Industry efforts help reduce cough-cold medication errors in children
COLUMBUS, Ohio — According to Nationwide Children's Hospital researchers, 63,000 children under the age of six years experienced out-of-hospital medication errors annually between 2002 and 2012. One child is affected every eight minutes, usually by a well-meaning parent or caregiver unintentionally committing a medication error.
However, in a study published Monday in the jounral Pediatrics, researchers found that medication errors among cough-and-cold medications decreased signficantly. Analgesics (25.2%) were most commonly involved in medication errors, followed by cough-and-cold preparations (24.6%). Ingestion accounted for 96.2% of events, and 27% of medication errors were attributed to inadvertently taking or being given medication twice.
"This is more common than people may realize," said Huiyun Xiang, director of the Center for Pediatric Trauma Research at Nationwide Children's Hospital and senior author of the study. "We found that younger children are more apt to experience error than older children, with children under age one accounting for 25% of incidents."
"There are public health strategies being used to decrease the frequency and severity of medication errors among young children," said Henry Spiller, director of the Central Ohio Poison Center and co-author of the study. "Product packaging needs to be redesigned in a way that provides accurate dosing devices and instructions, and better labeling to increase visibility to parents."
“The makers of over-the-counter medicines are encouraged to see that voluntary label changes to children’s cough and cold products have contributed to a reduction in medication errors in this category, and we remain committed to continuing our efforts to prevent all medication errors,” stated Scott Melville, president and CEO of the Consumer Healthcare Products Association.
In 2007, members of CHPA voluntarily withdrew infant cough and cold products and added further voluntary label changes in 2008 for use only in children ages 4 and older. The organization also launched educational programming to communicate the changes.
“Through the CHPA Educational Foundation, we work with government agencies and healthcare professional groups to remind parents of young children to always read and follow the label and to store medicines up and away and out of sight," Melville said. "Reading and following the label and using the proper dosing device that comes with the medicine are key steps parents and caregivers should always take to ensure they treat their children with care."
In recent years, the industry has made additional efforts to reduce medication errors. In mid-2011, CHPA members voluntarily transitioned to one concentration of single-ingredient pediatric liquid acetaminophen. At the same, the industry standardized the dosing unit of measurement and provided age-appropriate dosing devices in all packages.
"Since the Pediatrics study includes data compiled from 2002 to 2012, we have yet to see how the pediatric acetaminophen changes have helped reduce medication errors," Melville said. "We have also filed a citizen’s petition calling on FDA to require manufacturers to include age- and weight-based dosing directions on the label for infants as young as 6 months. Unfortunately, the approved label today only directs caregivers to consult a doctor for children under age 2.”
McKesson, Health Mart introduces new solutions for independent pharmacy at NCPA convention
AUSTIN, Texas — McKesson and Health Mart on Monday featured solutions designed to help community pharmacies deliver better patient care and sustain growth at the 116th Annual Convention and Trade Exposition of the National Community Pharmacists Association from Oct. 18 through Oct. 22.
Health Mart is showcasing a variety of new resources and programs to help pharmacies improve medication-related health outcomes and gain access to preferred networks; bring new patients to their stores through local marketing solutions; and add new services for additional revenue, such as Health Mart Specialty Solutions. More than 3,540 independent pharmacy owners have joined Health Mart to take advantage of the franchise’s flexible solutions aimed at helping them level the playing field while enabling them to run their businesses their way.
“Like the NCPA, Health Mart is committed to the ongoing growth and success of independent pharmacies,” stated Tony Willoughby, Health Mart’s chief pharmacist. “Health Mart is focused on helping pharmacies get the credit they deserve for improving adherence and patient outcomes to gain access to preferred networks. By providing robust local marketing solutions and support, Health Mart pharmacies are positioned to attract patients who are displaced by network changes.”
In an effort to improve clinical performance to gain access to preferred networks, Health Mart provides its member pharmacies access to EQuIPP, an online platform that makes pharmacy performance data available to health plans and community pharmacy organizations. Health Mart stores can review their own unique performance data, compare to benchmarks and identify areas for improvement in patient care and clinical outcomes.
In addition, Health Mart kicked off its second series of Health Mart Town Hall meetings, Pharmacy Quality Measures: Action Steps for Improvement, which are being held in 108 cities across the country through early 2015. The Town Hall speakers, who are practicing independent pharmacists, review the five medication-related CMS Part D Star Rating quality measures and walk participants through real-world case studies of Health Mart stores that have improved their performance. Attendees will also leave the CE session with an action plan to improve quality measures specific to their pharmacy. Health Mart invites all pharmacy owners, pharmacists and technicians, including non-members, to register for the Town Hall Meetings at HealthMartEvents.com.
