Apparently some pharmacists are worried about personal health records

Healthcare IT Consultant Blog: “Pharmacists’ representatives have claimed that use of private health record services such as Google Health and Microsoft HealthVault could risk fragmentation of electronic patient records. The Royal Pharmaceutical Society of Great Britain said “the proliferation of these systems and indiscriminate use” could lead to information on drug allergies, possible interactions, duplications or dose adjustments not being available when it was needed. The society, which was responding to a consultation by the Nuffield Council on Bioethics on medical profiling and online medicine, said there could be “serious patient safety implications”. It argued that the single health record supports the seamless transfer of care between primary and secondary settings and promoted multi- disciplinary working.” – I don’t necessarily agree with “the society” about personal health records. Personal health records – like medication lists carried in wallets, purses, and pockets – serve as additional information to an already detailed health system record. The technology is in its infancy and further growth and development should be encouraged. I believe it empowers the individual with enough control to become interested in their own care. I wouldn’t remove a patient allergy from the pharmacy system based solely on the information in a patient’s personal medical record, but would certainly investigate the opposite. First hand information directly from the patient is a valuable commodity. I remember interviewing patients upon admission to Long/Moffit Hospital on the UCSF campus when I was a 4th year pharmacy student. Many times asking the right questions led to the patient remembering something they had forgotten. If that information would have been in a digital personal medical record, the patient’s lack of memory becomes a non-issue. UCSF had the luxury of 30 pharmacy students running around talking to patients. Most hospitals aren’t so lucky.

UCSF launches prescription help

The Business Journal: “The UCSF School of Pharmacy has launched a new service in Fresno to address the urgent need among Central Valley residents and their health care providers for assistance in managing their prescriptions. The service will start scheduling appointments this week and will officially open for in-person patient consultations on Sept. 1. Through the program, patients will meet one-on-one with an experienced clinical pharmacist to evaluate the prescriptions they currently use, ensure the medications are safe and effective for them, and help them manage their daily drug regimens.” – This is a great service and people should take advantage of it. I’ve reviewed the medication regimens of several members of my own family and you would be shocked to learn what I’ve discovered. My review of family medication regimens have revealed a duplicate therapy, a significant drug interactions, one medication causing side effects that were being treated as a medical condition, a medication being used for the wrong condition and one medication that was never prescribed; it was accidentally added to the patient’s profile by mistake in the pharmacy. I recommend that all pharmacists review the medication regimens for all their family members. If you find something weird, I’d love to hear about it.

EMRs as a tool for patient safety.

A short jaunt over to the EMR and HIPPA weblog led me to an interesting article in Time written by Scott Haig, MD. While Dr. Haig touches on a couple of positive features of electronic medical records (EMRs), he like many physicians, focuses on the negatives. He concludes that “Doctors and patients live in a world of painful, pressing questions. The great physicians I’ve known seek answers through personal commitment to each patient and judgment born of practical experience — neither of which I have found in a machine.” I think he is missing the point of an EMR.
Continue reading EMRs as a tool for patient safety.

Tablet recognition for safe dispensing…why not?

I recently spied a Twitter post regarding a “pill geometry” database. The idea of a database that houses the geometry of prescription tablets piqued my interest and sent my brain into overdrive. I don’t think that was the intention of the Twitter post, but it jump started by brain nonetheless.
Continue reading Tablet recognition for safe dispensing…why not?

Pharmacists aren’t completely worthless after all.

An article in the most recent issue of Archives of Internal Medicine reports the results of adding a pharmacist to a health care team to offer up expertise on appropriate use of medication in heart failure and hypertension.

The results showed a 35% reduction in adverse drug events, a 48% reduction in preventable adverse drug events and a 37% reduction in medication errors. They did not analyze the economic impact. However, medication errors occur in at least 1.5 million people annually and add somewhere in the neighborhood of $3.5 billion a year to the cost of healthcare.

Now, about that raise….

Digital Medicine Article in Business Week

A Business Week article this week took a look at the current state of electronic medical records (EMRs) and technology in healthcare. The author managed to deliver a mixed message without clearly differentiating between electronic medical records and patient safety issues. The article clearly focuses on the negative.
Continue reading Digital Medicine Article in Business Week

FDA revises ceftriaxone-calcium warning

The FDA has issued an update to the previous alert on the interaction between calcium and ceftriaxone (Rocephin). The original warning was based on reported fatalities involving neonates. The update occurred after Roche (manufacturer of ceftriaxone) conducted two studies using neonatal and adult plasma with varying concentrations of ceftriaxone and calcium. Based on the results, ceftriaxone and calcium-containing products may now be used concomitantly in patients greater than 28 days old.