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Health-Care, Pharmaceutical Providers Testing RFID to Track Hemophilia Medication

US Bioservices and MedImpact are piloting myCubixx technology for use with hemophilia patients to track how drugs are being stored in their homes, as well as when they are used and when they may expire.
By Claire Swedberg

When a drug is placed inside the cooler, the reader captures the ID number encoded to its tag, then forwards that data to software hosted on a cloud-based server, via a cellular connection. The software links the medication with the cooler, along with the individual using that device. In that way, the patient, the health-care provider and the pharmacist can each view what medication is being stored there, as well as whether it is nearing expiration. Each time an individual removes a drug from the cooler, he or she must first provide information to the system.

The unit has a touch screen, known as a clinical interface, on its front. The door to the cooler is locked and will not open until the patient uses the interface. The user must first enter a four-digit code that serves as a password to launch the system. Next, he or she must respond to prompts to indicate why the cooler is being accessed. The touch screen prompts the user to select the part of the body that may have been injured, as well as where bleeding may be occurring and the pain scale. The door then unlocks and the patient can remove the medication. The system identifies which item was removed, based on the unique ID that it no longer reads inside the unit. If the user takes medication as a prophylactic, there are prompts to indicate that as well.

US Bioservices' Kevin James
Every access to the cooler is captured by the software, as well as which medication's tag is no longer being read inside the unit. Once the drug is returned to the cooler, data is updated to indicate this status. The system then knows how long the medicine remained out of the cooler, and thus how long it was exposed to room temperatures. The solution further knows that the individual had an injury and, generally, what that consisted of.

The system is intended to enable US Bioservices and MedImpact to determine when a patient may require a medication refill. Analytics from the data will also make it possible to identify whether a patient has more medicine on hand than he or she needs—for instance, if that person uses medication at a lower rate than anticipated.

The pilot, which began in July of this year, will continue for at least six months before being assessed, James says. The participants will assess the return on investment (ROI) the system provides, based on the reduced risk of medication expirations or over-stocking.

In the long term, James reports, "We could provide this solution with all of our pharmacies," and to other PBMs and insurance companies. "Our role as a specialty pharmacy is to maximize positive clinical outcomes while minimizing cost." The participants hope to learn about patient satisfaction, he says, based on the solution and the financial ROI.

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