“What’d I miss?” – Week of October 3, 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.

The Social Network was #1 at the box office last weekend. I haven’t seen it and am not sure that I want to. My family and I took in Easy A instead. It wasn’t at the top of my list, but I was outvoted. Fortunately for me it was better than I expected.

– I found this great article on “What’s Wrong With Writing Down Your Password?” over at How-To Geek. Good stuff and worth a look.

– Years ago I worked in a compounding pharmacy. I really liked the job and continue to have an interest in the subject, albeit a global interest at best. Anyway I receive a weekly newsletter from CompoundingToday that always includes a Letter from the Editor section written by Loyd Allen. This week he had a rant about the power instilled in government agencies. I don’t agree with everything he has to say, but it was a good read nonetheless. One interesting paragraph includes the following: “the bill is being “implemented” by governmental “agencies” and the implementation documentation is already double in size compared to the “passed” bill, and, the bureaucrats, they are just beginning! It is also interesting that a lot of “new” things are coming out that have not been previously discussed. Why is it that in the “interpretation and implementation” of a new law, many new things seem to be introduced?” That’s a good questions.

– I found a great little article at The Angry Pharmacist that talks about problems with different dosage forms and inconsistency among providers in how the information is communicated to pharmacies. Retail pharmacy really is a thankless job. I still don’t know why pharmacists subject themselves to it. I tried it for a while early on in my career and again a few years ago. I didn’t last long. The retail pharmacy environment wasn’t for me.

– Speaking of how retail pharmacists get abused, make sure to check out this article at KevinMD. A guest blogger takes a few unwarranted shots at the industry in general. It’s unfortunate, but the majority of consumers have no idea what goes on behind the scene in a retail pharmacy. It’s chaos on the best day, and many times the brunt of the consumer outrage is aimed at the wrong people. Be sure to read all the comments as well as the article. It’s pretty enlightening, and a bit entertaining.

– Anyone have any doubt that the iPad is impacting healthcare? EMR Daily News has a short blog post showing the growth of EMR/EHR applications in the iTunes App Store since the device landed on earth.

– How cool is this! medGadget : “Imec, an electronics research institute out of Leuven, Belgium, has teamed up with the R&D Holst Centre and TASS, a software company out of Augusta, Kansas, to create a mobile and wearable ECG system based around an Android smartphone.”

RxInformatics.com: ““A ground-breaking system for predicting how individual patients with HIV and AIDS will respond to different drugs is launched today”. After signing up and logging in I was humbled by my complete lack of HIV therapy and genomic knowledge. The user interface and idea is compelling. It is not hard to imagine a Diabetes/CV/Stroke/DVT/ Treatment Response Prediction System, integrated into an EHR that feed a data repository that had real time updates based on population outcomes” – The potential uses for such as system are staggering.

– Ah, those radiologists and their love of sharing information. CMIO.net : “GE Healthcare has completed a digital imaging repository (DI-r) that connects hospitals and medical centers throughout southwestern Ontario, Canada, enabling the sharing of patient health data across the region”. It’s a good start.

RxCalc 1.2 was approved in the App Store this week. A lot of work went into this version as we added some much needed functionality like extended interval aminoglycoside dosing and single level vancomycin kinetics. We also enlisted the help of an outside beta tester for the first time ever, and I’m grateful. The insight and feedback we received was very valuable. You can get more information on the latest release of RxCalc at the App Store or at the Apple Core Labs Weblog.

– An interesting thing happened on Twitter this week as some pharmacists got on the subject of powder papers. Powder papers are a long forgotten method of dispensing medications that have to be mixed from raw ingredients and for one reason or another can’t be encapsulated or packaged any other way. I haven’t made a powder paper in years, but I think it’s important to keep the history of pharmacy alive so I’ve included a video and a couple of links below that will give you a better idea of what I’m talking about. Thanks to @psweetman for the video and links.

Also look here and here for additional information.

– According to The Digital Reader, Augen is going to be releasing six new Android based tablets in the near future. This is very exciting news if the company can pull it off. I’m especially interested in the Expresso doppio model depicted on the site. The design is a dual boot system, Android/Ubuntu, a clamshell case with keyboard and a 10.2” multi-touch screen. Almost sounds too good to be true. I have my fingers crossed that’s it’s real. The tablet market is humming along with activity and I can’t wait to see what hits the market over the next six months.

– Check out the giant touchscreen vending machine at the Engadget site. Oh boy, I can see so many applications for something like this in pharmacy; drug information, patient access, dispensing kiosks, and so on and so forth. How do I get my hands on one of these bad boys?

– HTC introduced a new concept this week, HTCSense.com. There’s a lot going on here, but the nuts and bolts of it is that you can now use the cloud to backup and archive important information directly from your Android mobile device. The service includes contacts, text messages, call history, etc. You can get more information here. This is only the beginning.

