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RFID News Roundup

AmerisourceBergen launches RFID-enabled medications packaging system ••• Scientists use Microsensys RFID technology to study pesticides' effects on bumblebees ••• EasyJet trials Estimote Bluetooth beacons at three European airports ••• Palos Community Hospital puts Versus RTLS in its operating rooms ••• PINC announces next-generation enterprise yard-management solution ••• Toshiba announces new RFID chip compliant with NFC Forum Type 3 specification ••• Trimble intros Apple iOS support in ThingMagic Mercury API.
By Beth Bacheldor
Jul 17, 2014

The following are news announcements made during the past week by the following organizations: AmerisourceBergen; Microsensys; easyJet, Estimote; Palos Community Hospital, Versus; PINC; Toshiba; and Trimble.

AmerisourceBergen Launches RFID-enabled Medications Packaging System

FastPak Elite
AmerisourceBergen, a global pharmaceutical sourcing and distribution services company, has launched FastPak Elite, a tool designed to help pharmacists by automating the packaging of oral solid medications, as well as improving the accuracy of the storage or dispensing of medications in the plastic pouches or packets provided to patients. According to AmerisourceBergen, FastPak Elite automates the packaging and storage of oral solid prescription medications and uses lockable and factory-calibrated smart canisters that can accurately accommodate, count and dispense nearly all sizes and shapes of oral solid medications.

Each canister is equipped with an RFID tag and bar-code label to ensure that the correct medication is contained in the proper canister. Pharmacists can insert the canister into the FastPak Elite, which has an internal RFID reader that documents the canister's RFID chip. The chip's ID number is correlated with the correct medication for packaging. The machine's associated software features a specially designed user interface that, according to AmerisourceBergen, simplifies the production process. Pharmacy technicians can queue batches of medications that are selected, counted and dispensed into unit-dose and multi-dose pouches at the rate of up to 60 pouches per minute.

An in-line pill cutter allows for dispensing half-tab medications, which AmerisourceBergen says lowers the costs associated with pill cutting and minimizes the amount of time workers spend loading trays. In addition, a detachable table adjuster tray (DTA) has a capacity of 63 cells and allows the dispensing of irregularly shaped or slow-moving medications not packed in canisters. Reeves-Sain Family of Medical Services, in Tennessee, has been using automated packaging systems from AmerisourceBergen for more than 15 years, and is now utilizing the new RFID-enabled system.

"Our experience with previous models has given us a good perspective on what the new Elite machine has to offer," says Lee Golden, Pharm.D, Reeves-Sain Family of Medical Services' VP of long-term care/home infusion. "We have already been able to take advantage of several new efficiencies, including improved package print, a reduction in errors that includes skipped and/or empty packets, a reduction in tray items that is the result of having the capability to utilize 100 percent Smart Fill Canisters supported by RFID, the ability to bypass medications that are unavailable within cycle fills (back orders, stock outs, etc.), and the option to queue batches and eliminate interruptions that waste valuable time. We are excited about the potential savings in time and money that these enhancements have to offer us over the next several years."

Just a few months ago, RxSafe unveiled a similar RFID-enabled medication-dispensing system (see RxSafe's Machines Use RFID to Automatically Dispense Medications).

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