“What’d I miss?” – Week of March 21, 2010

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.

Alice In Wonderland was #1 at the box office again last weekend. I’m not really surprised, although I am surprised that Green Zone is doing so poorly. My wife and I went to see it and we both thought it was pretty good.

9 to 5 Mac is reporting that iPad orders are approaching the half-million unit mark. I find that utterly amazing.

Engadget is reporting that “Fusion Garage has announced today that its long-awaited tablet PC [the JooJoo] has started to ship from the factory. For those who pre-ordered (and stuck with it), they’ll get theirs as early as March 29th.” I thought for sure the JooJoo would never see the light of day, but I’m glad I was wrong.

– The onslaught of new slate tablets continues as Neofonie announced the creation of the 11.6-inche Android WePad. Are they serious with that name? That’s almost as bad as “iPad”; can’t wait for the jokes. Anyway, the WePad is described as having an 11.6-inch (1366 x 768) display, a 1.66GHz Intel Atom N450 processor, a webcam, two USB ports, flash card reader and six hours of battery life. I’m really quite excited to see some of the new Android based tablets hit the streets. We need some reviews.

Here’s one of the most creative uses for the periodic table I’ve ever seen. David Bradley at Sciencebase has created a “Periodic Table of Science Bloggers”. Based on the element you click on you will be taken to someones online blog, twitter page, etc that begins with the abbreviation letter for the element rather than receiving information about the element itself. It’s really neat.

– There’s a very interesting article at Caseblog that talks about the benefits social media might provide a physician.  In the blog the author states that “I don’t think that a physician not using social media is at risk of becoming irrelevant (something mentioned recently). This is a limiting view.” True, but a physician that refuses to use social media is a physician that refuses to use a valuable tool that is readily accessible to millions of people.

– Earlier this week I tweeted that I had my first glitch with the new Windows 7 install on my Dell Latitude XT2 tablet. The screen rotation button on the outside edge of the screen stopped working. That was a problem because I rotate the screen all the time depending on what I’m doing. The issue turned out to be the ControlPoint software from Dell. I found the updated software, downloaded it, installed it and was up and running in a few minutes. No more rotation issue.

– Did you know that BlackBerry has a Healthcare Solutions website? Me neither. Here’s a video that I found on the Healthcare Solutions on BlackBerry site that talks about the use of the WIC Pager system from Wallace Wireless. It reminds me of a mini, less useful version of a Clinical Decision Support (CDS) system.

KevinMD: “Is Google Android or the iPhone the future of mobile smartphones? – So rather than reciting the story of Microsoft vs Apple with new characters, I suggest that we look beyond that simple analogy and consider it may not be Apple or Google in the mobile world, but rather it will be both.” – I’ll buy that for a while, but eventually someone always comes out on top; just ask Microsoft and Palm about that. It’s inevitable that Apple will slow in its quest to take over the world because nothing in the business or technology world lasts forever. One thing is for certain, the development of Android based devices sure will make things interesting.

– The Institute for Safe Medication Practices (ISMP) recently released it’s Order Set Guidelines to help organizations design safe and effective paper-based or electronic order sets. Some of the recommendations include:

  • Schedule at least a biannual review of the order set to ensure that no more than two years have lapsed since last approval; some order sets may require more frequent evaluation and re-approval;
  • Remove older version of the order set from use or access; provide or make accessible the newer version to all affected areas (ideally online); and
  • Implement plan to communicate significant changes in the order set to all who will/could be using it regularly.
  • Use tall man lettering when appropriate
  • Don’t use error-prone abbreviations

The most beneficial recommendation, however is to exclude “single practitioner specific or single group-specific order set.” Many hospitals do this, including mine, and it is a bad practice. The complete order set guidelines can be found here (PDF).

– “Can Your Organization Afford a $49,246 Laptop?” This is the title for a complimentary webinar offered by Intel. According to the webinar site “Over 12,000 laptops are stolen every week from airports alone. In 2009, the average cost of a missing laptop was $49,246.” You should never, ever store information on a laptop that will be used outside your healthcare facility. Actually, you shouldn’t store patient information on a laptop at all.  The cloud environment looks better and better every day.

Barcode.com: “[Nano RFID printable] tags would be inexpensive and easily printed as invisible, passive transmitters. By embedding tags in products, a customer would simply walk past a scanner with their entire cart while every item was rung up, totaled and charged to their account in an instant.” – Useful in pharmacy? Perhaps.

EMR and HIPAA: “The basic idea would be that some vendor would create a platform where other vendors could build on top of their platform.” Hmm, reusable components built on a solid foundation to deliver a standardized platform for healthcare. Good idea. Where have I heard that before?

HealthDataManagement: “The Drug Enforcement Administration in the Department of Justice has published a long-delayed interim final rule, with a comment period, to permit electronic prescriptions for controlled substances.” – This should be interesting.

– Be sure to get over to the ASHP PPMI website and take their poll on which technology will have the greatest impact on pharmacy practice.

– You can read the joint pharmacy group letter from The Academy of Managed Care Pharmacy, American Pharmacists Association, American Society of Health-System Pharmacists, American Society of Consultant Pharmacists, and the National Community Pharmacists Association to Acting Administrator Frizzera and Dr. Blumenthal commenting on Meaningful Use here. Very interesting reading.

– There’s an article at BNet that talks about how technology may be responsible for the drastic increase in healthcare expenditure. “Many experts attribute about half of the increase in health spending to the use of new medical technologies. Since those technologies are most often employed in hospitals, they must be a major driver of hospital cost growth.” I don’t buy it. I think it’s a very short sided view looking at only the face of the issue. Consider the healthcare dollars saved by preventing adverse drug events, or the dollars saved by making technology more efficient, or the ability to save dollars by outsource IT labor and resources, or the savings associated with “cloud” services, or the technology that cuts transcription costs, or the technology that cuts the use of consumables like paper, ink and other resources, etc. It’s kind of like insurance companies saying they won’t pay for “the pill” because they’re expensive and “elective”; yeah, until someone gets pregnant. What’s the cost of delivering a child or, heaven forbid, the cost of caring for a VLBW neonate that has a lifetime of medical issues when compared to the cost of some oral contraception. Sheez!

– Rudd, Kelly M, and John Dier. “Comparison of Two Different Models of Anticoagulation Management Services with Usual Medical Care.” Pharmacotherapy 30 (2010): 330-338. The article looks at 3 groups of patients receiving warfarin therapy; pharmacist-managed group, nurse-managed group and a “usual care” group. The pharmacist-managed group had the lowest rate of hospitalization and ER visits. The decreased hospitalization and ER visits resulted in a financial impact of more than $140,000 and just over $10,000 averted, respectively. Good stuff. Oh by the way, technology can help get pharmacists out of the physical pharmacy and out on the floors with patients where they can perform more clinical activities like this. Ahem, that could save a lot of money BNet.

– Wright, David B, and Thomas Ricketts. “The Road to Efficiency? Re-Examining the Impact of the Primary Care Physician Workforce on Health Care Utilization Rates.” Social Science & Medicine (2010): 24 Mar. 2010 . “From our findings we are able to conclude that there is some evidence that a higher concentration of primary care physicians is associated with a decrease in health care utilization, but these findings depend on the level of aggregation.” – Makes sense to me.

– And to leave you with a little humor, I give you the Doritos Tablet. Have a great weekend everyone.

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