PHARMACY

NeedyMeds revamps, expands safe needle disposal website

BY David Salazar

GLOUCESTER, Mass. — NeedyMeds announced Tuesday that it had expanded and updated its safeneedledisposal.org in an effort to make it a comprehensive resource for information about proper disposal of needles and syringes.

“We spent over a year compiling information on the regulations and disposal sites for all 50 states," project lead Leah Zaroulis said. “We list over 2,600 disposal sites for home-generated sharps through out the country.”

The revamped and expanded anonymous website, which NeedyMeds took over from the Coalition for Safe Needle Disposal, is aimed at curtailing potential health hazards of sharps that haven’t been disposed of properly — including hepatitis and HIV. It contains information about pharmadeutical companies’ take-back programs and general information, as well as contacts for health and solid waste departments in different states.

“If properly disposed of, used sharps can be safely handled and destroyed,” NeedyMeds president Dr. Rich Sagall said. “The goal of safeneedledisposal.org is to help people learn the best way to minimize the risk to anyone who has to handle these potentially dangerous waste products.”

In addition to the site, NeedyMeds also has a hotline (800-643-1643) that people can call from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. EST.

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PHARMACY

PQA teams with VoicePort, STC on immunization project

BY David Salazar

SPRINGFIELD, Va. — A new collaboration is looking to boost immunization rates among adult patients. Along with VoicePort and Scientific Technologies Corp. (STC), the Pharmacy Quality Alliance will be rolling out the ImmuSMART project, which will use sate immunization registry data to identify patients with gaps in vaccinations for the flu, shingles and pneumonia, and offer them the missing vaccines. 

“The model we are piloting is a remarkable innovation in pharmacy point-of-care immunization assessment,” PQA executive director Laura Cranston said. “This allows the pharmacy an important touch point related to the patients' immunization record, and the identification of immunization gaps even before the patient comes into the pharmacy.” 

Patients will be asked to confirm whether they have received vaccinations missing from their immunization record, and offered appropriate vaccines at their next pharmacy visit to cover their immunization gaps. Patients will be identified using STC queries to state immunization registries, and will be notified via outbound VoicePort call from their community pharmacy.

“The beauty of the solution that we are piloting through ImmuSMART is that it ties a custom-tailored immunization prompt to the patient directly into their normal pharmacy experience,” VoicePort President and CEO Chris Mann said. “Using our hosted interactive patient communications platform technology, we now have a scalable automated approach to immunization assessment that integrates seamlessly with pharmacy workflow."

The ImmuSMART project will roll out in the fourth quarter of 2015. 

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PTCB added as FIP observer organization

BY David Salazar

WASHINGTON — The Pharmacy Technician Certification Board announced Monday that it had been named an official observer organization at the International Pharmacy Federation (FIP). The status was approved at FIP’s World Congress of Pharmacy and Pharmaceutical Sciences in Düsseldorf, Germany. 

"PTCB's top priority is to ensure that pharmacy technicians are prepared to serve the pharmacy profession in providing safe and effective patient care,” PTCB CEO and executive director Everett McAllister said. “The ultimate goal of both PTCB and FIP is the same: to advance patient safety, care, and health.”

With its new status, PTCB will be able to participate in FIP working groups, nominations calls and other efforts while being included in the company’s dialogues and communications. 

“FIP is pleased to welcome PTCB as an observer organization,” FIP general secretary and CEO Luc Besançon said. “The input of PTCB will be precious to our work, given the wealth of expertise the Board has to connect pharmacy technicians' roles within the pharmacy team and to ensure their competencies, so that the profession of pharmacy remains able to respond effectively to the current and future needs of the world's communities. The PTCB model could be inspirational for other countries.”

PTCB has been part of FIP activities for several years, with PTCB leaders making presentations and taking part in panels at the FIP World Congress. PTCB was included in a 2012 FIP symposium for pharmacy technicians, highlighting the role technicians play in North America.

“As a FIP observer organization, PTCB looks forward to participating in efforts which align with the mission of PTCB,” McAllister said. “As the global healthcare system evolves and patient-centered care becomes increasingly essential to safe medication practice around the world, CPhTs and PTCB's stakeholders will ultimately benefit from PTCB's collaboration and expanded relationships with FIP members.”

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