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Helix Health Wins Distribution Rights to Market and Sell Robotic Pharmacy Solutions
November 28th, 2007 - Helix Health, leading provider of world-class software solutions to the healthcare sector and Ireland’s largest indigenous healthcare IT provider, today announced that it will become the first Irish company to provide a range of robotic solutions to Irish pharmacies, in a deal to market and distribute a range of automated dispensing machines for community and hospital pharmacy. The distribution agreement and strategic alliance is with German company, Willach+Heise, the European market leader in the field of pharmacy storage systems.
Targeting a market worth in excess of €120 million, Helix Health has developed an integrated solution for customers with its pharmacy software systems eliminating the need to duplicate entry of prescription information. The machine will also deliver significant savings on administrative and staffing costs to pharmacists. A leading provider of pharmacy automated solutions worldwide, this deal marks Willach+Heise’s entrance into the Irish pharmacy market.
With this new solution, a dispensing pharmacist simply keys in the drug information and an automatic message is sent to the dispensing robot. The unit then dispenses the specific drug in the exact quantity required, in less than seven seconds, increasing the accuracy of the dispensing process while reducing human intervention.
Speaking at the announcement Howard Beggs, CEO of Helix Health, said, “In January 2006, Helix Health became the first Irish pharmacy IT provider to integrate its software with a pharmacy robot and so we are delighted that we will have the opportunity to introduce Willach+Heise’s solutions to the Irish market. “This innovative robotic solution for community and hospital pharmacies will deliver significant value and efficiency to our customers. At Helix Health, we produce innovative and pioneering solutions to automate as many of a pharmacy’s time-consuming tasks as possible. This is essential in the drive to free up busy pharmacists’ time, allowing them to spend more time counselling patients on their medication usage and compliance, while increasing the accuracy of the dispensing process and reducing human intervention in picking drugs. ”
Jörg Heise, CEO of Willach+Heise, said, “When seeking to enter the Irish market with automated dispensing solutions, Helix Health proved to be the ideal partner. The trend to move to automated solutions in the pharmacy market has been evident for some time throughout Europe. Helix Health has been a trusted partner to Irish Pharmacists’ for over 20 years and this local presence for on-going support and maintenance together with their experience and knowledge provides us with the perfect channel to promote our products through.”
UCC professor wins top accolade at the Helix Health Pharmacist Awards
November 19th, 2007 - Cork-based Professor of Pharmacology at UCC, Caitriona O’Driscoll, took the top accolade at the 2007 Helix Health Pharmacist Awards on Saturday night, November 17th in recognition of her dedicated years of research in pharmacology allied with the challenge of heading the new School of Pharmacy at UCC.
The annual event, which is supported by Helix Health, attracted an audience of almost 300 to the Royal Kilmainham Hospital in Dublin to raise funds for the Benevolent Trust Fund of the Pharmaceutical Society of Ireland.
The event’s judges, who include many of the most respected members of the pharmacy profession, praised Professor O’Driscoll for rising to the challenge of establishing the new School of Pharmacy in University College Cork which has produced its first crop of graduates of the highest calibre this year. The School was established to address the demand for undergraduate places in pharmacy. UCC has the only school of pharmacy outside of Dublin and was the third school of pharmacy to open – the RCSI having opened the previous year.
They highlighted the pharmacist’s contribution to research in targeted drug delivery systems. Her research collaborations have included Cork Cancer Research, UCD, TCD and Athens University. She has been central in securing the research funding of €6 million from Science Foundation Ireland in collaboration with her research colleagues.
In all, eight awards were presented last Saturday night including a special Lifetime Achievement Award which went to Dublin-based pharmacist John Burke for more than 30 years of dedicated service to pharmacy. He was pivotal in the early 70’s in uniting the old IDA and the Pharmaceutical Society of Ireland together in a formidable team to negotiate the GMS contract, one of the single most important developments ever undertaken within the Irish healthcare system. Subsequently, John Burke was a founding father of the Irish Pharmaceutical Union, recognising a need for a strong and professional organisation to represent the pharmacy profession in order for it to progress and evolve.
Cicely Roche, who spoke on behalf of the Benevolent Trust Fund of the Pharmaceutical Society of Ireland, said that the monies raised by the event would make a very real difference to the families of those associated with pharmacy experiencing difficult times.
Mr Howard Beggs, CEO of Helix Health, said his company had been assisting pharmacists deliver top-quality care to their patients over the last 20 years.
He added: “Helix Health is delighted to sponsor the Pharmacist Awards because they provide recognition for the immense contribution that pharmacists from community, hospital and industry make every single day of their working lives. Pharmacists are very often neglected when discussion turns to healthcare, but pharmacists across Ireland play a tremendous role in supporting the healthcare system. And their sheer expertise, professionalism and accessibility mean they have an even bigger role to play.”
