Personal Protective Equipment or PPE has been part of my vocabulary for nearly 30 years. But if I talked to someone outside of the healthcare industry about it prior to March 2020, they would have looked at me like I was speaking Greek. Today, PPE is one of the most ubiquitous three letter acronyms in the English language.
It has been a while since my last blog. It’s not been because we didn’t have anything to share. We simply decided that in times of crisis, it’s best to put your head down and focus on doing everything you can to support the customers you have. And that is exactly what we have been doing at Rpharmy.
Back in November, we announced that we were changing our name. What we are finding is that even long-time customers of our original software still don’t know that we have more to offer. Here’s that blog once again from November of last year. And a few pictures to help. As the saying goes, a picture is worth a thousand words.
I recently wrote an article on my blog called, “Custom Software is a Bad Idea.” This came out of conversations where we were discussing the differences between custom software and configured software. Custom Software describes a situation where a company would have custom software engineering done for their specific needs. Configured software describes software that is setup for a company’s operations via a user interface, not via code, and often by the customer themselves. Rpharmy's software is considered configured because our customers can update information in the app such as drugs stocked by the hospital pharmacy, related information such as black box warnings, and information needed for handling hazardous drugs, etc., but there is no customer software written for a specific hospital customer.
The world we find ourselves in today is beyond all comprehension and imagination. We are at a loss as to how we can do more to help our frontline healthcare workers through the COVID-19 crisis.
One thing we know for sure. This is not a time for sales and marketing. It is a time for all of us to lend a helping hand.
We have compiled a list of valuable COVID – 19 resources for you including important CDC updates, articles and videos, and we will happily add a link to your existing FormWeb homepage. We have several customers who have added a link on the FormWeb homepage to the hospital resource page for COVID -19. See below. If your FormWeb site is integrated with your EHR, this is a valuable place for this frequently used information.
To get started:
• Send us a quick email (email@example.com) and let us know if you would like this added to your FormWeb homepage. If you want us to link to your intranet, send us the link.
• If you want to use the information we have compiled, tell us and it will be added.
Thanks to Legacy Health, Our Lady of the Lake, and Iredell Memorial for sharing your ideas.
There is no manual for this one. It is being written as we go. We need to continue to talk to each other and share best practices. The power of our collective knowledge is the best defense for our frontline healthcare workers and their patients.
There is excellent information in the public domain regarding USP <800>. We have compiled a list of frequently used links we see on our FormWeb and Rhazdrugs software customers. We hope that these sites might be useful.
I am so grateful to Angie for being our guest blogger last week and introducing a very important topic – USP <800> compliance.
I realize I am giving away my age, but I am part of a generation that still remembers driving around in a car without seatbelts. Our moms would reach across the front seat and hold you in your seat with her arm. We would slide across the back seat with your brothers and sisters on sharp turns. Then we got lap belts that gave way to three-point seat belts and airbags. And we resisted seatbelts at first, but now we feel unsafe without them.
In the healthcare world we have been using and handling these potentially hazardous medications for years without a seatbelt, so to speak. So why now do we have USP <800>? Because like the invention of seatbelts, we now know better and we can do better. And it’s an enforceable regulation.
There are a lot of ways for organizations to be compliant with USP <800>. An organization can please the inspectors and check the boxes or they can please the inspectors and check the box AND keep their employees safe. It is a choice. Many of the requirements for USP <800> can be met by placing binders and notebooks on shelves in a central location hoping they will be accessed. But wouldn’t it be so much better for everyone if this valuable safety information was accessible to employees at the point of care? That’s where Rhazdrugs comes in.
Rhazdrugs is a comprehensive list of hazardous drugs and a database that communicates hazardous drug disposal and handling to ensure healthcare worker safety across your entire organization. Hospital, pharmacy, veterinary clinic, skilled nursing facility – wherever it may be, Rhazdrugs provides critical information and much needed peace of mind so that healthcare workers can remain focused on their patients.
In my family we have three doctors, five nurses, and others who are employed in the healthcare sector. We are working hard to do our part to keep our loved ones informed and safe from harm. And we want to help you and your organizations to do the same.
