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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Pharmacist perception of Wikipedia as a drug information resource

homer-simpson-dohThe Annals of Pharmacotherpy (Vol. 43, No. 11, pp. 1912-1913): “Approximately 80% of pharmacists use the Internet to obtain drug information.1 Wikipedia, often found at the top of Internet search results, is a free-access, collaborative, online encyclopedia that can be edited by anyone.2 Incidents of vandalism have occurred, since the site allows anyone to contribute. For example, an incident occurred in which a fake biography was created as a joke to implicate prominent writer and journalist John Seigenthaler for the assassination of John F Kennedy. It took about 4 months until the fake biography was detected and deleted by Wikipedia.3 Although Wikipedia does have an internal quality review, the ability of internal editors to find and correct erroneous information may not be timely. As reported by Clauson et al.,4 the information found on Wikipedia may not be complete and accurate, especially in regard to drug information. Published data regarding pharmacists’ use of Wikipedia to obtain drug information is lacking. Therefore, the objective of this study was to measure pharmacists’ use and perception of Wikipedia for obtaining drug information.” – This letter to the editor discusses the results of a questionnaire given to pharmacists regarding the use of Wikipedia for drug information. I was disturbed to read that 28% of respondents reported using Wikipedia for drug information. Strange that it doesn’t appear on any of my drug information resources lists, and never will. I expect better from pharmacists.

Drug information resources

Below is a list of drug information resources for both mobile devices and online access. I’ve used most, but not all, of these resources and have found the mobile versions to be a valuable resource when you’re on the go. While it is possible to access the online versions of these resources via a smartphone, the mobile applications are designed with the smaller screen in mind and therefore, in my opinion, work better then the online versions when using a mobile device.

Let me know if I missed any. Also feel free to comment on your favorite.
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Are e-patients better informed or just harder to treat?

I found an interesting article at EHR Bloggers that talks about the possibility of easy access to information via the internet resulting in difficult-to-treat patients and higher healthcare costs.

The concern raised in the NPR article describes the effect of information dissemination without context or interpretation – it happens anyway, with direct-to-consumer advertising in all forms of media, and it happens even faster with the Internet. And when patients, armed with these “facts” and the questions they raise, come to their physicians – the physician is often hard-pressed to put things into perspective. The result? Often, very-low-yield tests (or even unnecessary tests that raise the risk of harm through adverse events) and unnecessarily expensive treatments are agreed-to, simply because it’s the path of least resistance.

The problem isn’t with informed patients; it’s the model we’ve developed in our current healthcare system. The article speaks about limited time for physicians secondary to fee-for-service care. This is similar to what retail pharmacies have done with much of outpatient pharmacy services. Most retail pharmacists will tell you they spend more time fighting with insurance companies then they do talking with patients about their medications. One of the most enjoyable times of my pharmacy career was a short stint I spent working for a small independent pharmacy in San Jose. The owner/pharmacist that I worked with had a genuine interest in his patients, knew them by name and offered sound therapeutic advice. His patients appreciated his time and knowledge and were better informed to make important decision because of it.

The article goes on to offer some thought provoking ideas for closing the gap between our current healthcare model and well informed patients. It’s interesting stuff. If you have a moment I recommend you read the entire thing.

Lexi-comp making headway on drug information software for the Palm Pre

lexipretweetEarlier today Lexi-comp offered a sneak peak of their new drug information software for the Palm Pre. That’s exciting news for all you Palm Pre owners out there. Lexi-comp offers one of the most comprehensive drug information packages available and is certainly a favorite among pharmacists.

The Palm Pre is a great device to use as a peripheral brain for pharmacists because it allows you to keep several applications open at once. That’s a nice feature to have when you need to access something quickly.

The one thing I would ask Palm to do to improve the Pre is offer a form of the device in the image of the HTC HD2 with its massive screen. The screen on the current Pre is just a tad bit small for my taste. Even better would be if Palm would offer the device without 3G service like the iPod Touch. It’s just a thought.

“What’d I miss?” – Week of October 4th

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. Continue reading “What’d I miss?” – Week of October 4th

Getting pharmacists to lay down their 3×5 cards

The decentralized pharmacy model brings with it the opportunity for pharmacists to be an integral part of the medical team. This includes following teams of healthcare provides, physicians, nurses, respiratory therapists, etc, on morning rounds. And like all good little pharmacists we like to be prepared with as much information as possible about the patient. Several methods for collecting data have been developed over the years, including the all time favorite; the 3×5 index card. The problem with this system is obvious; it’s prone to human error. Taking information from one source and transcribing it somewhere else simply increases the chance for error. In addition, the information may be inaccurate as things can change rapidly with hospitalized patients, especially in areas like the ICU.
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Wikipedia as a drug reference….bad idea.

Medicine 2.0 Congress blogspot : “Readability of the Top 50 Prescribed Drugs in Wikipedia  – Devin explained that a sample of 50 most prescribed drug in United State were selected and the content related to those prescribed drugs in Wikipedia were indentified and saved as HTML files for evaluation. Each Wikipedia entry was analyzed independently by two investigators using Flesch-Kincaid Grade Level. A Health information readability analyzer was also used to integrate dimensions that other readability tools lacked such as : lexical, the most easy to read; semantic, the most difficult to read; cohesion and syntactic. Eventually, descriptive statistics was used to analyze the scores generated by these tools. Devin concluded by stating that the reading level of the 50 prescribed drug entries in Wikipedia are higher that the reading level of consumers. Therefore, there is a potential barrier of health and drug information for some Wikipedia users. To improve the Wikipedia, the vocabulary can be simplified; and in order to improve the consumers’ comprehension, the lexical and syntactic constructs need to be enhanced without compromising cohesion and structure.” – Similar to information provided by drug reps, Wikipedia is not a credible drug reference and should never be used as such. While interesting, Wikipedia may contain opinions and information presented in a biased manner. The fact that there is a study on the usability of drug information in Wikipedia is disturbing. When looking for drug information, healthcare professionals should always use credible references like Lexi-Comp, UpToDate, MD Consult, or something similar. If detailed information is needed, consult the primary literature. Consumers should consult their local pharmacist for credible drug information.

Best iPhone / iPod Touch Applications for Pharmacists

iPhone_pharmappsThe iPhone and iPod Touch have created quite a wave in healthcare, and along with the wave has come a plethora of healthcare applications. The user interface on the iPhone/iPod Touch combined with the ease of accessing applications on Apple’s iTunes store and the relatively inexpensive nature of most applications, have made these devices a favorite among healthcare professionals.

With the volume of healthcare related applications available, I’m surprised at how few I actually use. I spend quite a bit of time surfing the app store looking for new applications that I can apply to pharmacy. I’ve downloaded numerous applications, but have deleted most for one reason or another.

My “research” has led to the list below of applications that I find most useful as a pharmacist.

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Cool Technology for Pharmacy

Lexi-Drugs for the iPhone: “.. our most comprehensive drug database, with content that addresses all patient populationsand covers clinical specialties such as Pharmacy, Internal Medicine, Cardiology, Oncology, Psychiatry, Anesthesiology, and others. Independently ranked as the #1 drug database for the PDA, Lexi-Drugs includes up to 67 fields of  information, including Adverse Reactions, Canadian Brand Names, Contraindications, Dosing, Medication Safety Issues,  Pharmacodynamics and Kinetics, Special Alerts (including new FDA warnings), plus International BrandNames from 125 countries. Includes drug pricing.”
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