“What’d I miss?” – Week of March 13, 2011

As usual there were a lot of things that happened over the past week, and not all of it was related to pharmacy automation and technology. Here are some of the things I found interesting.

Battle: Los Angeles was #1 at the box office last weekend; definitely my kind of movie. My family and I saw it yesterday and I thoroughly enjoyed it. It’s the kind of movie that gets your blood pumping and pulls on the American pride strings a bit. I’d see it again.

I came across an interesting article in the American Journal of Pharmaceutical Education on Selecting a Clinical Intervention Documentation System for an Academic Setting authored by Brent Fox. Brent is a pharmacist and professor at Auburn University Harrison School of Pharmacy. He’s a great guy and a brilliant informatics pharmacist. Anyway, Auburn ended up going with Quantifi by Pharmacy OneSource out of Bellevue, WA. It’s an interesting article.

Drug Topics: “Warehouse retailer Sam’s Club has launched what may be the country’s largest retail preventive health program targeting consumers and small businesses. The Prevention Plan, which costs $99 per year, is an online health screening and primary prevention program similar to plans already being marketed to employer groups. The retailer is also launching free in-store health screening programs that include an individual pharmacy consultation, blood-pressure checks, bone-density scans, BMI assessment, cholesterol and blood-glucose testing, hearing exams, and eye exams.” – Great job by Sam’s Club, and poor job by healthcare systems across the country. It’s a sad day indeed when a retail outlet begins providing better preventative care than local hospitals and clinics.

Engadget: “Soon Japanese drivers will never be far from a place to charge their EV, either. Forking Company, which oversees 1.2 million vending machines across Japan, is going to start working with Panasonic to deploy chargers for electric vehicles along with those machines. It’s a potentially perfect solution, since these stations already having power and, often, connectivity.” – I found this interesting for a couple of reasons. First, I think it would be cool to use this type of vending machine for medication dispensing. Second, isn’t the idea of sitting in your car having something cold to drink while you surf the internet waiting for your car to “charge up” funny? Yeah, I think so too.

Since seeing the UCSF robotics video several days ago I’ve been looking more closely at Swisslog automation. I found the video below on YouTube that does a pretty decent job of showing off the nuts and bolts of the system. And I’m excited to report that I will be going to UCSF for a tour of the pharmacy. Very exciting stuff.

Talyst and Sparton Corporation announced a partnership agreement this week. We all know that Talyst builds pharmacy automation solutions, but what does Sparton do? According to the press release they empower “customers vision as a provider of complex and sophisticated electromechanical devices with capabilities that include concept development, industrial design, design and manufacturing engineering, production, distribution, and field service to technology-driven companies in the medical device, defense & security systems, and electronic manufacturing services markets.” Apparently Sparton was part of the Talyst AutoCool product back in the day.

Mashable: “Adobe has finally released Flash Player 10.2 for Android. Its release marks the availability of Flash for Android 3.0.1 Honeycomb, Google’s OS for tablets. While Flash 10.2 for Android boasts performance enhancements that improve the experience on mobile, the thrust of this update is to bring Flash to tablet devices like the Motorola Xoom.” – I’ve been following the Android tablet market closely for quite some time. Anyone that reads this site knows, I’m a fan of the Android platform. Unfortunately the Android tablet market remains quite immature at the moment. Even though I’m eagerly waiting for an Android tablet worthy of my hard earned mula, I’m starting to think more and more that a Windows slate would make more sense.

I really like what I see out of the Lenovo Hybrid U1. I love the hybrid design with Windows while in the dock and Android when in slate mode. I’ve talked to people about this before, but didn’t think anyone would actually have the foresight to make it happen. Bravo Lenovo. Note to demo guy – practice docking tablet prior to next demo. See video below


Here’s a news flash for you, “Removing menthol from cigarettes would improve public health, according to a report from the FDA’s Tobacco Products Scientific Advisory Committee (TPSAC).” Wow, there’s some insightful information from the FDA.

Fast Company: “CoolPlanet claims that it can develop “carbon-negative fuels” that can replace gasoline found in cars in the road today. The company’s secret sauce is a thermal/mechanical processor that extracts hydrocarbons from biomass, leaving behind excess carbon in solid form. That biochar can be sequestered and used as a soil conditioner or burned as a coal substitute.” – Google just dumped a truck load of money on CoolPlanet to develop their biofuel. Good luck boys, I’m pulling for you.

mobihealthnews : “This week during a panel focused on mobile health apps at the South By South West (SXSW) event in Austin, Texas, the four panelists offered up a handful of “landmines” that are currently embedded in the way developers and service providers are approaching mobile health.” – The landmines included: sloppy behavior change strategies, ignoring the data silo problem, the real market is not “patients” and the assumption that people are logical about health. Interesting read.

I love the idea of the Chrome Cr-48 laptop. The idea of a cloud based computing platform makes me feel all warm and fuzzy inside. A recent post by Louis Gray gives me hope that we’ll see more of it in the future. Speaking about his recent experience at the SXSW conference in Austin, TX Louis says “I expect to leave Austin on Monday with the same number of devices I came here with – three. Between the CR-48, my Samsung Galaxy Tab and my Android-based Samsung Epic, I can do everything I need to, including schedule my SXSW itinerary with the show’s dedicated app.” I hold great respect for Mr. Gray’s opinion as I find him to be one of the few unbiased tech reporters on the net.

Do you know what value-based purchasing (VBA) is? Well, VBA “is a payment methodology that holds health care providers accountable for the quality and cost of the services they provide by a system of rewards and consequences, conditional upon achieving pre-specified performance measures.” In other words, if you do good work you’ll get paid, otherwise you won’t. Hmm, sounds a lot like the same standard that most working class people are held to. If you want to learn more you can stop by the Deloitte website. More detailed information provided by Deloitte can be found here (PDF).

PharmTech.com: “Pharma’s manufacturing and supply chain needs a “radical overhaul” because it is underused, inefficient, and ill-equipped to cope with new types of products that will be coming to market in the near future, according to a report from PricewaterhouseCoopers (PwC).” – As an acute care pharmacist I tend to think inside the confined space of the pharmacy I’m working in; after all a pharmacy has to deal with supply chain problems all the time. Well, it makes sense that supply chains extend far beyond my little world. Unfortunately the problems run downhill and will directly impact patient care in the future if something isn’t done to straighten them out.

And to leave you with something on the lighter side:

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