Friday, March 2, 2012 by
With EHR vendors all rushing to comply with Meaningful Use and ePrescribing requirements, focus on differentiating features can sometimes slip. But these differentiators are what will define the successful EHRs that come to rule the market.
One possible differentiator are clinical calculators. These tools add value to clinicians using your product, especially if patient and medication information from the EHR system can be auto-populated in the calculators. But where can you get such calculators to include in your product?
Lexicomp has been providing dozens of clinical calculators straight to physicians, pharmacists, nurses, and dentists for years through our online and mobile solutions. Now those calculators are also available for inclusion in your system as well. Choose just the ones that are relevant to your users and Lexicomp will provide you with the logic needed to embed these useful tools into your system. (Note: The Lexicomp solution Lexi-Data referenced in this post has been replaced by newer Medi-Span solutions as of January 2013.)
Contact Lexicomp today using the links on this page to learn more!
Friday, March 2, 2012 by
EMRs, EHRs, and ePrescribers are poised to add controlled substances to their electronic prescribing products -- but there's a hitch. Where can these vendors get the federal and state controlled substance schedules in a ready-to-use format?
Healthcare providers that handle prescriptions in multiple states have long known that the interlocking and overlapping requirements of state and federal controlled substance schedules can be bewildering. The U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) supplies a federal code that must be followed -- except where it is superceded by more stringent state codes. The result is that every state has different rules for prescribing narcotics and other controlled substances. Even worse, there's no single place to get information from all the states. If you want to keep up, you have to follow each one individually.
Luckily, Lexicomp can now provide both federal and state CSA codes in ready-to-use data formats that make adhering to laws much easier. The information is collected by Lexicomp's in-house staff of content experts and updated regularly. It's available as part of their integrated transactional database, Lexi-Data, which means the data can power electronic prescribing logic from behind the scenes. Contact Lexicomp today for more information by following the links on this page! (Note: The Lexicomp solution Lexi-Data referenced in this post has been replaced by newer Medi-Span solutions as of January 2013.)
Sunday, November 27, 2011 by
EMR and EHR vendors are discovering that the responsiveness of their data providers can have a big impact on their ability to get certification or get to market. This is especially true in drug interaction databases, where the quality of the data can affect crucial goals like Meaningful Use certification or SureScripts eprescribing certification.
Even beyond certification, a data provider can affect how quickly you can develop new features, respond to customer requests, or even whether you can develop new and necessary functionality at all. In many ways, a drug information vendor is one of a health IT developer's most important partners.
What if the partnership doesn't work out?
Real problems can arise if this partner is unresponsive or doesn't provide the expected level of customer service and new feature development. An EHR or EMR can literally be left treading water in situations such as these. What to do? Here are three tips.
1. "Bolt on" additional functionality: For some functionality, it's possible to lease an already-certified third-party solution that will help you meet short-term needs if your own development is stalled. The classic case for this electronic prescribing -- many EMR developers use pre-existing third-party eprescribing modules to get them to market faster while developing their own. One provider of such modules is DoseSpot.
2. Use web services to easily integrate multiple sources: Sometimes a single source just doesn't have everything you need, but maintaining multiple in-house databases can be costly and time-consuming. For specific bits of information you want to add -- for instance, patient education documents in foreign languages -- it may be easiest to access a second vendor using web services. This puts the responsibility for maintaining the data on the vendor, and leaves you with a much smaller development and maintenance task. One drug data provider, Lexicomp, now supplies much core functionality through web services, including all major Meaningful Use Stage 1 items. (Note: The Lexicomp solution Lexi-Data referenced in this post has been replaced by newer Medi-Span solutions as of January 2013.)
3. Cut the anchor as soon as you can: Sometimes all you can do is look for another provider. The two items above can help you in some circumstances, but for core functionality you may need to cut your losses. The earlier you can identify a bad relationship, the better. One customer of Lexicomp came to us after unsuccessfully trying to work with another vendor's dataset. After a short while with the other database, they knew it wasn't right, and so they were able to painlessly replace the data with Lexicomp's. In less than a month after that, their product was live.
The moral of the story is that your drug vendor relationships are crucial to your success. If they don't feel right, then stop and look for alternatives. A slight delay upfront is better than being trapped with a vendor who makes it more difficult for you to meet your customers' needs and innovate new features.
