#ASHPMidyear 2010 part deux

Today was a great day to be at ASHP Midyear 2010. Things really got going as the sessions were kicked into high gear and the exhibit hall officially opened.

I spent the day tracking down pharmacy automation and technology. Did you really expect me to do anything else? I don’t ever recall being as excited as a clinician as I am being an informatics pharmacist. Anyway, here are some things I found interesting:
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#ASHPMidyear day one comes to an end

Each day at ASHP Midyear offers some great experiences, and today was no exception.

I spent a good part of my first morning at the Talyst User Group Meeting. It’s encouraging to speak with other pharmacists that use pharmacy automation and technology in interesting ways. User Groups are a great way to get focused information from end users. I always take something away from groups like this. I wish there was a way to apply the format to other areas of pharmacy informatics.

Following the user group meeting I spent some time roaming around the exhibits. Yes, before they’re open “to the public”; vendor badge. While the exhibits weren’t complete, they certainly offered a glimpse of what I can expect for the rest of the week. It also gave a me a good idea of who I’d like to visit and spend some time talking too. It’s always interesting to talk with the vendors in person. Sometimes you can get information that you simply can’t find anywhere else.

I did manage to attend a single session today titled A Hitchhiker’s Guide to Telepharmacy. I haven’t spent much time learning about telepharmacy so I thought this would be a good opportunity to gain some knowledge. To my surprise it turns out that telepharmacy isn’t at all what I thought it was. One of the first slides in the presentation defined telepharmacy as “a central pharmacy, either retail or associated with a hospital, is connected via computer, audio, and video link to one or more remote sites. A licensed pharmacist at the central site conducts remote order entry and then supervises the dispensing of medication at the remote site through the use of video conferencing technology.” (Darryl Rich, The Joint Commission, 2007). Huh? I thought telepharmacy would represent a more clinical approach to patient care through the use of audio and video.

The U.S. Department of Health & Human Services defines telemedicine as “the use of medical information exchanged from one site to another via electronic communications to improve a patient’s health. Electronic communication means the use of interactive telecommunications equipment that includes, at a minimum, audio and video equipment permitting two-way, real time interactive communication between the patient, and the physician or practitioner at the distant site.” I assumed telepharmacy would basically be the same thing. Guess not. The Joint Commission definition of telepharmacy stated above is simply remote checking. I’m not sure I like that.

At least my day ended on a positive note. I had dinner with a friend at a great little Mexican restaurant called Tortilla Jo’s in Downtown Disney. We spent a couple of hours talking about all kinds of stuff including pharmacy, informatics/automation and life. Good stuff.

Here’s looking forward to tomorrow.

Oh yeah, on my way to #ASHPMidyear 2010

Here I sit in the airport waiting for my flight to take me to ASHP Midyear 2010 in Anaheim, CA.  ASHP Midyear is the premiere conference/meeting for pharmacists each year. Sure there are larger healthcare conferences/meetings every year, but none are dedicated entirely to the pharmacy profession.

As this is only my second ASHP Midyear in my career I’m excited to see if the experience matches that of last year. I’m sure it will as I continue to be impressed by the number and variety of sessions crammed into such a short period of time. Of course I’m particularly interested in the informatics sessions, but it’s ok if you find yourself sitting in on one of the talks updating you on what’s happening in the clinical world. I won’t hold it against you.

The week for me will kick off on Sunday morning with the Talyst Users Group meeting followed by a session on RFP’s and contracts put on by the ASHP Section of Pharmacy Informatics and Technology’s Advisory Group on Pharmacy Operations Automation. I’ll round out Sunday’s activities by attending the McKesson Safe Compounding Reception. And it will only get better from there as the week will be filled with sessions on clinical decision support, barcoding, telepharmacy, the application of social media to pharmacy, and so on and so forth.  My week will conclude with the session titled mHealth: There’s an App for That where I will be presenting information on the integration of the iPad into pharmacy services.

The information I’m presenting was pretty cutting edge at the time I submitted the slides, but is now clearly dated. That’s the downside of having to submit presentation slides so far in advance. Anyway, it should still be worth the time and effort. I’ve always found it educational for myself to present information to people as someone always has something interesting to add or a good question to stimulate the thought process.

I’m looking forward to the next five days. I’ll be Tweeting (@jfahrni) as much of the event as possible in addition to posting about the day’s activities whenever feasible. I hope to see you there. If you’d like to get together and talk a little pharmacy informatics/automation don’t hesitate to give me a Buzz, Tweet or email.

Who’s to blame for the lack of advancement in pharmacy automation and technology?

