News

Walgreens adopts new data-driven encounter support platform for Healthcare Clinic

BY Michael Johnsen

BOWIE, Md. — Inovalon and Walgreens on Thursday announced that they have entered into a multi-year agreement to provide Inovalon’s data-driven encounter support platform, Electronic Patient Assessment Solution Suite (ePASS) within Healthcare Clinic at select Walgreens to support improvements in managed care quality and performance.

"Through this partnership, we’ll be able to utilize the power of analytics to provide a higher level of individualized care to our patients, which will ultimately improve the patient experience and outcomes," stated Heather Helle, divisional VP, Healthcare Clinic.   

"The healthcare landscape is rapidly evolving through the material growth in membership within Medicare Advantage and managed Medicaid health plans in addition to the launch of the Health Insurance Exchange Marketplaces," added Keith Dunleavy, president and CEO of Inovalon. "Bringing advanced analytics directly to the point-of-care environment is a critical element in achieving meaningful healthcare goals. We are proud to partner with Walgreens to improve healthcare outcomes and promote healthier lifestyles for our client health plan membership populations."

Inovalon’s ePASS platform delivers analytics to the point of care, supporting the identification and resolution of gaps in quality, care, assessment, documentation and risk score accuracy. This results in improved patient outcomes, provider insight and health plan performance, the companies noted. 

Leveraging analytical insights derived from the ongoing analysis of more than 7 billion medical events within Inovalon’s Medical Outcomes Research for Effectiveness and Economics Registry, ePASS enables a focused, patient-specific encounter to achieve superior benefit and impact for the patient, provider and health plan, the companies concluded.


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Convenient resource for recommendations: Tips to give to new parents and caregivers

BY Emily Hensley Shafer, PharmD

As some of the most trusted healthcare professionals, community pharmacists and clinicians have a unique opportunity to assist and educate patients of all ages. New parents and caregivers often have questions about ailments that their new baby may experience and their appropriate treatments. They can take advantage of the extended hours, unique knowledge and collaborative care of the pharmacy and advanced practice clinician teams.

When making any medication recommendations, the pharmacist or clinician will want to know the baby’s weight. Weight can change significantly within the first months of life. This information is important to know in order to determine the safest, most accurate medication dose. Pain and fever medicine, cough-cold products and antibiotics doses are all based on the weight of the child and can vary depending on the ailment being treated and the size of the child.

Fever/pain
Fever is the body’s natural way of attempting to kill foreign agents that enter it, whether that is a bacteria, virus, fungus or antibody from an immunization.  Therefore, if the baby has a stomach bug, a cold, allergies or recently received some shots, he or she also may have a fever. Although a parent or caregiver’s first instinct may be to reduce the fever to a normal temperature, the primary goal should be to make the baby comfortable. Counsel the caregiver to try using a cold washcloth on the baby’s forehead and to maintain proper hydration.

Acetaminophen is the first-line agent for treating fever and/or pain. Often the first time children will take acetaminophen will be when they receive their immunizations at 2 months of age. It is used to reduce the fever caused by the immune system in response to the shot and any pain associated with the injection itself. Acetaminophen is available as a liquid or a suppository. Accurate dosing is important to ensure the baby receives the full dose of medication. The pharmacist and/or clinician should counsel caregivers on correct administration to prevent over or under dosing. Administration directions are included in the package, and the practitioner also should point parents and caregivers to the insert as a guide or reminder of correct administration.  Ibuprofen is another pain reliever and fever reducer option, but since this medication is similar to aspirin (which should never be used in children) and is therefore associated with increased risk of Reye’s Syndrome, it is not necessary to alternate dosing between drugs.

Cough-cold

Over-the-counter medications indicated to treat cough-and-cold symptoms could cause serious side effects in babies and infants. The cough-cold medications that are recommended for children and adults are often not effective in doses that are safe for babies or infants; therefore, only nonmedication therapies should be recommended. Saline nasal drops, humidifiers or a steamy bathroom are helpful for congestion for babies of any age. Warm, clear fluids also can be given to babies older than 3 months of age. Honey can be used in babies older than 1 year of age — avoid recommending if the child is younger than 1 year due to risk of infantile botulism — to thin secretions and loosen coughs.

Gas
If babies continue to cry after eating or having their diaper changed, spit up frequently or are kicking or pumping their legs, they may have gas. Babies can become gassy if they eat from improperly sized bottle nipples or by breast-feeding after the mom has eaten certain foods, such as broccoli, asparagus, carrots or beans. Remind caregivers and parents to burp infants after every 1 oz. or 2 oz. while feeding. If additional treatment is needed, simethicone is a medicine available over the counter that is safe for babies.