Today’s guest blogger is Angie Choiniere, a healthcare consultant specializing in Compliance, Risk and USP <800>. She is also a long time Rpharmy software user.
I am a both a proponent and user of Rpharmy’s suite of software products. In particular, I had the good fortune to be a part of the development of Rhazdrugs while working with Ochsner Health in Louisiana. But before I tell you why I am such a fan, I think it’s important to set some context as to why this type of software is so critical in healthcare today.
The United States Pharmacopeia (USP) is a non-profit organization that is focused on improving global health through public standards and programs to ensure the quality, safety, and benefit of medicine and food. To date, much of the work of the USP has been focused on pharmacies themselves, ensuring strength, quality and purity of medicines as well as providing regulations for things like compounding, and labeling. The first practice and quality standards that protect the safety of healthcare personnel from exposure became effective December 1, 2019 with USP Chapter <800>, an enforceable regulation that focuses on all healthcare personnel and entities that receive, store, compound, dispense, transport or administer hazardous drugs.
All day, every day, healthcare workers are exposed to drugs that are hazardous to their health. It is part of the job. But with USP <800> compliance, entities can minimize the risk and exposure through information, engineering controls, work practice changes, education and training. In an effort to be compliant, I have seen organizations with massive spreadsheets, War and Peace-sized three ring binders, and all methods of attempting to keep relevant information in a single, accessible place. If you are a nurse working with a patient, you don’t have time to flip through reams of paper. You need information fast and you need that information written in clear, easy to understand language.
I was already working with Rpharmy, using their formulary product, when they came to me with their idea for a central, easy to access system for access, storage and maintenance of the information needed to support being USP <800> compliant, including cataloging exceptions through Assessments of Risk. Not only that, but it could be used by all measure of healthcare workers and providers, from pharmacies to hospitals and even veterinary clinics. I was honored to provide feedback and input as part of the development of the software.
Today, that idea is up and running as Rhazdrugs. The software is pure genius and easily the industry standard. Hospitals and healthcare facilities do not have the financial or human resources to create this type of program themselves. If your facility is not yet USP <800> compliant or if your teams are tired of having to search for the information they need, call Rpharmy and ask about Rhazdrugs. It will be the best phone call you make today.
We believe that information is power for patients and caregivers. In fact, that is the very foundation of Rpharmy and our products. Equally important, however, is the trust our customers have in us to protect their right to confidentiality.
In 2019, the Department of Health and Human Services proposed some changes to regulations that would give patients easier access to their medical information. On the surface, this is a great way for people to have more control over their own healthcare. What is not clearly communicated in these new regulations are the risks that come with the electronic transmission of confidential medical information from one provider to another, one system to another. If one of these providers is using a third-party server like Google to house information, who else can have access to that information? Suddenly, private medical information becomes currency.
A little over a decade ago, we were approached by someone who wanted to pay for customer information in our database indicating that we could make a healthy profit if we would sell that data. The information Rpharmy receives from our customers is private…period. In fact, we have language in our contracts to highlight the fact that we do not sell our customers’ information.
We know that there is a lot of work going on to find a universal, secure way to give patients easy access to medical information so that they are empowered to take control of their care. And we support patient access – if they give permission and we can all be assured that the access is secure.
We have nearly 30 years of history behind us as a company and we have spent a great deal of time thinking about the year ahead. We start 2020 with a new name and an expanded suite of products. But we have to ask ourselves, what is the next chapter for Rpharmy and what should we be focused on in 2020 and beyond?
That resonated as a theme for us because as we thought about our business, everything we are doing from a strategy perspective is meant to drive three areas of focus:
- Supporting and Growing Existing Customer Relationships. Serving our customers has always been a priority, but we know we can do more.
- Cultivating New Customer Relationships. Our products ensure the safety of patients and practitioners. Rpharmy helps to complete the circle of care. We know there are businesses and institutions that would benefit from what we have to offer.
- Continuing to Drive Innovation through the Evolution of Our Suite of Products. We need to understand how we can make the products we have even better and where there are gaps that new software solutions may fill.
Be sure to check out next week’s blog as we address a very important topic – Protecting Customer Privacy.