Eight pharmacists were recognised by their peers at the 2007 pharmacist awards. The winners included:
Young Pharmacist of the Year: Brendan Culloty, Youghal Pharmacy, Co. Cork
Brendan was recognised for his unique ability to engage with patients, to be sensitive to their needs and to take the time required to solve their problems. His intervention in their care, has for several patients, improved the management of their illness and for some, may potentially have been life-saving.
Practice-Based Research Award: Fiona Ryan, University College Cork
Fiona uses an internet portal website to manage and monitor 163 patients receiving oral anticoagulation which allows for continuity of care and increased flexibility of testing for both patient and healthcare provider.
Excellence in Community Practice Award: Ronan Quirke, Clonmel, Co. Tipperary
Through his multidisciplinary approach with local healthcare practitioners, Ronan provides expert advice and care to his patients.
Patient Nominated Award: Tomás Conefrey, Pearse St., Dublin
Tomás was nominated by several patients in recognition for his helpful advice, in particular to the elderly, and the endless time he spends helping them understand their treatments.
Excellence in Hospital Pharmacy Award: Geraldine Creaton, St John’s Hospital, Limerick
Geraldine developed the first pharmacist- led anti-coagulation clinic outside Dublin which led to the hospital’s early accreditation.
Retail Pharmacist Contribution to the Community Award: John Tully, Castlerea, Co. Roscommon
Thanks to the hard work and foresight of John a Hospice Foundation was established in counties Mayo and Roscommon to address the lack of home-based services for terminally ill patients.
Helix Health forms Clinical Advisory Board
Helix Health announces the formation of Clinical Advisory Board to enhance patient care
October 16th 2007 - Dublin, Ireland - Helix Health Limited, the largest healthcare IT solutions provider in Ireland, has announced the formation of a Clinical Advisory Board, enabling the company to create truly patient-centric software solutions.
The Clinical Advisory Board is a multi-disciplinary board of healthcare professionals who meet on a regular basis to suggest and discuss new technological advances that Helix Health is making in the healthcare IT sector. Chaired by the eminent Professor Arthur Tanner RCSI, the board is comprised of members representing all facets of the healthcare spectrum including Dr. Ciarán Kelly, General Practitioner, Karl Hilton, pharmacist and former President of the Irish Pharmaceutical Union, and Ronan Brett, Head of Pharmacy Services Europe with Celesio, the leading European pharmaceutical distributor.
Chairman of the Clinical Advisory Board, Professor Arthur Tanner RCSI, says, “The Clinical Advisory Board acts as an interface between the user of healthcare IT and Helix Health, the people who develop software solutions for these healthcare professionals. The presence of a Clinical Advisory Board ensures that the voice of the user is listened to and that they use software that, not only helps them to do their job, but ultimately, enables them to deliver a superior health service to their patients”.
Announcing the creation of the Clinical Advisory Board, Howard Beggs, CEO of Helix Health, says, “As a market-leading technology company, we’ve always used expert groups in the various healthcare sectors we are involved in. However, the Clinical Advisory Board is different because it is tasked with the challenge of discussing advances in technologies that not only transcend traditional healthcare boundaries but also pre-empt the impact of technologies that have not yet been developed. We are truly delighted that we were able to attract people of the calibre of Professor Tanner, Dr. Ciarán Kelly, Karl Hilton and Ronan Brett to the Clinical Advisory Board, and look forward to their input on the new healthcare technologies that we have planned for the future”.
At the beginning of this year, Helix Health announced that they would become the first healthcare IT provider to create a truly integrated healthcare system through the deployment of electronic transmission of prescription (ETP) technologies. “We are currently in pilot with a variant of ETP, which involves the transmission of prescription information between the general practitioner and the pharmacist using 2D barcodes,” adds Beggs. “The aim of this pilot is to prove, first and foremost, that the technology works and, secondly, that there are distinct advantages to deploying this type of technology, particularly for the patient. Results of this pilot will be published shortly”.
About Professor Arthur Tanner RCSI:
Professor Tanner is a General Surgeon and the Director of Surgical Affairs in the Royal College of Surgeons in Ireland (RCSI). Having qualified as an undergraduate from Trinity College Dublin, Professor Tanner was subsequently awarded a Doctorate from the same university. He is a fellow of the Royal College of Surgeons in Ireland, the Royal College of Surgeons of Edinburgh and a founding fellow of the Faculty of Sports and Exercise Medicine. He was a consultant general surgeon to the Meath and the Adelaide Hospitals and was Associate Professor of Surgery in Trinity College, Dublin.
