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.
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Windows 7 Ink Input and Tablet PC

Tablet PCs have tremendous value in a decentralized pharmacy model. I am a big fan and have been fortunate enough to have both a Director of Pharmacy and CIO that are supportive of technology and my desire to use it. Last year our department configured two tablet PCs to be used by our critical care and pediatric pharmacists. The tablets are primarily used on rounds to gather information on patients. While utilizing the tablets the pharmacists have full access to our Siemens Pharmacy System for the patient’s medication record and crucial labs. In addition, the pharmacists can access the nursing and physician clinical systems, giving them quick access to additional information such as H&Ps, physician progress notes, nursing progress notes, finger stick results and much more. The tablets have been well received by the pharmacists.

You can imagine my excitement when my brother sent me an interesting link to a “blog dedicated to the engineering of Microsoft Windows 7.” The page contains information specific to advances to the tablet PC input experience.  Improvements to the writing pad were deperately needed and the addition of text prediction on the soft keyboard will be a welcome addition. I’m looking forward to the next generation of tablet PCs. Our department has plans to roll out an additional 5 tablets over the next 12 months. Maybe I can hold out for Windows 7.

Fewer unit-dosed, barcode ready drugs from the manufacturer?

I’ve noticed a trend over the past few months. Several medications that we typically purchase are no longer available in unit-dosed, barcode ready packaging. The result has been the purchase of more and more medications in bulk, which require repackaging and barcoding prior to dispensing. The reason for the trend is unclear, but appears to be a difference in opinion on what information should be contained in the barcode and what barcode standard to use. Even with organizations like ASHP encouraging manufacturers to develop standards and the FDA requiring barcodes on prescription medications, there appears to be a gap.
Continue reading Fewer unit-dosed, barcode ready drugs from the manufacturer?

Follow-up on Siemens Raid

Earlier this week I mentioned that Siemens U.S. Headquarters was raided. Here’s some additional information from the Healthcare IT Consultant Blog

“Siemens Medical Solutions USA Inc., whose Malvern, Pa., complex was searched by Defense Department agents Wednesday, is a defendant in a whistle-blower lawsuit.

The unit of German conglomerate Siemens AG (NYSE:SI) is accused in the suit of giving corporate customers of its medical imaging equipment bigger discounts than it gave the federal government while assuring the government that it was getting the best discounts Siemens offered.The lawsuit was filed under the Federal False Claims Act, which allows individuals to file lawsuits alleging fraud by federal contractors and receive a percentage of any damages recovered by the suits.

It’s a civil suit that was filed in 2004 in U.S. District Court in the Virgin Islands and subsequently amended.”

Next Health 2.0 Conference

This is something that I’ve become more interested in lately….”the ways that information technology and the web are changing healthcare in areas from online search to health focused online communities and social networks. ”

My chance is coming up later this year in October. Lucky for me it’s just up the road in San Francisco. If you can call 200 miles just up the road. More information can be found at the Health 2.0 website.

Adverse Drug Event Occurences

I’ve been working with a group here on a Failure Mode and Effects Analysis (FMEA)  for our bar coding medication administration project (called MAK –Medication Administration checKing by our vendor, Siemens Medical ). The benefit to implementing such as system is to significantly reduce the number of errors that occur during medication administration in hospitals each year.

While researching the project I have come across several interesting facts. I would like to share them with you here.
Continue reading Adverse Drug Event Occurences

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.