Domain expertise in healthcare can go a long way

mobilehealthnews: “[John] Sculley said [while speaking at the Digital Health Summit, CES 2012] that some companies have put too much emphasis on style over substance.

“The thing that is missing is getting the people with the domain expertise aligned with the people with technological know-how to turn ideas into branded services,””

I think these comments ring true for many of us that realize the disconnect between the people designing and building products for healthcare, and those actually using them. I can attest to the fact that it exists in many aspects of pharmacy automation and technology where things have a way of being forced down your throat. It becomes a game of which product is the “least bad”. It’s called settling for something, and it never really makes anyone happy. That’s why we’ve seen so many homegrown systems in pharmacies over the years.

There once was time when terrible usability at least meant great functionality. Unfortunately many companies have chosen to improve the usability at the expense of the functionality, which ultimately leads to a crappy product. I’ve experienced this many times during my career, especially with pharmacy information systems where improved UI’s have often resulted in poor performance, more mouse clicks and frustration.

Do the industry a favor and ask the end users what they need, instead of giving them what you think they want.

Medscape mobile acknowledges problem with iOS 5

Apparently some Medscape mobile users with iOS 5 have had some issues. Below is the content from an email I received earlier today. Not exactly sure what the problem is as the email didn’t actually say. I’d be leery of the application until the fix is applied, which according to the email will be sometime in the first week of January. I’d recommend using something else in the meantime.

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New Windows 7 slates on the way

Hmm, it looks like we’re going to start seeing more and more Windows 7 slates as the end of the year approaches. The most recent sighting is the the Dell Latitude ST.

According to Tablets Planet the “Latitude ST tablet features a Intel Atom processor, Windows 7, Microsoft Bitlocker, Kensington lock, USB port, SD card slot, HDMI port, and a LCD that features finger multi-touch and a stylus for input, and there are also front and rear-facing cameras for video conferencing (front) and taking photos (rear).”

In addition the Latitude ST claims an 8 hour battery life. This is in line with the battery life claims of the Samsung Series 7 tablet.

Now if I could just get Samsung or Dell to develop a docking solution similar to the Asus Transformer we’d have something.

Interactive Handbook on Injectable Drugs for iPad and iPhone

It feels like a day doesn’t go by that I don’t receive an email letting me know of something cool for mobile devices. With the ever increasing onslaught of tablet and smartphone use in pharmacy practice it’s only a matter of time before everything will be available in some electronic media format.

In this case it’s ASHP’s Interactive Handbook on Injectable Drugs: IV Decision Support by Lawrence A. Trissel. Every pharmacist working in a hospital pharmacy knows about this reference. And if they don’t then they have a big problem because it’s only one of the most definitive reference sources for IV compatibility. Over the course of my career it’s simply been know as “the Trissel’s”. (kind of like “the Talyst”…just sayin’ – private joke people)

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Tarascon Pharmacopoeia available for Android and iPad

I received the email below a few days ago announcing that The Tarascon Pharmacopoeia is now available for Android and the iPad. I’m not a big fan myself, but the reference appears to be popular with certain crowds. Historically it’s more popular with community/retail pharmacists than hospital pharmacists. This might have something to do with the availability of drug pricing in the Tarascon Pharmacopoeia. Who knows.

Link to Android version is here.

Link to iPad version in iTues store is here.

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Lexicomp I.V. Compatibility module available for Android

It warms the cockles of my heart to read stuff like this. The I.V. Compatibility module for Lexicomp is now available for the Android OS. I couldn’t find any screen shots so you’ll just have to use your imagination.

You can find more information here.

Lexicomp’s I.V. Compatibility module is now available for your Lexicomp On-Hand subscription for Androidâ„¢! By following the update instructions below, you can add this module to your existing Lexicomp On-Hand subscription. There is no additional charge for this enhancement.

The I.V. Compatibility module allows you to review compatibility and stability information for hundreds of parenteral medications and fluids. This module is based on information from the King® Guide to Parenteral Admixtures®. Thousands of clinicians are already using Lexicomp’s I.V. Compatibility module every day – now you can access this vital information on your Android smartphone or tablet as well.

To update your subscription to include I.V. Compatibility, follow these instructions:
Ensure you have a strong Wi-Fi or cellular connection.
On your Android device, tap the Market icon and search for Lexicomp.
Select Lexicomp and tap Update. When the warning appears, tap Accept & Download.
When the application is installed, tap the Lexicomp icon to access your software.

Is the Motion J3500 still the best Win-Slate on the market?

j3500To borrow a phrase from Tommy Lee Jones in The Fugitive, I’ve been doing a “hard-target search” recently for a new tablet PC. Don’t get me wrong, I love my Lenovo x201 Tablet PC, but I really want to try another slate.

In my mind the ASUS Eee Slate EP121 (who comes up with these names?) is currently the best tablet PC slate on the market. I’ve spent quite a bit of time messing around with it at the Microsoft Retail Store at Bellevue Square in Washington. The employees in there must think I’m some kind of stalker.

As far as the EP121 goes the inking is great, the touchscreen responsive, it’s fast, it’s the perfect size and it just “feels right” in my hands. So what’s the problem? The battery life is terrible? The information on the tablet states that the battery life is less than 3 hours. Online reviews have it at about 2 hours. That’s ridiculously bad in this day of hi-tech.

I looked hard at the Motion Computing CL900, but just don’t think it has enough muscle for me. It’s a bit slow and clunky. That’s a bummer as on the surface the CL900 looks like the perfect device.

While rummaging around the Motion Computing website for information on the CL900 I stumbled across an old friend, the Motion J3500. I’ve used it’s predecessor, the J3400 before and it was a great machine. I found the J3400 to be a good mix of functionality, toughness and battery life. With upgrades to the hard drive, processor and display the J3500 may just be the best option currently available, which says something about the tablet market; the J3500 is over a year old.

The evolution of tablets for pharmacy

Everywhere I look these days someone is showing off a new tablet; in the media anyway. Out in public I typically see mostly iPads with the Galaxy tablet coming in a distant second. I’m not sure that this will change anytime soon, but it’s clear to me that tablets will become mainstream devices for many people over time. The technology is simply too good to ignore. No one knows if the tablet will ever replace desktop machines, but I have an idea that they will for many, especially as the tablet market matures and hardware vendors begin to meet the needs of consumers. Case in point is the growing number of iPad keyboard cases you can find floating around on the internet. People want the iPad experience, but they also want a solid keyboard to work with so vendors obliged consumers by creating things like the ClamCase.

To the best of my knowledge the next twelve months will bring tablets of all shapes, sizes and OS flavors to the market. I’ve seen information on tablets with screen sizes ranging from 7-inches to just over 10-inches, and operating systems including Android, Windows 7 (8?), WebOS, BlackBerry, and of course iOS. Did I miss any? It’s possible that I did as I’ve seen a few others thrown in the mix over the past several months, but I believe these constitute the bulk of what we’ll see.

With that said, what impact do I think these devices will have on pharmacy practice? That’s a good question. Because I’m a tablet enthusiast I’d like to think they will revolutionize pharmacy practice as we know it, but in reality it probably won’t make much difference at all. Why? Site back and I’ll tell you.
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