Meridia (sibutramine) was voluntarily removed from the market this week secondary to clinical data suggesting an increased risk of heart attack and stroke. Sibutramine is used to treat obesity by blocking the reuptake of norepinephrine, serotonin and dopamine. It has a laundry list of side effects, precautions and warning.

– Worst quote ever by a pharmacist: “I liked it when I could learn everything I needed to know about a drug from a professionally prepared advertisement. Ads like that are much easier to read than clinical articles, because Big Pharma really wants me to read them.” What! I had to read it twice myself. I won’t provide the link to the article, but suffice it to say that I’m disappointed by that statement. When you start using Big Pharma propaganda  to build your pharmacy drug knowledgebase, then it’s time to call it quits. Pharmacists are the drug experts. We know things about medications that can only be found in the primary literature after careful reading and evaluation. Advertisements in “magazines” are designed to drive consumers to ask for medications and get physicians to prescribe the latest and greatest. It’s like selling cars. In the same article the pharmacist also makes an interesting comment about “Vancocin” that would cause any self respecting pharmacist reading the article to raise their eyebrow and throw up a red flag. Pharmacy journals, even the “throw aways”, should be more careful with the information they allow to grace their pages. Physicians and pharmaceutical companies use information like this as a sword when it’s actually about as sharp as a doorknob. I’m just sayin’.

The Unofficial Apple Weblog has a nice compilation of iPhone 5 rumors. I love the rate at which smartphones are being developed, but it sure makes it hard to keep up. Do you think we’re headed for a time when you’ll lease a smartphone instead of purchasing one? With the development of cloud storage it may be time to consider the model; mobile-as-a-service, MaaS anyone?

KevinMD : “What if you could improve patient safety, cut costs, broaden your medical knowledge and find 20% more time in your workday? On October 1, 2010, that is just what we can expect when clinical pharmacists move from the back room to the bedside in ten general medical units at the Hospital of the University of Pennsylvania.” – Seems like they’re a little late to the party, but I suppose better late than never. Like several thousand other pharmacists, I’ve been preaching this for years: get the pharmacist out of the physical pharmacy and to the bedside. How do you accomplish such a goal? Easy, liberal use of technology and by expanding the role of pharmacy technicians. C’mon ASHP, help me out here. Let’s hope your PPMI Summit does the trick.

– On a similar note I sent CSHP (California Society of Health-System Pharmacists) an email asking them for their position on tech-check-tech in the acute care setting. Their response was, how shall we say, weak. I shot them another email asking for clarification, but haven’t received a response. When I do I’ll update everyone on the progress.

Fast Company: “Patents are re-injecting some intrigue into the thoughts about touchscreen iMacs, and potential MagSafe connectors for the iPad could hint that Apple plans wireless syncing at last.” – Let’s hope so. Mac is seriously lacking in their cloud development as well as the use of touchscreens on their laptops. I’m hoping the new MacBook Air will include a touchscreen. I still say it would make an awesome tablet.

– Football season is in full swing and I couldn’t be more thrilled. Well, I could if my Cardinals weren’t so bad. Anyway, some intriguing games in the NFL this week include:

  • Kansas City at Indianapolis – I know it’s early in the season, but who would have thought the Chiefs would be the last unbeaten team in the NFL.
  • Green Bay at Washington
  • Chicago at Carolina – Carolina is just plain bad, but the Bears don’t exactly look like champions either. I’m curious to see if the Bears defense can keep them in the game with a backup quarterback filling in for Cutler.
  • Minnesota at NY Jets – The Jets look good. I want to see if the Vikings are any better on offense with the addition of Randy Moss. I’m not a big fan of Moss, but he can still light-up a defense when he wants to. Farve looks old, which is funny because he and I are the same age. Funny.

– College football is more exciting than the NFL at the moment and there are some great games today. I’m a PAC-10 guy at heart so I’ll be watching UCLA at Cal, Oregon State at Arizona and USC at Stanford. I wanted to attend college at Stanford, but didn’t have the brain power for it. My application never made it past the initial screening process. My daughter says she wants to attend Stanford, and as a high school junior it’s about time to start applying. She’s a lot smarter than her dad so I think I may get an opportunity to live vicariously through her.

– Would someone please stop Major League Baseball already, it’s taking up valuable air time that should be dedicated to the NFL. Look, I loved playing baseball as a kid, but as a adult I find it about as fun as watching grass grow. There may be ten minutes of action in a three hour game, maybe. It’s the only sport where the best game you can play is one in which two guys play catch for three hours while everyone else watches, i.e. a perfect game. Football, hockey and basketball are sports that involve constant action. Extend the football season and limit baseball to the summer months. Please, I’m begging you.

Have a great weekend everyone.

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