Saturday, November 26, 2011 by
As EMRs and EHRs incorporate more and more functions, they are going to be giving more advice and warnings to their users. A very real concern among many developers of health informatics systems is "alert fatigue" -- the idea that too many irrelevant alerts will annoy users. And worse, that a flood of useless alerts will cause users to ignore all alerts and warnings, rendering the system's automated checks pointless.
The only way to limit alert fatigue is to be more intelligent about when alerts are shown, and to whom. The key problem is not "too many alerts" -- it's "too many irrelevant alerts". There are two strategies that can help with this.
1. Allow users to customize their own alerts
Each user of your system likely has their own login which is theirs alone. This means that savvy EHR vendors can make it possible for clinicians to customize their own alerts. When an alert is shown, they can select whether they want to see the alert again -- in effect, controlling the information they see by telling the system not to show them alerts they consider irrelevant.
2. Intelligently manage alerts by types of users and circumstances
Another strategy is for the system to do some of this work ahead of time. If an alert applies only to administration, the system would know to show the alert to the prescribing doctor or the compounding pharmacist -- but instead only to the administering nurse. Likewise, if an alert applies only to pregnant women, the system would know not to show it if the patient in question is a man. This strategy relies on knowing things about your users (e.g., what kind of cilnician they are) and the circumstances of the encounter to anticipate which alerts may be irrelevant.
The most successful EMRs will likely use a combination of both approaches. But the second strategy can help alleviate alert fatigue immediately -- your users don't have to manage their own preferences to see the benefits. However, it also relies on detailed drug interaction databases able to finely slice alerts for you. Lexicomp is one medication information vendor that is innovating in this arena, and creating complex filters for many of its alerts and warnings. (Note: The Lexicomp solution Lexi-Data referenced in this post has been replaced by newer Medi-Span solutions as of January 2013.)
Friday, November 25, 2011 by
Lexicomp is increasingly the preferred choice of EHR and EMR vendors for pharmaceutical and clinical information. What benefits do they deliver for developers? (Note: The Lexicomp solution Lexi-Data referenced in this post has been replaced by newer Medi-Span solutions as of January 2013.)
Meaningful Use support: Including drug-drug and drug-allergy interaction checking
Superior customer service: Every customer receives personal service, no matter the size
Advanced filtering options: A unique system of complex filters allows users to target Black Boxed Warnings to particular users and circumstances
Trusted content and name: Thousands of physicians, pharmacists, nurses, dentists, and other clinicians buy information direct from Lexicomp because they trust it
Full support for eprescribing: Customers have used Leicomp's clinical decision support to create their own e-prescribing modules for EMRs and EHRs
These are just five of the many benefits that Lexicomp customers enjoy. To find out more, request a demonstration today!
Thursday, November 24, 2011 by
Lexicomp's drug interaction database has grown by leaps and bounds over the past few years. Now used by hundreds of EMR, EHR, HIS and other healthcare vendors, it is the information behind medication reference and clinical decision support for tens of thousands of physicians.
What makes Lexicomp the preferred choice?
Easier implementation when compared to other data sources
Superior customer service for all customers, regardless of size
Full support of Meaningful Use Stage 1 clinical decision support requirements
New innovative features like patient education in multiple languages
Flexible delivery, including robust APIs and web services
More and more healthcare information vendors are discovering that Lexicomp can save them development time, making the road to certification and market faster and smoother. Find out today if Lexicomp can do the same for you! (Note: The Lexicomp solution Lexi-Data referenced in this post has been replaced by newer Medi-Span solutions as of January 2013.)
Thursday, October 27, 2011 by
Lexicomp is the seller of Lexi-Data, a transactional drug interaction database for EHR vendors, EMR vendors, HIS systems, ePrescribers, PMS systems, consumer websites, patient portals, and more. Hundreds of Lexi-Data customers are integrating Lexicomp's referential and clinical decision support information into their own systems and products.
Comprehensive data covers all decision support Meaningful Use requirements:
Compatible with required standards like RxNorm
Supports drug-drug and drug-allergy interaction checking
All data necessary for ePrescribing and CPOE
Additional functionality like dose range checking
Fastest and easiest integration gets you to market faster:
Easy-to-use APIs and web services -- you choose which you want
Superior one-on-one customer service
Most intuitive data structure and fastest implementation
New features set you apart from the competition:
Black Box Warning filters to alleviate clinician alert fatigue
Patient education available in 19 languages
Click the links on this page to find out more about Lexi-Data now! (Note: The Lexicomp solution Lexi-Data referenced in this post has been replaced by newer Medi-Span solutions as of January 2013.)