Without question there is a lack of advanced automation and technology in the acute care pharmacy setting. Spend some time in several acute care pharmacies if you don’t believe me. There’s clearly a need for it, but it’s just not being used.

I am a fan of automation and technology in any setting, but especially in the acute care pharmacy. I believe that the continued use, development and advancement of pharmacy technology should be a key component of any plan to change the current pharmacy practice model. Unfortunately, the situation is problematic because current pharmacy technology is either poorly designed for the needs of the pharmacy or the pharmacy in which it is used has a poorly designed workflow that doesn’t take advantage of it. Why is that? Who’s to blame; someone, anyone, no one? Valid questions.
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Year end thoughts for 2009

2009 brought many new and exciting changes not only in my personal life, but in the world of pharmacy and technology as well. I’ve learned many new things, gained some skills previously absent from my armamentarium, met some great new people, discovered the “real” internet for the first time, traveled more than ever before, discovered I don’t know diddly squat about a great many things, and am more excited about the next year than I can remember in recent history.

Below is a list of opinions about a great many things that I have seen and done over the past year. Some are pharmacy related, some are technology related, some are personal, and some are just random thoughts.
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Exhibit Hall ASHP #Midyear2009

I finally had an opportunity to roam around the exhibit hall at the ASHP Midyear today. Of course I had to sacrifice a session to attend, but it was worth it. If you’ve never been in the exhibit hall at one of these events you owe it to yourself to check it out.
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Update ASHP #Midyear2009

The first, and most interesting, session I attended today was “Integrating Technology to Improve Medication-Use Patient Safety”. The session was sponsored by Hospira and consisted of three separate speakers covering areas of the medication–use process where breakdowns typically occur. The focus was on closed-loop medication administration. I’m sure there are different opinions on what closed-loop medication administration is, but for our purposes it consists of orders from the time written until the medication is administered to the patient. Many technologies were discussed, including computerized provider order entry (CPOE), bar code medication administration (BCMA), intelligent infusion devices (IIDs), and electronic medication records (EMRs) among others.
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ASHP Midyear 2009 – “The Plan”

I’m sitting in the airport waiting for my plane to board and getting my agenda together. Below is my plan of attack for my time in Vegas. Of course it’s all just speculation at this point as I have an affinity to stray from my plans based on what I find interesting.  I also need to find some time for the exhibit hall, where I will undoubtedly waste countless hours wondering around checking out all the cool technology.

– Talyst User Group, 2:00 – 5:00 PM

– IV Sedation in the Intensive Care Unit: Applying Pharmacoeconomic Principles, 6:15-7:45 AM
– Opening Session, 9:00-10:30 AM
– Integrating Tech to Improve Medication-Use and Patient Safety, 11:30AM – 1:30 PM
– Does the Shoe Fit? Selecting Robotic IV Technology for Pediatric Sites, 2:00-5:00 PM
– Section Advisory Group on Ambulatory Care Informatics Networking Session, 5:15-6:15 PM
– Pharmacy OneSource Happy Hour, 5:30-7:00 PM

– BCMA: Inpatient & Outpatient Trends, Metrics, and Innovations, 8:00-9:30 AM
– On the Bleeding Edge of Technology: Overcoming Implementation Challenges with Informatics, 10:00-11:00 AM
– Section Advisory Group on Pharmacy Operations Automation Networking Session, 11:15 AM – 12:30 PM

Here’s where it get fuzzy. There are 4 sessions in the 2:00-5:00PM slot that I want to attend; not sure what I’m going to do just yet.

– Redefining the Practice Model: Where Have We Been, Where Do We Go? 2:00-5:00PM
– Rule of Thumb: A Look at Positive ID, Secondary Authentication, and Health IT Regulation, 2:00-4:00 PM
– Powerful Impact of Human Factors Engineering on Medication Safety, 2:30-4:00 PM
– More Than a Vending Machine: Effectively Planning and Implementing Carousel/Packager Technology, 4:00-5:00 PM

– Pharmacy 2.0: How the Web is Changing How We Practice, 8:00-9:45 AM
– Section Advisory Group on Pharmacy Informatics Education Networking Sessions, 11:15 AM – 12:30 PM
– Informatics Bytes 2009: Pearls of Informatics, 2:00-5:00 PM

Unfortunately I return home on Wednesday night, which means I will miss the following sessions that I would like to attend, especially the first one listed.

– Does Current Technology/Automation Need to Change to Advance Pharmacy Technician Dispensing? 9:30 AM -12 NOON
– Strategies for Successfully Implementing ADMs and CPOE into the Medication Management System, 2:00-4:00 PM