Android App: Tarascon Prescriber’s Essentials

I never had much use for the Tarascon Pharmacopoeia, but I got a lot of mileage out of the Johns Hopkins ABX Guide.

From Google Play: Tarascon Prescriber’s Essentials

The Prescriber’s Essentials Android App is a combination of the award-winning Tarascon Pharmacopoeia and the Johns Hopkins POC-IT Center ABX Guide, now available for your Android device.

This must-have resource contains vital information on thousands of drugs and antimicrobials to help clinicians make better decisions at the point-of-care.

Prescriber’s Essentials Features Include:

  • Convenient and quick portable access on your Android device
  • Continuous drug updates for 12 months
  • A fully integrated tool for multiple drug interaction checking
  • 47 invaluable drug reference tables and 15 dynamic calculators
  • Extensive pediatric drug dosing
  • Anti-microbial agents
  • Infectious diseases
  • Commonly-encountered pathogens


Lexi-Drugs to include CHEST guideline and Beers Criteria

This is pretty cool. The CHEST guideline was always useful when it came to cardiology and the use of anticoagulants. And for those of you that don’t know, the Beers Criteria is a list of potentially inappropriate medications for use in the elderly. When I did LTC medicine we kept a pretty close eye on the “Beer’s List”.

You can find more information on Lexi-Drugs here.

Medication reconciliation on an internal medicine unit in French hospital [Article]

Interesting abstract from Presse Medicale (Paris, France) talking about medication reconciliation on an internal medicine unit in a French hospital. The authors found lots or discrepancies, which isn’t a surprise. They also found that pharmacists could help identify and correct many of the discrepancies, which also isn’t a surprise.

Like many other articles I’ve read recently, this one is from data collected quite a while ago. The information was obtained from 61 patients between  June and October 2010. The article is from the March 2012 issue of the journal. I always marvel at how long it takes study results to get published.

Foiled again!

A couple of months ago I received an email from the ASHP Section of Pharmacy Informatics and Technology (SOPIT). It basically said, “hey dude, you’re a pharmacy informatics guy. You should throw your hat in the ring for a position on the SOPIT Executive Committee.” My initial reaction was to ignore it as these things never go well for me. My personality isn’t general suited for committee work. I know this.

However, the issue wouldn’t go away. A couple of weeks later it popped up again as a friend and colleague shot me an email asking why I hadn’t completed the on-line biographical nomination form and upload my Curriculum Vitae for a position on the SOPIT Executive Committee. I gave the canned response that I wasn’t interested and that type of thing wasn’t for me. But the seed had been planted. About a week later I logged into the ASHP website and proceeded to jump through all the hoops associated with running for one of the positions on the executive committee. You know, lots of questions about how you would change the world and make it a far better pharmacy friendly place to live.

Anyway, I was informed today via email that not only did I not get nominated for a position on the executive committee; I didn’t even make the cut to be included on the list of possible candidates. Ouch! Here’s the actual wording “The Section of Pharmacy Informatics and Technology’s Committee on Nominations met this month to develop a slate of candidates for the summer 2012 elections. We received many letters and nominations for the two offices of the Section. Unfortunately, we were not able to slate you for this year’s election. “ Doh!

I won’t lie, my ego took a hit. Even though I’m generally not well suited to sit on committees I thought this would be cool. Should have gone with my gut and ignored the email. Humility is a good thing, but sometimes being humbled stings a bit. Better to think you turned them down than the other way around.

I’ll eventually get over it. People are resilient that way. In the meantime I’m forming my own committee of which I will be the Executive Vice President; I’m not President material. Haven’t decided what the committee will do, but it must involve Diet Pepsi, popcorn and movies. If you’re interested in being on the committee let me know. Space is limited.

Pharmacy technician program standards draft from ASHP now available for comment

This was part of my ASHP NewsLink today - A draft of the updated, revised “Accreditation Standards for Pharmacy Technician Education and Training Programs” [from ASHP] is now available for comment until September 28. After this date, another draft will be developed and made available for one more round of comments.

