“What’d I miss?” – Week of July 4, 2010

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.

– As predicted Twilight Eclipse was #1 at the boxoffice last weekend with The Last Airbender coming in second. My girls saw The Last Airbender earlier this week and weren’t happy about how some of the characters were portrayed on the big screen.

KevinMD: “I still think that drug ads should be banned on television and in newspapers and magazines, but there’s good evidence that the $1.2 billion spent on consumer marketing is simply wasted. That, perhaps, may be enough impetus for the pharmaceutical industry to rein in advertising on their own.” – I’d like to see the drug companies put that money to use somewhere else.

– I saw this tweet from John Poikonen this morning: “Duty to warn in the age of Social Media podcast by @kevinclauson – via iTunes ASHP podcast series.” If you’ve never heard Kevin Clausen speak on Social Media, then you’re missing out. He has great insight on the issue.

– Earlier this week I talked about what I believe to be unsubstantiated fears of data security in the cloud. To further illustrate my point I would like to share a few tidbits I found on the web this week. Please note that none of the stories below are the result of a cloud based approach.

  • From the Fresno Bee: “A California-based health insurance company has agreed to pay Connecticut $250,000 for losing a disk drive containing private information of 1.5 million customers, including nearly 450,000 state residents.”
  • From the University of Maine Information Center: “Two University of Maine servers have been compromised, potentially exposing personal information related to some 4,585 individuals who accessed UMaine Counseling Center services between Aug. 8, 2002 and June 21, 2010″ – People will try to point out that this is the result of a server being compromised. That is true, but remember that the servers are local and maintained by the university.
  • From iT News: “New York City Lincoln Hospital has suspended sending CDs via courier after a package containing seven containing detailed patient data was lost en route from its bill processing supplier Siemens Medical Solutions to the hospital. The US Department of Health and Human Services´ (HHS) public record of data breaches revealed that 130,495 patients were lost. It was the second largest loss this year on the HHS list.” – Sending information via CD just seems like a bad idea all around. Why haven’t we moved past this?

– It’s no secret that I’m a tablet PC fan. They’re just too cool not to use. Anyway, here’s a great video of an artist running an iPad and tablet PC side by side. I thought it was interesting because the artist had a pragmatic approach to her decision. The entire post can be found at Best Tablet PC News.

The Lancet (doi:10.1016/S0140-6736(10)60964-6) has an article reporting the results from the ‘Telemonitoring and self-management in the control of hypertension’, or TASMINH2, trial. The article basically says that patients with hypertension can effectively use telemonitoring and self-management to reduce systolic blood pressure. The study is small and doesn’t deal with the effect on patient morbidity and mortality, but it is promising nonetheless. I think we’re going to see more and more use of telemonitoring and telemedicine as devices like the new iPhone 4 and HTC EVO become ubiquitous. The ability to use a smartphone for video chat will make consultation with physicians and pharmacists much easier in the future. Sounds like it’s time for another study. Who’s ready to use smartphone video chat to deliver real-time consultation? Anyone? Poision control? Emergency medicine? Paramedics?

– Have you ever heard of a Digital Object Identifier Link? Me neither until very recently. A digital object identifier (DOI) can be used to cite and link to an electronic document. The DOI for a document is permanent, which is a big plus for document storage and retrieval. The correct format for citing a DOI looks like this: doi:10.1016/S0140-6736(10)60964-6 (see Lancet blurb above). To find out what the DOI represents simply go to http://dx.doi.org, place the number in the box and hit “Go”. The DOI resolution website has a very “Google like” interface. I like it.

– The Witstech A81-E tablet is an interesting little machine. It will dual boot Android 2.1 or Windows CE 6.0. I’m not sure who would want to boot into Windows CE 6.0, but it’s nice to know you have the option.  In addition the tablet offers a 600MHz ARM processor and a seven-inch 800×480 touchscreen. It’s not going to win any technology contests, but for $200 it’s worth a look.

