers. Now, thanks to the electronic prescribing, a resident can have a drug within an hour, she said.

The automated system also frees the nursing staff to spend more time with residents.

"The time we once devoted to managing medications now goes to hands-on patient care," Ms. Cook said. "It's hard to quantify that benefit, but it's the one that most sticks in my mind. We don't have to count pills anymore. We can be better caregivers." OnSiteRx has streamlined drug dispensing at Christian Care Centers in Mesquite.

OLD SYSTEM

A nurse calls the doctor about a resident's condition, and the doctor decides on a prescription.

The nurse writes down the prescription order and faxes it to the pharmacy.

The pharmacist fills the order and sends it by courier to the nursing home, usually in four hours on weekdays but sometimes the next day on weekends.

NEW SYSTEM

The nurse and doctor confer via e-mail on medication needed by a resident; the computer software checks for side effects and whether the drug is covered by the resident's insurance.

The nurse e-mails the order to the pharmacist, who reviews it.

The pharmacist approves the order and e-mails it to the automatic dispensing machine at Christian Care.

The machine dispenses drug before next patient rounds.

SOURCE: Christian Care Centers

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National program for seniors launches in Mesquite

By BRIAN PORTER / Managing Editor
/
The Mesquite News Star
bporter@acnpapers.com

March 13, 2008 12:42 PM CDT

A first of its kind program to cut medical costs for seniors by improving dispensing methods has begun at Christian Care Center in Mesquite.

The use of technology has been combined with prescription dispensing at the facility to decrease drug waste among seniors at the facility. Most seniors get prescription drugs in bulk, but through the program a machine will dispense common drugs and reduce waste.

“When nurses need medication at the facility, the equipment is so that it can be packaged at the facility,” said Reef Gillum, D.O. “When medications are needed on the floor, it can be used as the primary dispensing point.”

Physician orders are taken through the Internet with the new program and drugs are cleared through the pharmacy to the machine which has 240 slots for various medication and can supply medication drugs for three to four days at assisted living centers the size of Christian Care Center.

“It is packaged when it comes out,” Gillum said.

The program also greatly reduces waiting time for medication, according to Stewart Stephens of ProvideRx Pharmacy Network.

“We can get medication to you in 10 minutes,” he explained. “It is actually smart technology. Why didn’t someone think of this before?”

Remaining medication for seniors at assisted living or nursing centers is currently destroyed at the end of a 30-day package, according to Kevin Pierce of TALYST.

“With this technology, if the patient goes off the medication or change medications, we can only dispense what is needed for that day or moment,” Piece said.

It means a substantial cost savings for patients. Through the program, the most medication which would ever be destroyed is one day’s drugs.

“We won an award for innovation of the year for this program,” said Phil Elmore, CEO of Christian Care Centers. “Long-term care never had this kind of program. We have the only one in the nation right here in Mesquite. Now, it is getting ready to roll out nationwide.”

The reduction in waste is the most important part of the program, according to Elmore.

“The waste that happens every year puts a burden on us,” he said. “So many pharmaceuticals are thrown away.”

The program received recognition both at the local level and at state and national levels by elected officials and medical organizations.

“I spent 30 years in the medical field, so I have a special appreciation for it,” said Mesquite Mayor John Monaco. “As a senior, I have an appreciation for it as well.”

The program took about 16 months to go from concept to completion. It was unveiled in February at Christian Care Center.

“This was focused on the resident,” Elmore said. “What is good for them? There are great strides being made in long-term care.”

Elmore indicates this one which began here in Mesquite and will have a profound affect throughout the nation.

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