Saturday morning coffee [May 11 2013]

MUG_Talyst3So 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 is from the company I work for. Strange little story to go along with how I ended up working there, but that’s probably better saved for another time. I ended up with a mug from the company long before I came on board. It was part of a swag bag at one of the past user group meetings that I attended as a customer. I believe it was my first ASHP Summer meeting way back in June of 2009; can’t be sure though.

Iron Man 3 was #1 at the box office last weekend raking in a cool $174 million. No surprise there as Iron Man 3 was expected to be a blockbuster. I wasn’t able to see it over the weekend, but did manage to catch it Monday night. Was it good? Absolutely, it was a very good move. However, I was a bit disappointed. There was a lot going on in the movie, and some of it felt “off”. I’d still see it again. It’s a bummer that this is likely the end of the Iron Man franchise. Oh, just in case you were wondering Pain and Gain was a close second with $7.5 million in weekend gross; a mere 23 fold difference.

– The most viewed post at over the past 7 days is once again Why pharmacy continues to fail.

– I was in Phoenix this week for work. Not a bad trip overall, but the flight home wasn’t the greatest. The flight attendant was flat out rude. I expect as much from U.S. Airways. They’re bottom feeders along with American. Anyway, there was a sweet little old lady sitting next to me. I’m terrible with ages, but she had to be north of 70. She tried to hand the flight attendant her trash as the attendant was passing through the cabin and the attendant told her to “hang on, I only have two hands”. And with the tone in her voice it was clear she was irritated. It was completely uncalled for and unprofessional. U.S. Airways is my “you-suck-as-an-airline-company” award winner for the week ending May 11, 2013. Congrats.

– Everyone should have a $15K Alpha Dominche Steampunk. It’s made for use in coffee shops, but I’m sure it would look mighty fine sitting on my kitchen counter.

InformationWeek Healthcare:“The College of Health Information Management Executives (CHIME) has proposed a one-year extension of Meaningful Use stage 2 to “maximize the opportunity of program success.” The recommendation was part of a letter that CHIME sent to six U.S. senators who asked for feedback on their recent report that criticized the direction of the Meaningful Use program.” Dude, the criteria for MU should have been hammered out a long time ago. As long as you continue to extend the deadline healthcare systems will continue to drag their feet. If you want healthcare to be like the IRS and/or DMV just let the government get involved. I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again. Healthcare should take control for itself, but it won’t.

– Pharmacy Practice News – Medication Errors: A Year in Review Part 1 of a 2-Part Series: “The information in the tables of this 2-part review summarizes many of the actual or potential errors reported to ISMP and the error-prevention strategies that ISMP recommended to address such errors.” The article, in PDF format, presents the following information in table form: 1) Safety Issues Associated with Order Communication, 2) Problems Involving Drug Information, Patient Information and Staff Education. Each table contains information on the incident including a brief description of the problem, recommendations for resolution and a key for technology that may be beneficial. It’s well worth a few minutes of your time.

FierceHealthcare: “There is a direct link between nursing staff ratios and hospital readmissions for children with common medical and surgical conditions, according to a new study in the online journal BMJ Quality and Safety in Health Care. The study examined common medical and surgical conditions, such as pneumonia and appendectomy, and pediatric readmissions. The study found that an increase of only one patient in a hospital’s average staffing ratio raised the likelihood of a medical patient’s readmission within 15-30 days by 11 percent. But the odds of readmission for surgical patients increased by 48 percent.” So, if you pay attention to your patients they do better? Not exactly rocket science.

– Best comment for this video: “At least it’s not a suppository”. Yep, I’d have to agree.

VentureBeat: “Imagine being able to track and gamify your statistics for any sport – like what your shot accuracy was in your latest tennis game – or having Google Glass automatically read the stats off your bike machine at the gym. And how about creating a proper augmented reality experience for exercise – extending the idea created by the Zombies, Run! smartphone app, your morning run could be turned into all manner of videogame-style scenarios, from escaping zombie hoards to chasing down one of your friends.” – Very interesting concept for Google Glass. My brothers and I used have orange fights in the groves around our house when we were growing up. Can you imagine Glass capturing a video of you getting nailed in the head by a slightly rotten orange? Now that would be cool. Super slow mo…

– I have officially created a Google Glass tag in one of my Evernote notebooks. While it may not sound like much, it is for me. I try to keep things simple and not let my tags get wildly out of control. Google Glass really doesn’t fit in any of my existing categories. Disruptive.

– U.S. Pharmacist has a new online feature. They’ve created a site that tracks current drug shortages “through an RSS feed directly from the U.S. Food and Drug Administration”. The website can be found here. It’s nice of U.S. Pharmacist to put this up. Now all they have to do is come up with a mobile app to go along with it.

– If you want to see how completely screwed up our healthcare system is hop on over to and read this article titled My Intravenous Lecture. The article walks through the process this patient had to go through to have a PICC line placed. Dude, what a mess.