Diaper rash
Diaper rash is a common ailment that almost all babies experience. Counsel caregivers and patients to change soiled diapers as soon as possible so as to limit the amount of time the baby’s skin is exposed to the diaper’s contents. Over-the-counter topical skin protectants are used for treatment, such as zinc oxide, petroleum jelly or A&D ointment.
 
Measurements
Finally, counsel parents and caregivers about the importance of their baby receiving the correct dose of their medication. The best way to administer medications is to use a syringe or dropper to ensure accuracy. Regular spoons are not reliable medication delivery devices. If possible, the syringe or dropper that comes with the medication should be used, as they will have specific markings that are appropriate for that product.

Emily Hensley Shafer, PharmD, is a pharmacy manager at Dominick’s Pharmacy and an adjunct professor at Chicago State College of Pharmacy.

 

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Convenient resource for recommendations: Tips to give to new parents and caregivers

BY DSN STAFF

As some of the most trusted healthcare professionals, community pharmacists and clinicians have a unique opportunity to assist and educate patients of all ages. New parents and caregivers often have questions about ailments that their new baby may experience and their appropriate treatments. They can take advantage of the extended hours, unique knowledge and collaborative care of the pharmacy and advanced practice clinician teams.

When making any medication recommendations, the pharmacist or clinician will want to know the baby’s weight. Weight can change significantly within the first months of life. This information is important to know in order to determine the safest, most accurate medication dose. Pain and fever medicine, cough-cold products and antibiotics doses are all based on the weight of the child and can vary depending on the ailment being treated and the size of the child.

Fever/pain
Fever is the body’s natural way of attempting to kill foreign agents that enter it, whether that is a bacteria, virus, fungus or antibody from an immunization.  Therefore, if the baby has a stomach bug, a cold, allergies or recently received some shots, he or she also may have a fever. Although a parent or caregiver’s first instinct may be to reduce the fever to a normal temperature, the primary goal should be to make the baby comfortable. Counsel the caregiver to try using a cold washcloth on the baby’s forehead and to maintain proper hydration.

Acetaminophen is the first-line agent for treating fever and/or pain. Often the first time children will take acetaminophen will be when they receive their immunizations at 2 months of age. It is used to reduce the fever caused by the immune system in response to the shot and any pain associated with the injection itself. Acetaminophen is available as a liquid or a suppository. Accurate dosing is important to ensure the baby receives the full dose of medication. The pharmacist and/or clinician should counsel caregivers on correct administration to prevent over or under dosing. Administration directions are included in the package, and the practitioner also should point parents and caregivers to the insert as a guide or reminder of correct administration.  Ibuprofen is another pain reliever and fever reducer option, but since this medication is similar to aspirin (which should never be used in children) and is therefore associated with increased risk of Reye’s Syndrome, it is not necessary to alternate dosing between drugs.

Cough-cold

Over-the-counter medications indicated to treat cough-and-cold symptoms could cause serious side effects in babies and infants. The cough-cold medications that are recommended for children and adults are often not effective in doses that are safe for babies or infants; therefore, only nonmedication therapies should be recommended. Saline nasal drops, humidifiers or a steamy bathroom are helpful for congestion for babies of any age. Warm, clear fluids also can be given to babies older than 3 months of age. Honey can be used in babies older than 1 year of age — avoid recommending if the child is younger than 1 year due to risk of infantile botulism — to thin secretions and loosen coughs.

Gas
If babies continue to cry after eating or having their diaper changed, spit up frequently or are kicking or pumping their legs, they may have gas. Babies can become gassy if they eat from improperly sized bottle nipples or by breast-feeding after the mom has eaten certain foods, such as broccoli, asparagus, carrots or beans. Remind caregivers and parents to burp infants after every 1 oz. or 2 oz. while feeding. If additional treatment is needed, simethicone is a medicine available over the counter that is safe for babies.

Diaper rash
Diaper rash is a common ailment that almost all babies experience. Counsel caregivers and patients to change soiled diapers as soon as possible so as to limit the amount of time the baby’s skin is exposed to the diaper’s contents. Over-the-counter topical skin protectants are used for treatment, such as zinc oxide, petroleum jelly or A&D ointment.
 
Measurements
Finally, counsel parents and caregivers about the importance of their baby receiving the correct dose of their medication. The best way to administer medications is to use a syringe or dropper to ensure accuracy. Regular spoons are not reliable medication delivery devices. If possible, the syringe or dropper that comes with the medication should be used, as they will have specific markings that are appropriate for that product.

Emily Hensley Shafer, PharmD, is a pharmacy manager at Dominick’s Pharmacy and an adjunct professor at Chicago State College of Pharmacy.

 

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