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Hands-Free Pharmacy

Pharmacists who mix custom prescription compounds, such as testosterone cream, thyroxine, or morphine in syrup form, need access to a database that lists the compounding formulas for each prescription. However, the need to maintain a sterile environment makes thumbing through notebooks or typing on a PC keyboard an inconvenient if not unsafe method for obtaining mixing instructions.

Calence, a Cisco Gold Partner, developed a service called MyRX that pulls content from the pharmacy database via the Web. Pharmacists are able to use their existing IP phone to connect to the pharmacy database containing the complete mixing instructions for all complex compounds. Voice recognition preserves the sterile environment by allowing the pharmacist to lookup the required information without constantly removing and replacing sterile gloves to use the phone—saving both time and money.

From the MyRX screen, the pharmacist, using natural pharmaceutical terminology, either speaks a command to the phone or speaks the word "help" to learn how to frame the command in a manner that the service can process (Figure 3). In addition to presenting the information on the phone's display, the service presents the same information verbally via the speaker on the Cisco IP phone.

Figure 3FIGURE 3: The MyRX service recognizes pharmaceutical terminology and provides help to teach pharmacists how to phrase their queries.

The pharmacist issues a verbal command and the MyRX service either displays the mixing instructions for the requested compound, or asks the pharmacist to specify additional information about the prescription (Figure 4). For example, the system verbally asks the user, "Would you like the syrup to be preserved? Say YES if you want preserved syrup. Say NO if you want preservative-free syrup." The text on the phone's display shows the same information that is being verbally prompted to the user. The pharmacist specifies whether the syrup should be preserved or not and the system displays the compound formula (Figure 5). The pharmacist can scroll up and down to display the entire formula or say "print" to have the formula sent to a printer.

Figure 4FIGURE 4: If more detailed information is needed, the MyRX service prompts the pharmacist, both onscreen and verbally through the speaker, to provide the necessary information.

Figure 5FIGURE 5: The compound formula is displayed onscreen. Soft keys allow the pharmacist to research the compound further, or print a copy of the formula.

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