Being Secure

Recent news related to healthcare providers becoming targets of highly sophisticated malware leaves many care partners wondering if their organization could be at risk and what associated entities are doing to mitigate the threats. Pharmacy Network Services relies heavily on its investment in technology to provide cutting edge services and knowledge to its long-term care clients. As such, the organization takes the security of its systems seriously. In addition to providing client facilities with relevant and timely clinical and regulatory information, Pharmacy Network Services is pleased to provide the tips below to assist clients with minimizing the threat of malware.

Every organization must ensure its IT systems are regularly updated. Microsoft security updates are released on the second Tuesday of each month (Patch Tuesday).

If legacy, now unsupported version of Windows are in use, consider upgrading immediately.

Good network security practice dictates removing or disabling unnecessary services to reduce the potential attack surface.

Regularly backup critical data and ensure that ransomware cannot spread to backup files.

Ransomware can take time to encrypt large volumes of files, particularly across a network share. It is imperative to ensure the back-up window is long enough to go back before any infection begins.

Implement policies and procedures that prohibit unauthorized users and devices from accessing workstations and networks.

Use secure password procedures – use different passwords for all services & sites that are complex and refrain from using simple words found in the dictionary. Change passwords routinely and never share your passwords with other users. Also, do not store password information in insecure text documents or contact managers.

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PNS President Appointed to TN Board of Pharmacy

Tennessee Governor Bill Haslam has appointed Pharmacist Debra Wilson as the newest member of the Tennessee Board of Pharmacy. Dr. Wilson brings a wealth of experience as president of three pharmacy service organizations with locations in Johnson City and Nashville, including Clinical Management Concepts Inc. and its subsidiaries, ProCompounding Pharmacy and Pharmacy Network Services, Inc.

“It’s an honor to be appointed by Governor Haslam to ensure the concerns of Tennesseans across the state are addressed,” says Dr. Wilson. “Pharmacy is a very important part of the overall public health spectrum that includes consumers, physicians, nurses and healthcare facilities. We all must improve our collaborative efforts to achieve better outcomes for the citizens of Tennessee. Anything dealing with public health is of the upmost importance and this board is vital to continue to guarantee the health of our citizens and to keep our profession at the highest level.”

Dr. Wilson will serve a six-year term on the board.

Comments or questions are welcome.

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Anticholergic

Anticholinergic Side Effects in the Elderly

Anticholinergics make up quite a big portion of the Beer’s Criteria. As patients age, changes in their body increase the chances of side effects, drug-drug interactions, and a prescribing cascade. Below is a list of common side effects to anticholinergic medications.

  1. Confusion
    • Check for anticholinergic medications and side effects prior to starting patients on dementia medications like donepezil or memantine.
  1. Drowsiness/sedation
    • Patients may already suffer from lethargy and have great difficulty completing simple activities of daily living with additional anticholinergic sedation.
  1. Blurred vision/Dry eyes
    • Difficulty seeing may lead to increase falls among other things. Watch for patients on artificial tears to see if any anticholinergics may be contributing.
  1. Difficulty urinating
    • Watch for additional medications like tamsulosin, see if anticholinergics could be cut back instead.
  1. Dry mouth
    • Monitor for increased thirst and addition of saliva substitutes.
  1. Constipation
    • This is a major contributor to prescribing cascades, patients keep going up and up on laxatives. Check for opportunities to cut back on anticholinergics.

 A few examples of anticholinergic medications:

Antihistamines, antipsychotics, muscle relaxants, cyproheptadine, tri-cyclic anti-depressants, oxybutynin, olanzapine, promethazine, ipratropium, atropine, rivastigmine, Spiriva.

Comments or questions are welcome.

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Expiration Dates Data Sheet

“Many of our facilities and colleagues frequently request expiration dates on various products. These can vary from injectables to different types of inhalers. At Pharmacy Network Services, we have created a reference sheet to help with some of the most frequently requested medications. We hope this resource is helpful to all of our facilities and patients. As always, if there are any questions or concerns, please call your pharmacists at Pharmacy Network Services”

Expiration-Dates

Comments or questions are welcome.

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PayOnline1

Online Statements and Payments Available

Pharmacy Network Services is pleased to announce that patients and guarantors now have the convenience and safety of going green to receive statements for pharmacy services electronically. Payments on individual patient accounts can now be made from our secured web portal using credit cards or e-checks 24/7/365.

• Access statements 24/7/365 at your convenience of time and place
• Rest assured that online statements and payments are secured and organized
• Know that you’re making an environmentally friendly choice by reducing paper and fuel consumption
• Schedule one-time or recurring, automated payments – it’s your choice!
• Responsible parties for multiple patients can easily view statements for all patients using the same login and password
• Save time and money – no need to write checks, stuff envelopes, or purchase postage to make payments on accounts

Statements mailed after September 1, 2015 will contain a unique PIN that can be used to register for electronic delivery of statements and/or payments from our website. Please visit www.pnspharmacy.com and click on “Pay My Bill” to register and access your account.

Comments or questions are welcome.

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August 7, 2014 – PNS launches electronic prescribing of controlled substances

In partnership with DrFirst, PNS pharmacy is now offering electronic prescribing of controlled substances for its customers. The EPCS Gold software from DrFirst, creates a paperless process for controlled substances prescribing fully approved by the DEA. This ensures the prescription is accurate and eliminates nursing time currently used to follow up on incomplete scripts and refills.

DrFirst is the only vendor to pioneer EPCS in a 3 year reserarch pilot program with AHRQ, Massachusetts Department of Public Health and the DEA. The software was created by doctors for doctors and maintains all state level requirements within the application.

For more information please contact Pharmacy Network Services. For more information on DrFirst, please visit their website at DrFirst.com.

Comments or questions are welcome.

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Track

PNS enhances pharmacy accountability

PNS continues to improve it’s delivery service with DeliveryTrack. DeliveryTrack utilizes hand held technology to provide real-time proof of delivery, barcode scanning, electronic signature captue and route optimization. This technology allows for driver tracking and connectivity.

PNS employs its own drivers for facility delivery allowing for twice a day deliveries, weekend, late admissions and STAT orders. This is another commitment to our customers to ensure on time medication administration to its residents and/or patients.

This network of drivers is a key point of contact with the staff allowing for daily feedback on how PNS can better serve their needs.

To learn more about DeliveryTrack visit http://www.integragroup.com/products/deliverytrack.

Comments or questions are welcome.

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Combining amazing service with the down home pharmacy you are used to.