Twitter vs. RSS Reader … who cares.

I’ve been following an interesting debate about the benefits of Twitter versus RSS readers like Google Reader. The debate started with a question posed by Robert Scoble on friendfeed and spilled over into several blogs; siliconANGLE,, Scobleizer and Newsome.Org.

I love reading stuff like this because you can see the passion that everyone has for their little corner of the technology world. It’s even more interesting when you consider that it’s a completely personal choice. Boxers or briefs, who gives a crap as long as you’re comfortable.
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“What’d I miss?” – Week of October 25th

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.
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The HTC Imagio is a pretty nice smartphone

htc_imagioI stopped by my local Verizon Wireless store to check out some of their new phones, specifically the BlackBerry Storm2 and the HTC Imagio. The Storm2 is definitely nicer than the original Storm, but the Imagio was more impressive.

The HTC Imagio is an aesthetically pleasing device, created in the image of the iPhone. The thing that immediately caught my attention was the 3.6”, 400×800 HD touch screen. It is very nice and very responsive to touch. The Imagio runs on Windows Mobile 6.5, the newest version of the mobile operating system. In addition, the phone uses the TouchFLO 3D user interface designed by HTC, making navigation on the phone simple and intuitive.

Overall, I like the HTC Imagio and would definitely consider it as my next phone. However, I’ll wait for the big droid release from Verizon before I make my final decision.

Cool Technology for Pharmacy

The MedBoard Medication Tracking System (MTS) from Baxa is a web-based medication system designed to help you track the flow of medications from entry in the pharmacy system to delivery on the nursing unit. The MTS can be integrated into you pharmacy workflow as part of your existing bar coding system.
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Why my Firefox browser is more advanced than our hospital’s HIS

frustration.cartoonEach day I roll into work ready for another exciting day of pharmacy technology. I’m usually bright-eyed and ready for a new challenge because I’ve spent the previous night scouring the web and reading about all the incredible technology being put into place all over the world; tablet pcs, electronic paper and ink, advanced nanoparticles, automated dispensing devices, mobile phones, advances in social networking, and so on ad infinitum. Then there are days like today when I have something land in my lap that just makes me shake my head and wonder if healthcare will ever catch up to the rest of the world.
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Sugar-Coated nanoparticles hold promise for cancer treatment

A research team at the National Institute of Standards and Technology, in cooperation with researchers at The Johns Hopkins University, Dartmouth College, the University of Manitoba and two biopharmaceutical companies have discovered that sugar-coated bits of iron oxide under certain circumstances can be deadly to tumors. The 100 nanometer wide sugar-coated iron oxide nanoparticles are attracted to tumor cells, where they can be heated magnetically, thus causing damage to the cells.
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Pharmacy students may be a little too transparent with their social media

transparencyA study in the American Journal of Pharmaceutical Education (Vol: 73, Issue 06, Article: 104) took a look at issues related to Facebook usage, accountability, privacy, online image and e-professionalism among students entering pharmacy school

The study was conducted via a questionnaire consisting of 21 questions administered to 299 incoming pharmacy students. Of the 299 students surveyed, 244 (88%) had an existing Facebook profile. The average daily time spent of Facebook was approximately 22 minutes.
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Thinking about Clinical Decision Support (CDS)

I attended at webinar today on “Achieving Meaningful Use – The Importance of Clinical Decision Support”. Overall the information was pretty good. It wasn’t exactly new information, but it never hurts to hear something again. The webinar got me thinking about Clinical Decision Support (CDS).
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Non-traditional roles for pharmacists

The increased chatter surrounding healthcare has piqued my interests in job opportunities for pharmacists outside the traditional roles, i.e. retail, hospital, IT, long-term care, etc. Physicians have been filling many of these roles for quite some time. For more information on physicians in non-traditional roles I recommend visiting Non-Clinical Medical Jobs, Careers, and Opportunities by Dr. Joseph Kim. It was Dr. Kim’s site that put my mind into overdrive.

Much of my interest in these non-traditional pharmacy jobs stemmed from various internet articles on advances in healthcare technology from companies like Microsoft, Google, and GE among others. These companies are developing some very interesting technology and have jobs posted that require a pharmacy degree.

Over the past several months I’ve applied for positions at several of these companies, but haven’t heard so much as a peep from most of them. Microsoft gets some brownie points because they were kind enough to send me a nicely worded rejection notice in the form of an email.

Anyway, pharmacists have a unique perspective when it comes to process design in healthcare and several of the “movers and shakers” in the industry have started to take notice. For those of you interested in something other than a traditional role in pharmacy know that there are positions out there that may interest you. All you have to do is look.

For those that need a reason to support CPOE and EMR implementation

Pharmacists see hand written orders like the one below almost daily. The order has to be interpreted by a pharmacist, usually with a little hand waving and guessing (kind of like being a pharmacy Jedi), and entered on the patient’s medication profile before the nurse can access the medication from the automated dispensing cabinet and get it to the patient. Even though I’m used to looking at orders like this, there is simply no excuse for what you see below.

There are two medications contained in the hand written orders below. I double-dog dare you to find them. It’s kind of like a “Where’s Waldo” puzzle. Leave your guesses in the comment section of this post. Good luck.