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Wireless- and RFID-enabled refrigerator cabinet is redesigned for home, clinic use
AmerisourceBergen Specialty Group’s ASD healthcare unit (Frisco, TX) chose the recent National Hemophilia Foundation annual meeting to begin showing its Cubixx unit to prospective clients, for possible use in either doctor’s offices or patients’ homes where cold-chain pharmaceuticals would be stored. The initial testing will be with patients with bleeding disorders, in their homes, to monitor inventory and consumption of blood-control medications.
The Cubixx cabinet is designed to offer both patient-care and business benefits. Drugs are kept in the tabletop-sized, RFID-enabled cabinet (the earlier version is a larger unit suited to hospital pharmacies). The RFID technology allows the cabinet to automatically record stock depletion or renewal; the wireless (cellular phone) connection allows these data to be reported to healthcare providers or others.
A new element of the Cubixx is to include a touchscreen panel that would be used by the prescriber or patient to record health conditions at the moment a drug is dispensed, explains Chris Flori, VP business solutions at ASD Healthcare. For the blood-disorder patients, that will include where a bleeding condition is occurring, how much pain the patient is experiencing, and the time of dispensing. For other disease states, other data could be reported; Flori says that this capability might have particular value to drugs with rigorous, mandated REMS (Risk Evaluation and Mitigation Strategies) requirements.
The business case for Cubixx is still being worked out, says Flori; it is likely to be a leasing agreement with either a manufacturer or a provider. Typically, RFID tags are applied by ASD Healthcare to product prior to distribution. A pilot test will be scaled up during early 2011, and the system is expected to be fully commercial by the end of next year. Meanwhile, the hospital-based system is in active use in 22 states, says Flori.