CMIO: “Careless use of adjectives and adverbs comprises the first bias sin, Brenner noted. Words like “unequivocally” and “undoubtedly” espouse a single view, leaving no room for interpretation, he explained, adding that terms like “compelling” and “persuasive” lack objectivity yet nudge the reader toward a conclusion.” – This comes from an editorial in the July edition of the Journal of the American College of Radiology (full text is free). I took a “Scientific Writing” course in college. I’ll never forget the professor saying that you’re either pregnant or you’re not, you can’t be very pregnant. Some people may disagree with that statement, but you get the point.

Daily Mail: “Scientists develop ‘fake’ genetically-engineered blood for use on the battlefield – The genetically-engineered blood is created by  taking cells from umbilical cords and using a machine to mimic the way bone marrow works to produce mass quantities of usable units of red blood cells. Blood cells produced using this method are ‘functionally indistinguishable from red blood cells in healthy circulation’, the company claims.” – Amazing stuff.

– Did you know that ASHP offers a service for their members called the “AHSP Daily Briefing“? I knew about it because I was a memeber, but haven’t given it much thought. There really is quite a bit of valuable information in each briefing. An example of today’s information includes information on the Johnson & Johnson OTC drug recalls, the FDA caution on using quinine for leg cramps, information on the rosiglitazone disaster, links to information on proposed changes to HIPAA by HHS, and so on and so forth.

– Just in case you missed it, LeBron James decided to play for the Miami Heat starting next season. Everything that’s wrong with professional sports can pretty much be summed up by the events leading up to this announcement. Will all the things going on in the world this press conference put a choke hold on the web, social media outlets, sports talk radio and various other media. Incredible in a bad way.

– I’ve had quite a few people ask me how I generate some of the screen shots that I use. The application responsible is a relatively simple and inexpensive tool called FastStone Capture. I like it because it’s small, unobtrusive and does what I need.

– My iPad has been getting a lot of use lately as I try to determine where it fits in my workflow. I spent the better part of a weekend trying to figure out a good way to take notes, mark up PDFs, move files back and forth, etc. I finally gave up and went back to my tablet PC for those activities. The iPad cannot replace what I do with Microsoft OneNote on my tablet. I am aware that the iPad was never designed to replace a tablet PC, but I thought it was worth a shot as the iPad does have several redeeming qualities like instant on, long battery life and integration with my existing Mac infrastructure at home. Trying to use the iPad as a tablet PC replacement reminds me a lot of what I tried to do with my Palm Pilot many years ago, which struck me as a giant step backward. So for now I see the iPad as a supplement to my tablet PC and desktop computer.

– A couple of things I do enjoy doing on my iPad are reading and exploring all the cool applications that are available for it. Some of the apps that I’ve found valuable include Evernote, Dropbox, GoodReader, Penultimate and Memeo Connect Reader, which I use to access Google Docs.  With that said, here are a couple of applications that I think are simply cool: Uzu, which offers no value other than it’s cool and Vuvuzela for the iPad. The Vuvuzela is good for annoying my daughters. I hit the horn continuously until I hear “Daaaaad!”. Ah, music to my ears.

– Anyone know which schools of pharmacy in the United States offer the most progressive approach to pharmacy automation and informatics? I get this question on occasion and have no good opinion on the matter. The only thing I know for sure is that my alma mater, UCSF School of Pharmacy, is certainly not on the list of pharmacy schools with a progressive informatics approach. A couple of hours on the phone made that abundantly clear. Anyway, let me know if you know of a pharmacy school that has a great informatics presence. I’d love to hear about it.

Have a great weekend everyone.

2 thoughts on ““What’d I miss?” – Week of July 4, 2010”

  1. :smile: :smile: :smile: :smile: Hey Jerry,

    Been following your blog for a while – good stuff. However, that HP Slate video’s old news (YouTube vid is dated April), and word on the street was that the project (as a Windows 7 device) has been cancelled, perhaps in favor of saving the form factor for new Web OS devices per the merger w/ Palm.

    But keep up the good work, and thanks for sharing your thoughts w/ the world

  2. Doh! Missed that one. Saw the video link and thought it was new. Thanks for catching the error. Hoping that HP would have a quick turnaround on a WebOS slate. Not the case I guess.

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