Saturday morning coffee [April 20 2013]

MUG_IndianapolisSo much happens each and every week that it’s hard to keep up sometimes. Here are some of the tabs that are open in my browser this morning along with some random thoughts….

The coffee mug to the right comes straight from Indianapolis. I was there for work as part of a multi-city five hospital rampage through that section of the country. It was pretty nice for the most part, but trying to get home turned out to be a bit of a nightmare. Indianapolis was hit by severe thunderstorms the day I was supposed to leave – high winds, lightning, hail, and so on – which caused all sorts of chaos and delays at the airport. The delays made me miss my connection in Denver, which just happened to be the last flight out to Fresno on the night in question. I got lucky as the last flight to Los Angeles from Denver had been delayed by an hour so I grabbed an available seat and headed for the city of Angels. I landed at LAX about 1:00AM Friday morning, rented a car, got a hotel room, stole a few hours of sleep and finally drove the short four hours home. Total travel time from Indianapolis airport to my front door: approximately 20 hours. Not how I planned it. When I talk to the sales guys they tell me this is “no big deal”. If you were to talk to me I’d tell you it sucks.

– ‘42’ was #1 at the box office last weekend. I had no idea what ‘42’ was until I looked it up. Turns out that it’s story of Jackie Robinson, which makes it a movie about baseball. So in other words I have no interest in seeing it. Oblivion hits theaters this weekend, and that’s where I’ll be putting my money. Is it weird that I don’t like Tom Cruise, but I want to see Oblivion? Yeah, I think that’s weird.

– The most viewed post at over the past 7 days is once again Why pharmacy continues to fail. However, Don’t confuse retail pharmacy with pharmacy practice came in a close second. They were separated by a mere 20 views for the entire week. I expected more of a backlash from the “Don’t confuse retail pharmacy” post. It didn’t happen. I had one negative comment on my site and a single Tweet telling me it was “offensive”. Other than that I got nada. What does that say about the situation when you attack it and no one cares? Exactly.

– As I mentioned in a previous post, I found myself in Forestville, CA last weekend for a volleyball tournament. How the powers to be decided to hold a Northern California Power League Volleyball tournament there is beyond me. It’s a small, but beautiful little town in Northern California. I was in need of coffee early Saturday morning, which led me on a small excursion. It’s harder to find coffee in a small town than one might think. Anyway, I came across a little community pharmacy while I was out. You just don’t see these very often anymore. This is literally what a corner drugstore was 30 years ago.


– Two bombs went off at the Boston Marathon finish line on Monday killing 3 people and injuring more than 180. The FBI identified two suspects, Dzhokhar and Tamerlan Tsarnaev. One of the suspects was killed in a shootout with police yesterday morning, while the second was finally captured about 8:45PM EST last night. Why they did it remains a mystery. Below is one of the better videos of the actual explosion at the marathon finish line that I’ve seen. Sad. You can find information about the entire ordeal all over the net. This one at NBC News is as good as any if you’re interested in knowing more.

– This has been a bad week for explosions. A fertilizer plant just outside Waco, Texas Wednesday night exploded night killing 13 and injuring 200. The explosion was caught on camera. Wow! Later reports have confirmed that the guy and his little girl are fine following the harrowing experience.

MobiHealthNews: “Pillboxes have always been the go-to technology to improve adherence, whether it’s a simple Monday-through-Friday organizer or a locked pillbox with a daily alarm. But mobile technology has added another component to the smart pillbox: connectivity. Now your pillbox doesn’t just remind you to take your pills; it can track whether you did take them and report that information back to a doctor or caregiver. “ – The article lists 8 different “pillboxes” that offer some form of connectivity. I have to wonder if these devices really impact medication adherence or not. I think they’re more valuable to the healthcare provider for information than they are the patient.

5 Steps to Maximize Attending Digital Health Hackathons from HIT Consultant: “Hack-a-thons have been a bit of a big deal for a while in the tech community and especially when it comes to mobile. Whether it’s creating apps, leveraging new ways of looking at data or building on an existing API they epitomize a concentrated burst of innovative activity. And now? They’re happening in healthcare.” – The 5 steps include research the event first, having an open-mind, network, share, and follow-up. We need these for pharmacy.

