Cool Technology for Pharmacy – The Pill Timer

I came across a Tweet mentioning The Pill Timer from Med Time Technology, Inc quite a while back. I would like to give credit to the person that brought it to my attention, but several thousand Tweets have zoomed past my eyes since then. My plan was to purchase one, as they’re only $4.95, and play with it before posting about it. Unfortunately I never got around to it.

The Pill Timer is an electronic prescription vial cap designed to provide patients with audio and visual alerts when it’s time to take their medication. Medication adherence is a big problem here in the United States and anything that has the potential to improve compliance is worth a look. I’ve posted on technology like this before, but I believe The Pill Timer is easily the least expensive and simplest alternative I’ve seen. The instructions are relatively easy to follow, and anyone using The Pill Timer should have it programmed and ready for use in no time at all. The instruction sheet can be found here.
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Standardized Numerical Identifiers (SNIs), say what?

A couple of weeks ago a friend and colleague shot me an email asking me if I’d heard about the new “pedigree stuff on barcoding”. I consider myself pretty well informed for the most part, but I had no idea what she was talking about. Upon further inquiry she sent me a PDF document titled “Guidance for Industry Standards for Securing the Drug Supply Chain – Standardized Numerical Identification for Prescription Drug Packages” (the SNI document). The document is also available in non-PDA format at the FDA website here. I asked other pharmacists about the SNI document while at the Siemens West Coast User Group Meeting on September 16, but no one had a clue what I was talking about; not event the Siemens product manager that was in attendance.
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A new laptop plus the cloud equals bliss

I recently started using a new Dell Latitude e6510 for all my computing needs. It’s a significant upgrade from my old Dell Latitude 520 laptop, which was showing its age. The new e6510 has an Intel Core-i7 processor, a backlit keyboard, 128 GB solid state hard drive, 4GB of RAM, a beautiful 15.6” wide screen display with 1920 x 1080 resolution, Windows 7 Professional and so on. It’s also the size of a small sports car, which has me second guessing my choice of machine. I broke my own rule for selecting a laptop, i.e. keep it portable. I actually prefer laptops with 12″ – 14″ displays. I don’t know what I was thinking. Kind of like a moth drawn to light – “Look! It’s so bright and shiny”.

Anyway, it’s always a headache setting up a new laptop as most people like me have to transfer gigabytes worth of data from the old machine to the new one. Not this time.
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Top blog posts and searches from last week (38)

I always find it interesting to see what brings people to my website and what they decided to read once they get here.
Most read posts over the past 7 days:

  1. Laser etched bar-code may help curb counterfeit drugs, among other uses
  2. Automated unit-dose packagers for acute care pharmacy
  3. Cool Technology for Pharmacy (June 18,2009 – Alaris Smartpumps)
  4. Best iPhone / iPod Touch Applications for Pharmacists
  5. “What’d I miss? – Week of October 4th”
  6. Quick update: Pharmacy iPad use
  7. Cool Technology for Pharmacy (September 10, 2009 – The Capsule Machine)
  8. Cool Technology for Pharmacy – Baxa Repeater Pump
  9. Is the 30-minute rule for medication administration good or bad?
  10. Conference note taking with a tablet PC

Top searchterm phrases used over the past 7 days:

  1. “mansonella perstans”
  2. “jerry fahrni”
  3. “black cloud”
  4. “alaris pump”
  5. “alaris iv pump”
  6. “transparency ”
  7. “atp series packaging”
  8. “free itouch apps pharmacy”
  9. “alaris”
  10. “talyst carousel”

Beyond the idea of a medical-alert bracelet with the use of text messaging

I stumbled across an article in The Wall Street Journal that discusses the use of advancing technologies to improve first responder access to important patient information. Anyone that has a severe allergy or that requires special treatment for a rare or life threatening medical condition is probably aware of medical alert bracelets. Order forms for these trinkets are prevalent in pharmacies across the country. Well it seems that the idea of medical alert bracelets is starting to take on a more technologically advanced edge like everything else in healthcare these days.

One of the things that caught my eye in the article was the mention of a program called Invisible Bracelet (iB) that utilizes text messaging to retrieve pertinent medical information about a patient, while at the same time notifying the patient’s emergency contact(s). And since I was just talking about using text messaging as a way to improve patient compliance with medications I thought it was worth a closer look.

“The program, a partnership between Docvia LLC of Tulsa, Okla., and the American Ambulance Association, a trade association, allows members for $10 a year to upload personal medical data to a secure website and receive a personal identification number. Members get cards to place behind their driver’s license, key fobs and stickers that can be put on, say, a bike helmet that show their identification number and the website address.

The program is currently available in a dozen markets and is expected to expand. Docvia trains ambulance medics to use the system. The website also allows medics to automatically generate text or email messages to designated family members notifying them where the patient is being taken by ambulance.”

Neat concept.

Cool Technology for Pharmacy – CareSpeak

Texting is a popular method of communication for nearly all walks of life nowadays. I fought the texting bug for a long time until I finally discovered that it was a quick and easy way to communicate with my wife and daughters throughout the day.