Thursday, October 20, 2011 by
For years, Multum Lexicon was the source for researchers to get drug reference and drug interaction data. But where can researchers now get medication lists, pharmaceutical monographs, drug-drug interactions, drug-allery interactions, and more?
Today, there is an enhanced and updated solution built on the foundation of Multum Lexicon. It's Lexicomp's Lexi-Data transactional database. Lexi-Data provides drug names (brand name, generic name, and common abbreviations), therapeutic categories, drug classifications, indications, and standard coding such as NDC, J-Codes, and ICD-9. The data in Lexi-Data has been utilized by many universities and research institutions, including research on pharmaceutical policy and outcomes, aging, and more. (Note: The Lexicomp solution Lexi-Data referenced in this post has been replaced by newer Medi-Span solutions as of January 2013.)
Multum is a registered trademark of Cerner Corp.
Wednesday, October 19, 2011 by
Since ONC and CMS permitted specialists to file for exemptions from Meaningful Use guidelines, the challenge has been providing them with cost effective EHR and EMR solutions that meet their needs but are also government certified.
EHR vendors who build systems for specialists may not previously have thought about such functionality as ePrescribing, drug-drug interaction checking, drug-allergy interaction checking, and the ability to print patient education materials. But all these things are required in certified EHR systems -- even if specialists have exemptions from reporting on them.
Lexicomp is one drug information vendor that can help EHR vendors get their products certified for Meaningful Use more quickly, especially now that they have an extensive set of web services calls that provide the most important functionality without the need for on-site database integration. EHRs for specialists like chiropractors, dentists, oncologists, dermatologists, and more now have a new way to provide more value to their users. (Note: The Lexicomp solution Lexi-Data referenced in this post has been replaced by newer Medi-Span solutions as of January 2013.)
Tuesday, October 18, 2011 by
Does your EHR or patient portal include patient education pamphlets? If so, how confident are you that patients receiving the materials get the information they need? For many patients, the problem may be as basic as not understanding the language that the documents are written in.
Lexicomp is a recognized leader in patient education. Their leaflets are used in over a thousand hospitals in the U.S. and Canada. Not only are the leaflets available in 19 common languages, but they are tailored specifically to adult and pediatric patients as well. There can be huge differences in dosing, warnings, and possible adverse drug events among these populations. (Note: The Lexicomp solution Lexi-Data referenced in this post has been replaced by newer Medi-Span solutions as of January 2013.)
Lexicomp's patient education is available for integration into a wide variety of systems -- including EHRs, EMRs, HIS systems, ePrescribing systems, patient portals, consumer websites, PMSs, and more. Contact them today using the links on this page for more information!
Wednesday, October 12, 2011 by
Patients are becoming more involved in their own healthcare, and are increasingly making use of patient portals and consumer-facing websites to do research, follow their progress, and even answer questions they might have previously posed to their physician. At the very least, they are using these sites to be more informed during visits to their care providers so they can get more value from those encounters.
All of this creates an opportunity for innovative developers to provide accurate, reliable, easy-to-understand information to patients via the web. One source for medication and clinical information that can be easily integrated into such sites is Lexicomp.
Lexicomp is a leading provider of drug reference, clinical reference, and patient education leaflets and materials to clinicians. Over a thousand hospitals use Lexicomp's information every day during patient encounters. The information available includes medication lists, drug monographs, drug interaction information (including interactions with common food and natural products), drug allergy information, patient education documents, dose adminstration, warnings, and more. (Note: The Lexicomp solution Lexi-Data referenced in this post has been replaced by newer Medi-Span solutions as of January 2013.)
And Lexicomp's information can be easily integrated into your site in a variety of ways. You can choose to have an installed local database, or to use web services to pull information from Lexicomp's servers as needed. Contact Lexicomp today to find out how to populate your patient portal or consumer website with the information your users are looking for.