– There’s always room for another medication adherence app, right? Right. Take a look at PillJogger. It adds a bit of gamification to the whole med adherence thing.

– It’s not often that I see an article these days that talks about Vancomycin levels. Pharmacy Practice News has an article in their April 2013 issue titled Pharmacy IT Strategies Can Prevent Errors and Help Streamline Operations. I know what you’re thinking, how’s vancomycin fit in with a title like that? That’s exactly what I thought. Turns out that Northeast Georgia Medical Center created a process by which nurses had to enter the most recent vancomycin level into their EHR prior to administering vancomycin. If the trough level was too high as defined by hospital policy, then the EHR alerted the nurse. Simple, yet effective. Although I have to say as a pharmacist I’ve had reason to push vancomycin levels quite high. Then again, they used to pay me to make decisions like that.

– Sometimes Yanko Design has something that really catches my attention. This happens to be something called Scoop ‘n Weigh. It’s a scoop with an integrated scale. Use for pharmacy? You bet ‘cha. With that said the FDA would probably classify it as a medical device, which would lead to several years and millions of dollars spent before it could be used. Just sayin’ people. Just sayin’.


– The NFL draft begins April 25, 2013 at Radio City Music Hall in New York. That can only mean one thing: the NFL season is fast approaching. Thank goodness. I turned on the radio the other day and where my sports talk show was supposed to be, there was a baseball game. Ugh, does anyone actually listen to baseball on the radio? Better question, does anyone even watch baseball anymore? Such a dreadful, irrelevant professional sport. I enjoyed playing it as a kid, and even into high school, but seriously, watching it is mentally painful.

– Sometimes it’s the small things that are cool. There’s an app called RoundR for android that gives screens the look and feel of WebOS cards by rounding the corners of the screens. Seriously, that’s all it does. Looks cool though.


– For all you people out there that are using a tablet PC, PDF Annotator is a must-have application. I use it all the time and think it rocks. As the name implies, PDF Annotator allows you to add notes to any PDF by drawing/writing directly on the original PDF. I use it to comment on articles, sign documents for work, highlight items, etc. It’s a bargain at $69.95. If that’s not cheap enough for you just wait for it to go on sale. Every once in a while the price will get cut.

– I’ve been using a Samsung ATIC Smart PC 500T for several weeks now, and I’ve been very happy with it. One problem that I’ve found however is that the power charging port doesn’t make a good connection with the charger, which has led to some issues for me. I don’t know if the port is loose or not, but I find that I can’t simply plug the charger in and walk away. I have to fiddle with it to make sure the tablet is actually charging. The port and charger themselves are quite flimsy. They’re exactly the same as the ones on my Samusung Chromebook, which hasn’t been an issue. What I’d love to see is the magnetic charging port like those on Apples Macbook Pro series laptops as well as on Microsoft Surface tablets. I’m going to drop in at the Microsoft store in Bellevue, WA this week while I’m in the Seattle area to see if they can shed some light on the issue. Wish me luck. The thing worth mentioning is that without a keyboard the Samsung ATIV table can’t be a laptop replacement for me. I think if I go ahead and add the laptop dock I may be able to cut my travel gadgetry in half. I’ll let you know how it goes.


– Google Glass continues to gain interest among healthcare providers. A community within Google+ called Healthcare Glass Explorers has sprung up. Not a lot of activity as of yet, but I expect more now that Google Glass is out in the wild. Exciting stuff in my opinion. Lots of application to healthcare; even pharmacy. One person’s take on the potential for Google Glass in healthcare can be found here if you’re interested.

– I told myself that I would never do another presentation a couple of years ago. I’m not a natural public speaker and find that I have to put in way too many hours to create an interesting talk that doesn’t sound forced. Didn’t learn my lesson. I’ll be speaking at the the HIMSS Southern California Annual Clinical Analytics Summit in Orange County, CA on Friday, May 3. Stop by if you’re in the area and we’ll grab a cup ‘o joe. The title of my presentation is Pharmacy: Past, Present, and Future – The evolution of practice in the age of information. Would that be considered ironic? I’ll post the slides following the conference.

That’s it folks. I’m going to grab another cup of coffee and just chill for a while. Have a great weekend everyone.

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