– Apparently CVS has decided to call a halt to their refill reminder program that was funded by the pharmaceutical industry. The company cited “ambiguous language” in HIPAA. I didn’t know that retail refill reminder programs were funded by the pharmaceutical manufacturers. Then again, it does make sense when you consider that when patients take their medications pharmaceutical companies make more money. Is that a conflict of interest? Depends on how you look at it I suppose. If the effort helps with medication compliance and/or adherence then I’m not sure I see a downside. Once the patient has the prescription for the medication the drug company is no longer influencing the choice of medication, that rest squarely on the physicians shoulders. Makes me wonder about the validity of something like HIPAA. I believe it’s hurt healthcare and patients more than it’s helped. You can read more about it at the Pharmalot site. CVS assures me that they’ll continue their other refill reminder programs.

– Remember the NECC tragedy several months back? If not, you can read about it here at Wikipedia (note: I don’t typically use Wikipedia as a reference, but in this case it provides a reasonably good overview of what happened). The incident has brought about the wrath of the regulatory agencies. Yesterday I watched and listened to ASHP’s testimony at a Senate Committee hearing on compounding. The video left me shaking my head. Meetings like this will lead to a 600 page document with rules filled with exceptions, exemptions and definitions. Ultimately the information will get disseminated to pharmacies that will read it and be more confused than ever before. Punish the law-breakers and leave the rest of pharmacy alone. Their efforts are reactionary and will do nothing more than create more bureaucratic red tape.

– Any votes for the best cover song ever? I’m fond of covers, not all, but many. Some bands that have done some great covers include Seether, Godsmack, Five Finger Death Punch, Marilyn Manson, Metallica, Nickelback, and so on. Of course they’re not all keepers. Anytime Hayseed Dixie does a cover from a rock band like AC/DC I cringe.

– Here’s an interesting concept: The Journal of Visualized Experiments (JoVE). Described as “a peer reviewed, PubMed-indexed video journal”. That’s pretty cool. Some of the videos/articles look like they’d be quite interesting. Unfortunately there’s a paywall in place. You can get little bits and pieces of the articles, but without a subscription you won’t see much. This format would work well for pharmacy automation and technology “research”.

Canon30D– Anyone familiar with mirrorless cameras? I’m intrigued by the idea after reading The China Experiment – Dumping Nikon for Sony at the Stuck In Customs website. I shoot with a Canon 30D most of the time using a combination of lenses. I’ve shot thousands of sports photos of my girls secondary to their involvement in competitive cheer leading, volleyball , and track; not to mention all the vacation pictures I’ve taken over the years. The lens I use most has to be my Canon EF 70-200mm f/2.8. It seems to be the lens most often attached to my camera when I pull it from the bag. Although lately I’ve been playing with a 50mm f/1.8 lens. It’s not going to get any closeups, but it really does take some quality images. Not to mention that the camera becomes reasonably compact when I use the 50mm lens and remove the motor drive. I’m only an amateur hobbyist, but I’ve had more than a passing interest in cameras for 30+ years. As my camera system gets on in age it might be worth taking a little time to investigate the next generation of cameras. I know people think that smartphones will eventually replace cameras, and while that might be true, it won’t be in my lifetime. Smartphones are great for all those casual moments when you want a photo. I do it all the time. It’s a matter of convenience, not a matter of capturing high quality images. For that I think people will continue to use the big boys for quite some time to come.

– Seems as though Tim Tebow is having trouble finding a job. I feel bad for the guy. He just wants to play football, but he creates such a flurry of activity where ever he goes that teams are afraid that it will cause a distraction.

- The Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) has posted a truck load of information on pricing data from hospitals in the United States. Take a look at the information  You’ll be scratching your head for weeks wondering what the heck is going on. The best part about it all is reading everyone’s analysis of the information and trying to justify the difference in pricing, especially between patients with insurance and those without. Bottom line: it’s screwed up.

And with that I’m going to call it a day people. Have a great weekend everyone, and for all you mom’s out there Happy Mother’s Day.


4 thoughts on “Saturday morning coffee [May 11 2013]”

  1. “Punish the law-breakers and leave the rest of pharmacy alone.”

    That’s not the answer Jerry. This pharmacy didn’t break the law (although authorities may be trying to manufacture illegalities). They just exploited a loophole in the law and made “mistakes”.

    They didn’t intentionally set out to harm so many people. Because of a loophole in the law, and their own excessive greed, this company was allowed to sell their contaminated products nationwide, leading to a SIGNIFICANT amount of patients being harmed or killed. In order to prevent another tragic occurrence like this from happening again, that loophole needs to be removed.

    Compounding pharmacies NEED to be regulated to ensure integrity, and also must have they’re ability to manufacture limited to a much smaller, localized area such as city wide, countywide, or statewide.

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