Tuesday, October 11, 2011 by
As EHRs and EMRs become more widespread and more integrated into the daily activities of clinicians, concern over alert fatigue gows. This is one of the biggest issue facing developers today. The ideal EHR or EMR will provide the right alerts for the right clinicians, but won't overwhelm them.
Lexicomp is one drug data provider that is taking steps to address this issue. They have added multi-dimensional filtering to a set of Black Box Warning alerts. These filters allow EHR vendors to filter alerts by intended clinician, severity of the warning, and special conditions related to the alert. (Note: The Lexicomp solution Lexi-Data referenced in this post has been replaced by newer Medi-Span solutions as of January 2013.)
For instance, an alert that applies only to pregnant women at the time of medication dose administration wouldn't display for pharmacists preparing the prescription or for male patients receiving the drug. When only relevant alerts are shown to clinicians, they come to value them more. The detail that Lexicomp includes in the alerts allows for smarter targeting. EHRs and EMRs can finally set themselves apart from the competition by helping clinicians solve a problem that is extremely important to them.
Saturday, October 8, 2011 by
Now that ONC and CMS allow specialists and dentists to file exceptions from Meaningful Use requirements, many classes of clinicians find themselves able to qualify for incentive money. But even though they may not use much of a certified EHR's functionality, they're still required to implement a fully functional package to qualify.
This is something of a dilemma for vendors of EHR systems for specialists and dentists. How can they provide lightweight versions of functionality that may never be used, while still giving robust coverage of important features like e-prescribing? It's a development puzzle with seemingly no easy solution.
Are web services the answer?
Not every EHR or EMR can be successful relying on web services to fulfill Meaningful Use criteria, but specialists and dentists may be able to reap the benefits. Web services are inexpensive and quick to implement, and don't require you to maintain and update a complicated database of medications and other clinical concepts. Simply request the information you need via the web service when you need it, and it can be delivered to your application.
Lexicomp is one vendor that supplies robust web services to their own database of drug and clinical information. They provide enough functionality to fulfill every Stage 1 Meaningful Use requirement related to drug screening and interaction checking. They also have web services for the delivery of patient education materials. (Note: The Lexicomp solution Lexi-Data referenced in this post has been replaced by newer Medi-Span solutions as of January 2013.)
If you think web services may be beneficial to your development, contact Lexicomp today to learn more.
Friday, October 7, 2011 by
When developing an EHR system, when is the right time to evaluate a drug interaction database? Because there are only a handful of vendors in the market, it makes sense to evaluate their respective offerings several times. Certainly, before you make the final decision to go with any particular vendor, you should talk once more to the other data providers to ensure nothing has changed.
A lot can change in a few months
One vendor that has added a lot of enhancements to their medication and clinical information is Lexicomp. Evaluating their solution today versus a year ago would show many differences in capabilities. (Note: The Lexicomp solution Lexi-Data referenced in this post has been replaced by newer Medi-Span solutions as of January 2013.)
Some of the new enhancements include:
New web services calls that allow for implementation of Meaningful Use Stage 1 requirements without an installed database
New Black Box Warnings information that helps alleviate alert fatigue
Expanded patient education leaflets in multiple languages
In an industry like this where things can change quickly but in which product development can sometimes span years, it's important to check in with possible vendors more than once! If you haven't talked to Lexicomp recently, click the links on this page to set up a conversation with them now.
Monday, September 26, 2011 by
For many years, the primary provider of drug reference and drug interaction information to researchers was Multum's Lexicon solution. Today, there is also another solution that is built on the foundation of Lexicon. That new solution is Lexicomp's Lexi-Data Basic database. (Note: The Lexicomp solution Lexi-Data referenced in this post has been replaced by newer Medi-Span solutions as of January 2013.)
In an earlier post, my colleague Ryan Smith explained how Lexi-Data Basic is now serving the needs of researchers:
"Lexi-Data Basic provides drug information that includes drug names (brand name, generic name, and common abbreviations), therapeutic categories, drug classifications, indications, and standard coding such as NDC, J-Cods, and ICD-9. Lexi-Data Basic is powered by the widely known and trusted Multum Lexicon solution which has been utilized by hundreds of universities and institutions in the past. Multum is a registered trademark of Cerner Corp."
For more information on Lexi-Data Basic, click the links to fill out the form on this page.
