Safety First Blog

Formweb Broadly Expands Communication of Drug Information for a State Department of Corrections

Posted by Laura Paxton on Feb 15, 2022 9:22:40 AM
Laura Paxton
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For Rpharmy’s state Department of Corrections (DOC) client, Formweb not only provides an online formulary solution that is easy to access and use, but also improves patient care by expanding communications about drugs in use to departments connected to but not directly part of the DOC. 

“It’s a beautiful formulary product,” said Rob, RPh, Chief Pharmacy Officer at the state DOC. “It’s very simplistic and easy to use; no need to use a wrench as a hammer. Yes, it’s a formulary, but it also shares information.”

Formweb’s ability to easily and completely share drug information is one of the most important aspects of the solution, says Rob N. As a state prison system of 14 institutions housing approximately 14,900 adults, many people are involved in patient care, with communication outside of the prison system also necessary. 

Formweb allows Rob and his team to communicate during the “transfer of care” which is when an adult in custody is moved from a county jail under supervision by the sheriff’s office to the prison system. Formweb allows the county sheriff to see what medications the prison system is using for treatment and possibly offer those same medications. This system leads to improved outcomes for the adult in custody as it aids in their continuity of care. 

Another benefit beyond Formweb’s typical features is the ability for drugs that are discussed in Pharmacy & Therapeutics Committee (PTC) meetings to be included in Formweb. The PTC is the group of state DOC professionals who decide what is formulary, or which medications are available at which dosages, and through which administration method. While the committee’s detailed minutes are not accessible within Formweb, the fact that a drug was mentioned in a PTC meeting is recorded and then linked to the meeting’s minutes for those with permissions to access. This creates an easily searchable, trailing history of every drug discussed by the PTC. 

“Formweb creates a bull horn beyond our own department,” Rob said. “We have PTC history linked to every drug - all of them. It’s an extremely helpful capability.” 

Customizing Formweb has allowed the state DOC to add in features that are specific to a prison system’s needs, Rob said. He says his computer programming background helped enable the state DOC to make some customizations and once the process is learned, it’s easy to replicate. 

For instance, Rob needed to add a category identifying a drug as safe for self-administration. This is when an individual can take the drug themselves without being observed or monitored. This is a category no other institution uses. 

Another customization this state prison system implemented is noting when a medication needs to be limited to a certain timeframe and the duration. Rob wanted this notation included within the drug information and not all programs do that, he said. 

Prior to implementing Formweb across the DOC, the pharmacy housed the formulary in Excel spreadsheets. It was easy to update by adding a new column, but it was also easy to mess up the matrix within this large and complicated document. The spreadsheet was searchable, but not user-friendly. 

Formweb provides essentially the same functions, but the drug information is presented in a user-friendly web interface making it simple for anyone to use no matter their proficiency with the formulary solution. 

Rob says the Google search pattern is familiar to users. By typing in the first four letters of a drug, a user is presented with a list of drugs to pick from just like a Google search. This eliminates the need to know how to spell the often-complicated medication names. 

“Nurses have seconds to get the answers they need, and Formweb delivers drug information quickly and easily,” he said. 

In 2021, Rpharmy updated Formweb’s user interface and Rob says his team is embracing it. It’s cleaner and even easier to use. Rob and the state DOC are now reviewing Rpharmy’s USP <800> product, Rhazdrugs. 

Rob says Formweb is a simple tool with high levels of customization. It has enabled effective, faster, and more accurate communications leading to improved patient care within this large state prison system. 

Check out Analysis of Clinical Decision Support at the Point of Care to read how making drug safety information more accessible at the point of care through Formweb can drastically improve patient outcomes and reduce med errors. 

Topics: Rhazdrugs, Policy, USP <800>, Formweb

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