According to the document “the role of the pharmacy technician is evolving and varies according to state and setting. This role description draws on the one developed by the Pharmacy Technician Educators Council (PTEC)”, and the standards have been developed to:

  • protect the public,
  • serve as a guide for pharmacy technician education and training program development,
  • provide criteria for the evaluation of new and established programs, and
  • promote continuous improvement of established programs.

You can see the actual document here.

Kind of cool, except for the fact that the comment period is open until September followed by another round of comments. At this rate we should have a nice set of standards by the end of… uh…hmm, 2013? Woohoo! Light speed ahead.

Article: A pharmacist-led information technology intervention for medication errors (PINCER)

From a recent article in The Lancet (The Lancet, Volume 379, Issue 9823, Pages 1310 – 1319, 7 April 2012)

Kind of man versus machine study. Actually, it was more like man plus machine versus machine alone.

The control group practices therefore used simple feedback; after collection of data at baseline, control practices received computerised feedback for patients identified as at risk from potentially hazardous prescripting and inadequate blood-test monitoring of medicines plus brief written educational materials explaining the importance of each type of error. Practices were asked to introduce changes they considered necessary within 12 weeks after the collection of data at baseline. Intervention practices received simple feedback plus a pharmacist-led information technology complex intervention (PINCER) lasting 12 weeks.”
Continue reading Article: A pharmacist-led information technology intervention for medication errors (PINCER)

People are irrational

Two disclaimers:

  1. To be absolutely clear, this is a rant. Sometimes I rant to my wife, other times on paper. This time I felt compelled to throw it up here.
  2. I’m a tablet PC fan, and this is my opinion. If you have an alternate opinion, that’s cool. If you want to talk about tablets with me, by all means let’s talk. I love it when people show me cool things they’ve done with their tablets. But if you want to argue with me about my opinion, fell free to stay away. People that want to counter my opinion with useless drivel tend to do nothing more than make me think less of them than I already do. And trust me when I say that I have a pretty low opinion of most people to start with. Not all people mind you, but many. It’s unfortunate I know, but society in general has done little to change my mind.

Ok, let’s begin ….
Continue reading People are irrational

Article: The costs of adverse drug events in community hospitals

The article below appeared in the March 2012 edition of Joint Commission Journal on Quality and Patient Safety – yes, that’s a real journal. I couldn’t make this stuff up – Anyway, there’s nothing new here, we all know that ADEs are expensive. How expensive? Well, the bottom line is that “ADEs were associated with an increased adjusted cost of $3,420 and an adjusted increase in length of stay (LOS) of 3.15 days”. Depending on the number of ADEs your facility has you could easily use these numbers to justify the services of a pharmacist.

The only problem with the information is that it’s from a 20-month period between January 2005 and August 2006. I hate to break it to you Joint Commission Journal on Quality and Patient Aafety, but that makes the information all but useless. Interesting, but useless.

Quick Hit: Update on keeping up with medical literature with MedInfoNow

Wow, it’s hard to believe that it’s been over four months since I posted this piece on using MedInfoNow. The post caught the attention of someone at MedInfoNow, which resulted in some interesting dialogue in the form of email exchange and a couple of phone calls. I found the company to be genuinely interested in how their customers (clients?) use their product and what they can do to improve the experience.
Continue reading Quick Hit: Update on keeping up with medical literature with MedInfoNow

Ambiguous and Dangerous Abbreviations article results in interesting comment

There’s a little blurb in the March 2012 issue of Pharmacy Times about the dangers of using inappropriate abbreviations in prescriptions. The author gives a couple of good examples where the use of abbreviations resulted in errors. I’ve seen my fair share of crappy handwriting and liberal use of abbreviations during my career, and I almost always read articles that talk about the problem. I find them interesting.

Anyway, there’s nothing particularly interesting about this article, but Mitch Fields, RPh left the following comment:

Well, yet another article re: dangerous and ambiguous “pharmacy” abbreviations in a pharmacy journal. I’ve seen dozens such articles over the past 30+ years, and they all suffer from the same problem: they don’t belong in the journals of practitioners who READ prescriptions, they belong in the journals of the practitioners who WRITE prescriptions!

That is one of the most logical things I’ve ever read. Mitch makes a great point.