PharmaSmart International, Inc. Announces New Advancements in Diagnostic and Health IT Platforms

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PharmaSmart International, Inc., an award winning Inc. 5000 company, announces the launch of a breakthrough blood pressure cuff and an advanced health IT platform. The company states that the technology advancements improve clinical validity of pharmacy-based hypertension programs, improve patient counseling, education, and rates of adherence, and offer unprecedented program validation through metrics reporting. The company reports on a multi-pronged approach to grow patient participation in clinical programs, and elevate the role of the pharmacist in clinical disease state management.

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PharmaSmart now combines a clinically validated diagnostic tool with an easy to use health IT platform to offer pharmacists meaningful tools for better patient care. This represents a new era of clinical pharmacy services.

PharmaSmart International, an innovative clinical pharmacy services company, today announced new advances in its blood pressure diagnostic and Health IT platforms.

“Several years ago we identified two (2) primary R&D objectives,” said Fred W. Sarkis II, company CEO. “First, we set out to further advance our patented blood pressure cuff technology to address the increasing obesity epidemic in the United States. Secondly, we committed to develop an advanced health IT platform that is easy to use, easy to implement, and offers definitive program validation. In 2010 we achieved these objectives”.    

PharmaSmart’s latest kiosk offers Internet connectivity, patient data tracking, and patient health record integration. Ashton Maaraba, PharmaSmart GM & Sr. Vice President explains, “PharmaSmart now combines a clinically validated diagnostic tool with an easy to use health IT platform to offer pharmacists meaningful tools for better patient care. This represents a new era of clinical pharmacy services.”

Adds Maaraba, “We have added sophisticated patient management without complicating ease of use. We have advanced our health IT platform without confusing our patients or pharmacists. Enrolled patients simply insert their blood pressure management Smart Card into the kiosk and press ‘start.’ The patient consult is just as easy. With one click of a mouse, the pharmacist can initiate a meaningful consultation with a patient about their integrated diagnostic results.”

The recently launched PharmaSmart connectivity network has collected and stored 4 million patient readings, including blood pressure, and the new additions of BMI and blood glucose. Retail pharmacies offering the program have enrolled tens of thousands of patients into PharmaSmart’s integrated patient management platform.    Enrolled patients have access to a retail-branded personal health record that stores and organizes their diagnostic readings. Once enrolled, the pharmacist uses the integrated Personal Health Record (PHR) functionality to provide informed therapeutic counseling and interventions as required. PharmaSmart kiosks and web services are 100% confidential and HIPAA compliant.

Maaraba stated, “In addition to our suite of pharmacist and patient tools, our IT platform enables robust program reporting. For example, in 2010 our client networks captured nearly 1.5 million blood pressure readings that were hypertensive. This is a huge, untapped opportunity for pharmacist intervention. We can also track daily program enrollment and patient participation at each store. We offer our retail clients live, store-by-store monitoring to validate program execution. We are able to grow patient participation consistently over time, and our monitoring capability means we can validate it. We have raised the bar in terms of establishing program strategy and validating overall patient engagement for each of our retail partners.”

PharmaSmart takes what Maaraba calls a “grass roots” approach to building patient engagement in clinical services. Maaraba states, “We are offering blood pressure care workshops at retailers such as Mariano’s, Roundy’s, Le Groupe Jean Coutu, Astrup Drugs, Smart Med Rx and others. Workshops are also held routinely in employee worksites. These initiatives elevate patient awareness, improve prescription adherence, drive program enrollment, and sustain patient engagement. They also reinforce to the participating pharmacy staff how simple and rewarding it can be to engage patients and improve their disease state therapy. This approach is game changing.”

On the diagnostic side, PharmaSmart announced the release of a breakthrough cuff design. “Most people think all blood pressure cuffs are created equal,” Sarkis laughs, “this could not be further from the truth.” Traditional blood pressure cuffs come in multiple sizes: small, medium, and large. For accurate readings the proper cuff size must be selected for each patient. In practice, studies show, this is rarely done and blood pressure accuracy suffers. PharmaSmart’s patented, clinically validated cuff allows accurate measurement of arm sizes from small through large.    PharmaSmart’s latest cuff is accurate and effective for 97% of the United States adult population, including millions of large patients who are unable to use existing kiosks.

Sarkis explained, “In 2005 a Mayo Clinic researcher published a critique of pharmacy blood pressure kiosks, pointing out that the cuffs are too small. Most kiosks found in pharmacies were designed in the 1980’s for average adult arm sizes before the obesity trend of the last 25 years. According to published research, the leading pharmacy blood pressure kiosk accommodates only 63% of American adults and only 50% of hypertensive patients. Patients have grown dramatically in size, but the technology has not grown with them. We are proud that our blood pressure kiosk can now accommodate 97% of American adults.”

Sarkis added, “We have made significant long term investments in solving the cuff problem. Our new cuff resolves the issue, and positions PharmaSmart as a medical grade, clinical tool for out-of-office blood pressure measurement. Our patented work on cuff technology has been essential in gaining the support of leading experts, physicians, and pharmacists.”

Dr. Denis Drouin, a leading expert on effective blood pressure management states, “The new PharmaSmart cuff and Health IT portal are two key innovations that will help pharmacists ensure reliability of blood pressure measurement, and improve blood pressure screening, detection, and follow up for antihypertensives.”

Fred Sarkis concludes, “At PharmaSmart our objective is to help elevate the role of the pharmacist as a proactive health care provider, and as an educator offering meaningful critical disease state management services. Our advances in diagnostic equipment and health IT, software integration partnerships, clinical education – all of these initiatives – they are all designed to support the pharmacist as a cost effective, front-line asset in advanced disease state management.”

“At the end of the day, the tools we develop help pharmacists to save lives. That’s a good reason to get out of bed in the morning!”

PharmaSmart, headquartered in Rochester, NY, USA, currently serves more than 6000 locations, including retail pharmacies such as, Wal-Mart Canada, Safeway Canada, Coborn’s, Loblaw’s, Roundy’s, Smart Med Rx, Leader, Good Neighbor, Le Groupe Jean Coutu, Shoppers Drug Mart, Rexall/Katz Group, HBC/Zellers/Target Corporation, Sobey’s Lawton’s, Astrup Drug, Canadian Tire, GE, Chrysler and other fine pharmacies & Worsites. PharmaSmart also serves major worksites, military bases, hospitals and medical clinics. For more information visit the company's website at or contact Corporate Communications: Mary Ann Rutkowski at (800) 781-0323.


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