About Dr. Karl Hilton:
Dr. Karl Hilton is a community pharmacist and the proprietor of four community pharmacies in Ireland. As the immediate past President and former Vice President of the Irish Pharmaceutical Union, Dr. Hilton helped steer the course of Irish pharmacy through the changing climate that post-deregulation pharmacy posed. Under his Chairmanship of the Pharmaceutical Contractors Committee, Dr. Hilton was involved in negotiating the Over 70s deal for community pharmacists. A former full-time lecturer in the Department of Pharmaceutics, School of Pharmacy, Trinity College, he has also lectured in Pharmacy Practice and Pharmaceutical Manufacturing Technology. Dr. Hilton has published extensively in the area of controlled drug delivery research.
About Dr. Ciarán Kelly:
Dr. Ciarán Kelly is a practising GP in Lifford Health Centre, Co. Donegal. Having built up extensive expertise in the area of healthcare information technologies, Dr. Kelly was the former Medical Director of Medicom Medical Computer Solutions from 2001 up until the company’s recent merger with Systems Solutions Limited, the leading provider of pharmacy solutions in Ireland. In his capacity as Chairman of the Helix Health National User Group of GPs, Dr. Kelly is responsible for ensuring that GPs play a proactive role in the future development of Helix Health’s next generation general practice management solution - Medicom Practice Manager®, which will be previewed at the company’s forthcoming nationwide GP User Group roadshows in November.
About Ronan Brett:
Ronan Brett is the head of Pharmacy Services Europe for Celesio AG, the leading European healthcare company with revenues of €21.5bn (2006), 35,000 employees and representation in 16 European countries. Having qualified as a pharmacist in 1993, Ronan practised as a pharmacist in the UK before moving back to Ireland in 1998 where he developed a keen interest in pharmacy politics, subsequently becoming Chairman of the Employee Pharmacists group of Ireland. In 2004 Ronan was elected to the Council of Pharmaceutical Society of Ireland, sitting on a range of sub-groups and committees relating to strategic development, regulatory change and professional issues.
QicScript achieves full EPS rollout approval
“The days of attempting to read illegibly written prescriptions are well and truly gone!”
January 31st, 2007 – Following on from its high-profile acquisition of Medicom Medical Computer Solutions earlier this month, Systems Solutions Limited is proud to announce that QicScript®, its flagship Patient Medication Record (PMR) system, has passed Release 1 compliance of the Electronic Prescription Service (EPS).
QicScript was formally awarded the Clinical Authority to Rollout certificate this week under the auspices of the NHS Connecting for Health programme, having successfully completed compliance testing for the Electronic Prescription Service (EPS), It had originally achieved Technical Authority to Deploy in September 2005. Through this advanced functionality within QicScript, pharmacists will be able to retrieve and dispense prescriptions which have been transmitted electronically from GP surgeries to the national data spine.
Howard Beggs, Systems Solutions’ newly-appointed CEO says, “We are thrilled to achieve EPS accreditation. In recent times, with the introduction of the new pharmacy contract and the NHS Connecting for Health programme, pharmacy’s profile and clinical role in the healthcare community has been raised significantly. But this has also created huge time pressures on already busy pharmacists. Now with EPS-accreditation, QicScript customers will be able to save valuable pharmacist time by eliminating the duplicative effort involved in keying-in prescription information and the days of attempting to read illegibly written prescriptions are well and truly gone!”
EPS forms only one part of the overall Systems Solutions targeted strategy to reduce current paper-based pharmacy workload. Over the last few months, Systems Solutions has remained at the forefront of developing and introducing cutting-edge technologies that seek to help their customers run their businesses more effectively and serve their patients in a safer, better and quicker way.
“Essentially, we operate on the premise that anything that can be automated should and will be automated”, explains Howard Beggs. “This achieves two things. Firstly, it frees up pharmacy time. In fact, together with QicScript’s recently introduced scanning-at-the-point-of-dispensing technology, our newly EPS-accredited QicScript product can now allow pharmacists to dispense within two simple keystrokes!"
“Secondly, patient safety remains at the very core of our organisation. By creating more time for the pharmacist to converse with and counsel patients on their medication-taking regimes, patients’ compliance with their medication and treatment should increase, whilst automation achieved through the electronic prescription service, linking GPs and pharmacists together, should automatically reduce the potential of medication errors occurring”.
In addition to the scanning-at-the-point-of-dispensing technology mentioned above, Systems Solutions has also recently introduced an SMS text/email messaging module, enabling pharmacists to remind patients to take or collect their medication and/or drop in to have their Medicines Use Review (MUR); a patient diagnostics module, allowing pharmacists to enhance their service offering through the provision of a complete health check recording functionality; and video conferencing capability, enabling patients with communication difficulties to be connected via video link to pharmacists with the skills and knowledge to communicate effectively with them.
