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InterSystems releases new intravenous (IV) room workflow automation software

InterSystems : 26 February, 2008  (New Product)
InterSystems has launched intravenous (IV) room workflow automation software built on the InterSystems Ensemble rapid integration platform.
In pre-release sites now and available in April 2008, IntelliFlowRx applies Ensemble technology to set new standards for streamlining workflow and reducing opportunities for error in the IV room - one of the most critical and least automated areas in any hospital.

A recognised innovator in automation systems for hospital pharmacies, ForHealth offers IntelliFill-iv, an automated syringe-based dose preparation system, as well as the newly released IntelliFlowRx. The company is positioned as the only company with a complete solution for the needs of every hospital pharmacy's IV room.

Ensemble-based IntelliFlowRx is a best-practice workflow application for hospital pharmacies that automates workflow in the IV room - an area where virtually all processes have been manual until now.

'The hospital pharmacy prepares injectable drug doses in the IV room within the pharmacy,' explained Dennis Schneider, ForHealth chief marketing officer. 'Dose labels are printed, separated and sorted to be taken into the IV room - an ISO Class 8 clean room. Technicians use these labels to determine how to prepare each dose. They select the products/drugs, manually reconstitute some drugs, draw measured doses or dose components from vials into syringes, and create IV bags containing one or more medications at specific dose concentrations. Inspections of each dose by a registered pharmacist may happen several times per dose. It is an almost completely manual process where the only audit trail is the initials on the label of those individuals who created and inspected the dose.'

'With such a manually-intense system,' Schneider continued, 'it isn't surprising that there are multiple opportunities for human error at every stage. Given the potentially critical impact of drugs administered by IV, the opportunities for adverse drug reactions are well recognised as being unacceptably high. And, with increasing workloads combined with a decreasing budget in the hospital pharmacy, the IV room process automation delivered by IntelliFlowRx is absolutely essential for high quality care delivery.'

Ensemble's workflow management platform, graphical dashboard and embedded high-performance database were key to its selection as the integration platform for IntelliFlowRx, according to Schneider.

'This is a distributed system with a very large local cache at each site that must be managed and synchronised in near real time with a highly-secure and multiply-redundant central server farm. It's also a very graphical application that relies heavily on high-resolution digital imagery, so we needed integration software that includes a database with rich storage capabilities as well as the ability to manage automated workflows and deliver information via graphical dashboards that keep pharmacists updated on IV room status,' said Schneider.

'Ensemble not only provides the capabilities we currently require, but also offers standardised HL7 messaging that we plan to leverage in future product versions.'

Designed on a distributed architecture that includes a server for the pharmacy workstations, and a backup process hosted on a server residing at offsite Navisite facilities, IntelliFlowRx streamlines IV room workflow end-to-end. Components include:

- Laminar Airflow Hood Workstation - Provides fast, simple access to all doses - in the queue with doses organized in microbatches to minimise potential errors and appropriate dose prioritisation. Dose calculations are displayed for each ingredient, products are barcode-verified, labels are printed and all steps in dose preparation are captured for review by a pharmacist

- Pharmacist Checking Station - Pharmacists can review all steps for each dose - created through a graphical display from web-enabled workstations anywhere on the hospital’s secure intranet, eliminating the need for pharmacists to enter the IV clean room for process review

- Situation Board - Provides a continuously updated view of IV room status - including backlogs, wait times, time constraints for perishable doses and the current status of all workstations.

The system also supports real-time dose status queries, maintains a complete audit trail and provides detailed management reports.

IntelliFlowRx pricing is on a per-dose basis, ensuring that hospital pharmacies can utilise the innovative Ensemble-based system without a major capital outlay. 'With an estimated 4,500 hospital pharmacies in the USA and hospital IV rooms generating approximately three-quarters of a billion doses annually, there is considerable market opportunity for both InterSystems and ForHealth,' Schneider noted.

'It has been exciting for us to partner with ForHealth on this much needed and highly innovative new application,' said Paul Grabscheid, InterSystems vice president of strategic planning. 'IntelliFlowRx makes it possible to deliver improved quality of care while reducing the potential for medical error and increasing job satisfaction and productivity for the healthcare professionals in the IV room. We are very pleased to work with ForHealth in providing this breakthrough software to hospitals across the country.'
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