Health Mart is also focused on attracting new patients and patient retention. For example, with open enrollment of Medicare Part D underway, Health Mart is offering its members consultative resources to help them educate patients on choosing the most cost-effective Medicare Part D plan that’s right for them. Owners can choose from a variety of customizable promotional tools and receive extra matching funds for their selections. Health Mart members also obtain discounted pricing on the iMedicare plan comparison tool, an iPad app or online tool that can help compare patients’ monthly costs, coverage gaps, health benefits and enrollment options.
Health Mart also focuses on local marketing support. Health Mart’s marketing portal gives pharmacies the flexibility to promote their pharmacy their way. Using Health Mart’s online Marketing Hub, owners can order integrated campaigns or select from a catalog of more than 200 traditional, digital and social media marketing tools to promote their offerings and distinct strengths in the community they serve. Stores also have access to a live marketing support coordinator, best practices and ideas from other successful pharmacies. Health Mart recently launched other new marketing tools and more flexible options for matching funds, including vehicle wraps, event rental kits, promotional items and more than 100 new customizable templates and campaigns.
Currently, the 2014 Health Mart Healthy Living Tour, a nationwide bus tour, continues to stop at communities across the United States, providing health education and free health screenings to help identify people at risk for a variety of health conditions that can be better managed with the help of a pharmacist. Additionally, Health Mart’s fall radio advertising campaign to attract new customers and drive revenues continues, with commercials airing on more than 1,000 stations to cover all Health Mart locations.
To help independent pharmacies compete in the specialty market, Health Mart is partnering with Diplomat, a nationally recognized specialty pharmacy. Health Mart Specialty Solutions enables independent pharmacies to provide patients with comprehensive specialty services, streamline specialty access and reimbursement services and build relationships with prescribers.
McKesson also understands the business of alternate site pharmacy — including long-term care, infusion and specialty — and offers support to community pharmacies looking to grow. McKesson Alternate Site Pharmacy offers a wide range of solutions, including exclusive products and additional savings, to help customers achieve increased profitability, improved efficiency and business growth. For the second year, McKesson is sponsoring the NCPA Long-Term Care Reception on Oct. 21.
Supporting pharmacy ownership, McKesson’s RxOwnership program is dedicated to providing independent pharmacy owners, prospective owners and pharmacy students with tools to help them map out their future. For the sixth year, McKesson sponsored the Future Pharmacists Network Reception held at the NCPA convention on Saturday. The Future Pharmacists Network event is designed to give NCPA student members the opportunity to connect with peers and experienced ownership advisors to learn about pharmacy ownership and help them with their future pharmacy goals.
At the NCPA booth, McKesson Pharmacy Systems and Automation will showcase the latest release of its Pharmaserv pharmacy-management system, which features significant improvements throughout the entire system and new features, including:
Enhanced appearance and functionality;New adherence program solutions;Improved support for McKesson Generics Rebate Program; andSimplified billing and accounts receivable.
MPS&A is showcasing its new Adherence Performance Solution at NCPA. This latest service offering from MPS&A provides pharmacies with an adherence rating similar to the CMS Star Ratings provided to health plans. The solution provides actionable ways for a pharmacy to improve their performance by identifying non-adherent patients who should be included in adherence outreach. Pharmacies are also able to identify the number of patients needed to improve their adherence rating.
MPS&A is also launching its new ANX SecureHIPAA program. With security breaches occurring more frequently across all industries, protecting patients’ health information is more important than ever. SecureHIPAA protects pharmacies against costly security breaches by reducing their risk of experiencing a security breach. The program identifies security gaps on behalf of the pharmacy and provides information on how owners can protect themselves further.
H.D. Smith names new VP sales
SPRINGFIELD, Ill. — H. D. Smith on Monday appointed Rob Meriweather as VP sales. An internal promotion, Meriweather is primarily responsible for developing and maintaining the enterprise sales strategy, gaining sales from strategic retail customers and developing executive relationships with buying groups.
“Rob will be a great addition to the leadership team at H. D. Smith,” stated Scott Wilson, SVP drug divisions. “His vast experience in sales on the local, regional and national level will be an asset to leading our sales force.”
An H.D. Smith associate since 2012, Meriweather most recently worked with the organization’s customers as director of retail national accounts, growing this segment by more than 30% during his tenure. In that role, he reported directly to Wilson, with responsibility for targeting, maintaining and growing the organization’s largest market opportunities by creating unique sales strategies and value propositions for large regional and national chain pharmacies.
Previous to H. D. Smith, Meriweather served as VP global sales for HemCon Medical Technologies and was responsible for domestic sales growth and international sales expansion of the product line. Prior to that, he served as a national account manager for Cardinal Health, managing more than $450 million in drug distribution business with regional grocery chains.
Meriweather earned a bachelor’s degree in business administration from Otterbein University. He resides in Columbus, Ohio.
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