“What’d I miss?” – Week of February 14th

As usual there were a lot of things that happened during the week, and not all of it was pharmacy or technology related. Here’s a quick look at some of the stuff I found interesting.

Valentine’s Day was #1 at the box office last weekend. That seems appropriate somehow, considering that Valentine’s Day was Sunday. Oh by the way, Avatar is now the #1 grossing movies of all time in the United States. Cool!

San Francisco Business Times: “[Keenan & Associates] employees can call board-certified doctors at Dallas-based TelaDoc’s national network at all hours — weekends, evenings, holidays — and get recommendations and short-term prescriptions for some kinds of ailments. Henry Loubet, Keenan’s Oakland-based senior vice president of strategic planning, says the service should reduce the volume of unnecessary doctor and ER visits, especially in Northern California, which has far fewer urgent care centers than Los Angeles and Southern California.” – Telemedicine is growing. With advances in technology and the ever increasing demands placed on physicians time it’s inevitable that telemedicine will become the norm rather than the exception.

RxInformatics.com: “Here is a fantastic pharmacist practice model for the future that is here and now at UMass Memorial Medical Center. I have the honor and privilege of knowing these folks. Their impact goes way beyond ventilator management. Nice job!” – John is speaking about an article that appears in The Annals of Pharmacotherapy. The article reports on the impact of a tele-ICU pharmacist on the management of sedation in critically ill patients on vents. Good stuff if you’re a pharmacist. How long do you think it will be before all acute care pharmacies offer video as an option for nursing-pharmacist communication? I’m betting it won’t be long. For more information on telemedicine visit the American Telemedicine Association (ATA).

AJHP News : “Shearer said CoachRx evolved from Cigna’s “gaps in care” medication adherence programs. Data from the insurer indicate measureable improvements in patient care, including an 11-percentage-point increase in adherence to dyslipidemia therapy that prevents 262 heart attacks each year, saving an estimated $6.6 million in annual medical costs.” – CoachRx is a web based tool that gives individuals with chronic medical conditions access to a clinical pharmacist. The benefits of using a pharmacist to help patients continue to add up. I’m just sayin’.

[Just a quick thought about the term ‘clinical pharmacist’. I’ve never been a fan of the term because I believe it infers that pharmacists that don’t carry the title are less than clinical. Nothing could be further from the truth. Every pharmacist that is actively practicing performs “clinical” functions each and every time they look at a patients medication information, medication history, allergy information, etc.]

Medscape Today : “British scientists have found a cheap and simple way of keeping vaccines stable, even at tropical temperatures, which they say could transform immunization campaigns in the developing world. The team’s method uses a patented system from Nova called HydRIS and involves mixing the vaccine with the sugars trehalose and sucrose and leaving it to dry out on a filter or membrane.” – Who said sugar was bad for you?

Google Buzz appeared on my GMail page even though I didn’t ask for it. Now what the heck am I supposed to do with it? For those of you that don’t care to give Buzz a try, you can always opt out.

iMedical Apps has a nice list of “Top 10 Free iPhone Medical Apps for Health care Professionals.” It’s a great list and the price is right.

The Wall Street Journal has an interesting article on the status of iPad rivals from Microsoft , Dell and HP. I hope these devices hit the market soon, real soon.

– Check out the demo of the new Wired tablet running Adobe AIR; impressive. I have to ask myself why all these publishers and vendors have waited so long to get their tablets on the market. The appearance of the iPad before their device could mean it’s over before it starts. I think it will be hard to develop market share after the fact.

jkOnTheRun: “Sketching the molecular composition of a compound is easy enough on a display, but getting the computer to recognize and identify the sketch is the challenge. MIT’s software does just that however, and once the sketch is identified, accessing related data is simple. How does the recognition work? The solution combines what was drawn along with how it was drawn — it’s not difficult to determine if a stroke was made from left to right or up to down, for example. Those two data sets further break down into individual elements of the sketch and all of the information is compared to a database for recognition.” – This has the potential to be incredibly useful. Take a look at the video below and be prepared to be amazed.

Original article at MITnews.

RxDoc.org: “[from PointOfCareForum]“Lesson Four: Workarounds are not an argument against bar coding at points of care any more than an erring priest is an argument against bar coding at points of sale.”
[John Poikonen] – Huh? Of course it is. If there is a high rate of overrides, which studies have shown, there is something seriously wrong with the process.” – I had an opportunity to spend some time with John Poikonen at the ASHP Midyear in Vegas. He has a brilliant mind and truck loads of experience to go with it. Too bad I don’t have a year to spend following him around; I could learn something. It’s no secret that he is also very outspoken about the lack of literature based evidence to support BCMA. He doesn’t think it should be abandoned; he just wants someone to prove the value of BCMA before the healthcare industry crowns it king of patient safety. Anyway, John makes some interesting points in his post, but this is one that I don’t necessarily agree with (sorry, John). I agree with Neuenschwader’s comment that “workarounds are not an argument against bar coding at points of care”. Let’s face it, as long as there are humans involved in any process there will be workarounds.

– Check out the new line of Wacom Pen Displays. I love Wacom tablets.

– EHR Bloggers has a nice piece on clinical decision support (CDS). According to the post “in fact [meaningful use] specifically requests that a “meaningful user” implement 5 “clinical decision support rules (in addition to drug-drug and drug-allergy contraindication checking) according to specialty or clinical priorities that use demographic data, specific patient diagnoses, conditions, diagnostic test results and/or patient medication list.” – I’m a big fan of CDS technology and think the healthcare industry should devote significantly more resources to its development. The subject of the 5 clinical decision support rules is discussed beginning at 38 minutes 50 seconds in this podcast at RxInformatics.com.

KevinMD:” So, there you are. Cell-phones, blessing and curse. But one thing is certain; no matter how much they may make physicians and nurses crazy, they aren’t going away. So we’ll all have to adapt.” – That about sums up what KevinMD has to say throughout the post; it’s both sad and funny at the same time. I find my smartphone to be an incredibly valuable tool.

– I don’t usually put items from my personal life on this blog page, but I’m going to make an exception today. Last weekend both my daughters competed in the USA All-star Cheer Nationals in Aneheim, CA. My youngest daughters team took first, which is terribly exciting and quite an accomplishment. She was absolutely beside herself. My oldest daughter’s team took second. This is still quite an accomplishment, but try telling that to a competitive athlete like my daughter. Most impressive was what my oldest girl managed to do over the weekend. She landed funny on her first tumbling pass of the weekend and twisted her knee and back. She managed to finish the routine before limping off the floor. Lots of ice and several ibuprofen later she managed to pick herself up and perform a second time the next days in the finals; all her decision. I am proud of both girls not only for their accomplishment, but for all the hard work and determination they put into the season up to this point. Congratulations girls!

Have a great weekend everyone.

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