Siemens Innovations ’09 – The End

Siemens Innovations has officially come to an end. My time in Philadelphia was good, but I will be happy to get home to the “dry heat”. The information I picked up was very valuable and I made some great contacts. I’m excited to get back to work and see what damage I can cause with my newly acquired knowledge.

As I wrap up my time here at Innovations ’09 a few thoughts come to mind:

  • I should have stayed an extra day or two. There are two hospitals near herephiladelphia that I would love to visit: Pinnacle Health in Harrisburg and Main Line Health. When I grow up, I want to be like them.
  • There were over 1000 attendees, representing over 300 healthcare systems, but very few pharmacists. Only 49 individuals registered for the ‘Pharmacy’ track. You don’t have to be a pharmacist to register for the ‘Pharmacy’ track, so it makes me wonder how many pharmacists actually attended the conference. The presentations I attended had small audiences, 20-30 at most. We, i.e. pharmacists, were easily out numbered 10:1 by nursing and IT people.
  • The emphasis this year was on barcode medication administration (BCMA). I expect this to change as CPOE was what I heard most in the conversations I eavesdropped on. In addition, lots of people were talking about healthcare reform and what meaningful use will look like. I think this is a good thing. Anything that jumpstarts the thought process can only advance healthcare technology.
  • Many of the presentations in the ‘Pharmacy’ track were given by nurses. What gives?
  • I spoke to several pharmacists in groups as well as one on one and discovered that they are very interested in what they do, but it stops there. A few time I tried moving the conversation away from the pharmacy systems only to be met with eyes that were starting to glaze over. I have interests in many things within technology and informatics besides those in my direct line of site. For the most part, the pharmacists I spoke with were highly intelligent and apparently very good at what they do, but it was obvious that it was a job for them. This lends credence to my thought that pharmacy informatics and technology is in its infancy as a specialty. We need to move away from the idea that we are the guys that add drugs to the formulary and fix billing errors. We need to expand our ideals and force change within the profession. Physicians had done it; nurses are doing it, but once again pharmacists as waiting for enlightenment to find them. Why is that? If you have an answer I would love to hear it. I’ll jump off my soapbox now.
  • I saw a few laptops, a few ultra-portables (I assume netbooks), and no tablet PCs. However, there was no shortage of smart phones. I notice things like that and I’m not afraid to walk up to someone and ask them how they like their [insert phone here]. Most nurses and the few physicians I ran into were carrying iPhones. Almost every IT person and vendor I spoke with was using one of BlackBerry devices. To my surprise, pharmacists were using a host of devices other than the iPhone. I found pharmacists using the LG Dare, the Samsung Blackjack, a few BlackBerry devices, and one I-don’t-know-it’s-just-a-phone (couldn’t find a link for that one). Just before leaving I found a pharmacist from Wichita, KS using an iPhone; I was relieved. The lack of iPhone use among pharmacists explains a few things.
  • Overall Innovations was a good experience, but I am looking forward to the ASHP Midyear in December of this year. I hope to see you all there.

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