Saturday, September 24, 2011 by
With all the focus on improving patient care with electronic medical records, it's strange that most medication and clinical data vendors don't allow developers to meaningfully use Black Box Warnings. But one vendor, Lexicomp, is leading the way with detailed, customizable warnings that add value across the continuum of care.
What are Black Box Warnings and how do they help?
Black Box Warnings (also called Black Boxed Warnings) are the FDA's highest class of medication warning -- it indicates a precaution of the highest concern to patients or clinicians. They get their name from the distinctive black box that surrounds the warning on the packaged information that comes with drugs.
Not all Black Box Warnings are alike. Some are relevant at the time a drug is prescribed, others at the time the prescription is filled, and others when the drug is administered or stored. For this reason, different warnings are most likely to apply to different clinicians (or even the patient) along the continuum of care. Similarly, some warnings are only applicable to patients with special conditions (e.g., pregnancy), and some are considered by clinicians to be "obvious" warnings (e.g., only oncologists may prescribe cancer treatment regimens).
Yet, the information included in these warnings is very important -- so long as they are delivered at the right time to the right people. They can help save lives, reduce liability, and reduce the cost of care.
How do you get Black Box Warnings into your EMR system?
Until recently, there was no good way to get this information in an EMR, EHR, or HIS system. Some drug information vendors offer an indicator on their drug monographs that simply states "YES" or "NO" whether the drug has an associated Black Box Warning. It's still up to every clinician in the continuum of care -- the prescribing doctor, the fulfilling pharmacist, the administering nurse -- to look up those warnings in the drug's packaged inserts to see if they apply to them. This is an unnecessary extra step that could potentially lead to crucial missed information!
Lexicomp offers a better way. With Lexicomp, detailed information is provided about each Black Box Warning. In addition to the full text of the warning and additional context written by Lexicomp's staff of in-house experts, the warnings are all classified to make it easy to customize which ones appear for which clinicians. You can reduce alert fatigue by ensuring that only relevant warnings appear for particular clinicians or patients. Not only will your EMR be improving patient safety, but it will be making life easier for all of your users as well! (Note: The Lexicomp solution Lexi-Data referenced in this post has been replaced by newer Medi-Span solutions as of January 2013.)
Friday, September 23, 2011 by
Alert fatigue has been the big bogeyman of EMR implementation for many users, developers, and vendors. Although clinicians agree that it's important to see alerts, they disagree on how many and even which ones. Many vendors have found that a crucial step in alleviating alert fatigue is to allow clinicians to customize their own alerts to some extent. But can your drug information vendor even support that?
Not all clinical information is structured the same!
The more detail that your medication and clinical information vendor provides about crucial alerts, the easier it is for you to implement customization for your users. If every alert looks the same (which is true of what many vendors provide!), then that means that your users will have to go through them all one by one, setting their preferences on warnings and dosage precautions by hand. Then they have to keep their settings up to date as new alerts are added. That's not user friendly design!
By contrast, Lexicomp's implementation of Black Box Warnings (also called Black Boxed Warnings) gives a great deal of flexibility to developers to allow for multi-dimensional customization. Each warning contains information about which clinician the alert is intended for, how severe the alert is, and whether the alert applies only to patients with specific conditions (e.g., pregnancy). (Note: The Lexicomp solution Lexi-Data referenced in this post has been replaced by newer Medi-Span solutions as of January 2013.)
Win customer loyalty by automating alert customization!
This way, you can automate much of the customization without having to ask for input from every individual user. You can simply have the system hide alerts intended for nurses from pharmacists, and vice-versa. Likewise, you can make your system intelligent enough to hide alerts related to pregnancy from male patients. This is the kind of smart implementation that users are looking for to help them aviod alert fatigue and become more efficient and effective clinicians. Talk to Lexicomp today to learn more!
Friday, September 23, 2011 by
Consumers are increasingly taking an active role in their own healthcare -- a trend which can only result in better care. A key source of information for these patients are consumer-facing websites that include clinical and medication information. But those sites must of course get their information from somewhere.
Lexicomp is one such provider of information to consumer-facing medical websites. They specialize in best-in-class pharmaceutical information -- including indications, interactions (with other drugs, natural products, and more), possible allergies, dosing for adults and children, precautions and warnings, and more. Lexicomp also offers patient education leaflets in a variety of languages. (Note: The Lexicomp solution Lexi-Data referenced in this post has been replaced by newer Medi-Span solutions as of January 2013.)
