Pharmacy applications and systems are some of the oldest technologies in the Veterans Health Information Systems and Technology Architecture (VistA) system. The Veterans Health Administration (VHA) has identified system limitations and cumbersome, inconsistent pharmacy processes as a weakness in its ability to provide efficient pharmaceutical services across the VHA continuum. The United States Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) approved the Pharmacy Reengineering (PRE) project to address several fundamental problems with the current system. The objective of the overall PRE project was to facilitate the improvement of pharmacy operations, customer service, and patient safety for the VHA.
PPS is intended to improve the VA’s current formulary processes. The current VA National Formulary consists of items (such as medications and supplies) that have been determined by VA organizations to be included in the formulary. There is a process in place that governs the status change of all items with regard to the VA National Formulary. Upon approval, the item status is changed in the VA National Formulary, and updates are issued to the local drug files via software patches.
PPS is envisioned as two distinct processes. The first process covers PPS at the national level (called PPS-N). The PPS-N environment provides for the ability to manage pharmacy-specific data across the enterprise, ensuring that all facilities are using the same base data for their operations. The second process encompasses PPS processes at the local level (called PPS-L). The PPS-L environment provides services that enact business logic for the daily operations of pharmacy users at the VA’s medical centers and clinics.
The principle focus of the PPS-N v3.0 increment will be to make the following enhancements to PPS-N:
• Eliminate the National Drug File Management System (NDFMS) and VistA patch process.
• Add support for investigational, compound, and partial drugs to the Pharmacy Product System/Enterprise Product List (PPS/EPL).
• Add additional fields to facilitate improved remote order and hazardous waste checks.
• Complete near real-time update process and to correct anomalies, defects, and user interface issues that currently exist in the PPS-N system. Non-VA systems will be able to obtain near real-time updates by accessing Freedom of Information Act (FOIA).
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