It was only a matter of time before texting made its way into healthcare as a viable option as a way to remind patients to take their medications. Texting has been used to increase medication compliance in certain disease states such as diabetes and pediatric liver transplant. This isn’t the case for all patient demographics as text reminders did not improve compliance with women taking oral contraceptives.

Nonetheless, the idea of using text messages to encourage patients to take their medication is the goal of CareSpeak and their line of available applications: MediM Alerts, Diabetes Monitor and MediM Alerts+.
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Conference note taking with a tablet PC

I took a trip to San Diego last Friday to visit with some colleagues. During one interesting conversation the subject of me using a tablet PC in place of almost any other type of computer came up. One of the things that has drawn me to tablet PCs is their functionality. They offer nearly everything I get from a laptop plus the added benefits of a touch screen and inking. While the touch screen is useful for navigating the web and playing with photos I find it most useful for taking notes, i.e. inking. I no longer carry one of those yellow legal pads that I see everyone writing on at meetings. What do people do with those legal pads when they’re full?
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Top blog posts and searches from last week (37)

Top blog posts and searches from last week (37)
I always find it interesting to see what brings people to my website and what they decided to read once they get here.
Most read posts over the past 7 days:

  1. Best iPhone / iPod Touch Applications for Pharmacists
  2. Automated unit-dose packagers for acute care pharmacy
  3. Cool Technology for Pharmacy (June 18,2009 – Alaris Smartpumps)
  4. Cool Technology for Pharmacy – Practice Fusion EMR
  5. Medscape Mobile for the BlackBerry
  6. Cool Technology for Pharmacy (September 10, 2009 – The Capsule Machine)
  7. Is the 30-minute rule for medication administration good or bad?
  8. Dell Streak to be integrated into healthcare solutions, Yippee!
  9. Cool Technology for Pharmacy – Baxa Repeater Pump
  10. Why automated medication kiosks could be good for pharmacy practice

Top searchterm phrases used over the past 7 days:

  1. “how to script in practice fusion”
  2. “Medscape mobile”
  3. “jerry fahrni”
  4. “transparency ”
  5. “black cloud”
  6. “mckesson carousel”
  7. “alaris pump”
  8. “baxa repeater pump”
  9. “free iphone apps for pharmacy students”
  10. “30 minute rule for medication administration”

Siemens West Coast User Group Meeting

I spent all day Thursday at San Francisco General Hospital (SF General) attending the annual Siemens West Coast User Group Meeting. The meetings are generally low key with a couple of formal presentations from Siemens customers located on the west coast, updates on upcoming releases of Siemens Pharmacy and BCMA system (MAK) and of course lots of discussion on hot topics.

For my part I re-presented the same slide deck that I used at Siemens Innovations only a few weeks ago. It wasn’t exactly the same, but pretty close. I did manage to make some minor changes. I also think it was a little smoother the second time around. Anyway, the other presentation was delivered by a Psych pharmacist at SF General. Apparently SF General has been experimenting with a Nursing-Pharmacist shadowing program. It’s an interesting concept. Following a survey assessing the perceived roles of nurses and pharmacists, and how well the two disciplines communicate, it was determined that there was a basic lack of understanding between the two professions. Really? Go figure. Based on that information SF General decided to enact a program where nurses spend time shadowing pharmacists and vice-versa. According to the presenter, the initial beta test went well and they are planning to go house wide with the program in January 2011.

Nursing and pharmacy have been at odds with each other since the beginning of time. Both groups operate in stressful environments where minutes seem to last forever. Pharmacists complain about nurses and nurses complain about pharmacists. It’s nothing new. The relationship between the two groups can be tenuous during good times, and downright vicious during times of high stress. The program at SF General sounds like a great way to gain a little understanding between the two disciplines. I applaud their effort and hope it works well. I’m looking forward to seeing the results of their experiment. Hopefully they will share the information with the rest of us.

Following the presentations a representative from Siemens gave the group an update on upcoming product releases for Pharmacy and MAK. The information was the same as that presented at Innovations, but no less interesting. I’m looking forward to implementing the newest releases of both systems as they offers functionality that I’ve been waiting for.

The hot topics segment of the user group meeting is always good as it raises some interesting items for discussion. Some of the topics are more controversial than others, but the discussion is always beneficial to those that chose to participate. It’s nice to know that you’re not the only one in the universe with a problem.

Overall I think the user group meeting was a success. I picked up a few little tidbits and did a little networking that may come in handy as I’m “working the spreadsheet”. *smile*

Dell Streak to be integrated into healthcare solutions, Yippee!

Dell announced today that it is going to integrate its Android-based mobile device, the Streak, into its healthcare solutions. The idea of a company the size of Dell working on something like this is truly exciting as it brings credibility to the Android platform in healthcare. In addition, you know the project is going to receive serious consideration and resources as Dell wouldn’t be willing to dump millions of dollars into something like this if they didn’t believe it would succeed. They clearly believe in the future of the Android OS. I would love to be involved in a project like this as it brings together so many fascinating technologies. In fact, I think I’ll dust off my resume and send a copy over to Dell. They’re bound to need a pharmacist on staff for something like this. Right?
Continue reading Dell Streak to be integrated into healthcare solutions, Yippee!