What's more, Lexicomp supplies its information in a variety of formats, including access through convenient web services. Web services allows you to pull specific Lexicomp information into your website without the hassle of maintaining an on-site database. This solution requires less development and maintenance, and means that your users always have up-to-date information. It's a perfect solution for consumer-facing websites looking to expand their content offerings. Contact Lexicomp to learn more today.
Thursday, September 22, 2011 by
Since the beginning of the government's Meaningful Use incentive plan, specialists have been in a strange position. Although they were eventually granted the right to seek exceptions from certain measurement criteria that didn't apply to their fields, they are still required to implement fully functional EMR or EHR systems that can do everything the CMS and ONC stipulate.
An increasing number of dentists are in the same boat as well, as state mandates require them to implement systems that include functionality (like ePrescribing) that they may only use occasionally. This means that EMR vendors who create systems for specialists and dentists are now looking for ways to implement the broader functionality required by law without raising prices on their customers who may not see much value in it.
What are web services and how can they help?
Web services are a different method of accessing some of the functionality required by Meaningful Use and state mandates. Instead of implementing and updating a database in-house to drive the functionality, web services allow a vendor to access information remotely only when needed. By using web services, you don't need to expend valuable development resources on non-essential functions. You can also arrange with a vendor like Lexicomp to pay only for the functionality that you'll be using. (Note: The Lexicomp solution Lexi-Data referenced in this post has been replaced by newer Medi-Span solutions as of January 2013.)
When it comes to functions like ePrescribing, dose range checking, interaction checking, and allergy checking, web services aren't appropriate for everyone. Heavy users of those functions will still want to have a local database they can quickly query with reliable redundant back-ups. But for those who consider this functionality a low priority or infrequent need, web services offer a new, more easily implemented, and sometimes less expensive solution to help dentists and specialists meet government requirements.
Contact Lexicomp today for more information!
Tuesday, September 20, 2011 by
Nothing is final yet, but in all likelihood Meaningful Use Stage 2 won't kick in until 2014. In addition, some of the draft recommendations floating around look a lot like Stage 1 with stricter compliance levels. In other words: much of the work for Stage 2 is going to fall on EPs and hospitals, rather than on EMR vendors. There will likely be some new functionality -- especially around provider-patient communication -- but probably not the crush of requirements we saw in Stage 1.
So what will EMR, EHR, and HIS vendors do with their reprieve? If they're smart, they'll take this opportunity to improve their products in ways that aren't (yet!) required by Meaningful Use but which will give them an advantage in the market. Here's some functionality that EMRs may be using this reprieve to pursue:
Implementing dose range checking: From a clinical point of view, this is one of the big gaps in what we've seen so far in the first two stages of Meaningful Use. Many of the news stories we read about adverse drug events aren't about interactions or allergies at all -- they're about mistakes in dosing. This is especially true with pediatric dosing, which can be extremely complicated. If dosage precautions were more widely implemented, patient safety would be positively affected.
Addressing alert fatigue: Many EMR systems are likely to live or die based on this issue alone. Whoever can figure it out will have an undeniable benefit over the competition. As with many Meaningful Use issues, it starts with drug information vendors -- does yours provide the detail needed to make alerts intelligent?
Improving patient education: The new recommendations for Stage 2 Meaningful Use are all about provider-patient communication. And transcripts of workgroups show that CMS and ONC are very interested in improving not just the method of communication, but the quality of information that flows through it. It seems likely that this will eventually include things like specific patient education materials for pediatric and adult patients, delivered in the language they primarily speak.
EMR vendors that can solve some or all of these issues now will find themselves ahead of the game when the next round of MU guidelines come out. Not only that, but they'll be delivering real value to clinicians that sets them apart from all the other cookie-cutter competitors who are simply "checking boxes" on the Meaningful Use checklist.
But where to start? Lexicomp is a drug and clinical information vendor who can help with all of the items listed above -- and with many more as well. Call or fill out a form today to start learning about how Lexicomp can help you build value for your users, save money and development resources, and meet government requirements for your EMR system. (Note: The Lexicomp solution Lexi-Data referenced in this post has been replaced by newer Medi-Span solutions as of January 2013.)