In early January 2007, Systems Solutions bought Medicom, the leading ICT supplier for the primary care market in Ireland, with a view to introducing EPS-type technology and processes in the Irish primary healthcare sector.
“It’s been a busy start to the New Year already and now that we are EPS-complaint, we can move forward and gain momentum on the EPS 2 accreditation”, concludes Beggs.
Systems Solutions and Medicom Merge
Systems Solutions and Medicom merge to create largest Irish ICT healthcare company
January 8th, 2007 - Systems Solutions and Medicom Medical Computer Solutions Ltd. today announced that they have signed a definitive merger agreement, under which Systems Solutions will acquire the majority stake in Medicom. This deal creates the largest indigenous provider of health informatics in Ireland, employing over 100 people and generating combined annual revenues of €10 million.
Systems Solutions supplies software offerings to the pharmacy sector in Ireland and the UK, while Medicom provides software and ICT services to primary and secondary care professionals. Both companies have a strong track record of success and will bring their expertise together for the benefits of both sets of customers.
The newly-formed company aims to provide support both to and between the primary care, secondary care and pharmacy sectors in a fully integrated manner in the months and years ahead. The merging of these two entities will allow for increased synergies between pharmacies and primary care professionals which will bring time and cost benefits in addition to benefits for patients.
Mr. Howard Beggs, new CEO of the combined corporation, said, “This merger brings many benefits to our customers, employees and stakeholders. Together, we envisage the creation of an integrated, joined-up primary healthcare service, which will electronically connect all primary healthcare providers together, improving quality and accessibility of healthcare services for both primary healthcare providers and patients alike. This provides an opportunity for two successful, market-leading organisations to combine resources, skills and intelligence to change and enhance the healthcare structures that are currently in place, while allowing customers to continue to use their existing software from both companies”.
Commenting on the announcement, Patricia Mc Lister, Enterprise Ireland’s Scaling Division said: “Enterprise Ireland’s Scaling Division is working with Systems Solutions to achieve their scaling strategy. This merger between Systems Solutions and Medicom is a significant step in the company’s plan to realise scale, which Enterprise Ireland defines as annual sales in excess of €20 million.”
The newly created company will invest €750,000 each year in R&D, securing the company’s place at the forefront of innovative healthcare informatics, developing solutions that will set new standards on an international stage.
David Raethorne, former technical director of Systems Solutions and newly appointed Chief Technical Officer adds, “Both Systems Solutions and Medicom share a passion for developing and delivering the very best in healthcare IT solutions to alleviate the current healthcare challenges and improve the healthcare experiences for providers and patients alike. We plan to develop and deliver next generation, cutting-edge technology that will make the Irish primary healthcare sector an international model of excellence”.
With a combined customer base of over 10,000 users of its healthcare software offerings, the newly-merged company will meet a wider range of customer needs through an enlarged customer services function, combined with a significantly enhanced programming and development function. Initially, the new organisation will enjoy 65% and 12% market share of the Irish and UK pharmacy markets respectively, almost 60% of the Irish general practice (GP) management market, 60% of the computerised private consultant market, with significant market exposure in the specialised healthcare services market.
As a combined entity, the company will provide software to professionals in the primary care sector (general practice and retail pharmacy), the PCCC sector (managed care and some specialities) and the secondary care sector (hospital pharmacy and health assessments).
About Systems Solutions:
Systems Solutions has been developing and marketing software products and services for pharmacy since 1987, and is the largest provider of retail and hospital pharmacy solutions in the Republic of Ireland. Independently owned, Systems Solutions has built a solid reputation for its thought leadership and ability to deliver cutting-edge solutions for pharmacy which solve complex business issues. The organisation pioneered Electronic Claims Transmission software, integrated medicines management support and real-time centralised (shared) Patient Medication Records. The company is renowned for its software development expertise, matched with its constant focus on quality and innovation. In 2006, the company was one of only seven Irish software companies to achieve a ranking in the Deloitte Fast 500, recognising the fastest growing companies in Europe, Middle East and Africa (EMEA).
Medicom Medical Computer Solutions Ltd. is Ireland’s leading provider of software, services and information technologies for healthcare professionals. Established in the mid-1990s, Medicom has spent the last decade working with healthcare professionals, administrators, government and other stakeholders to develop software systems that enhance the delivery of patient care. The company prides itself on developing highly functional, feature-rich and user-friendly product suites that deliver tangible benefits to all stakeholders in the delivery of patient care.