Saturday morning coffee [December 8 2012]

So much happens each and every week that it’s hard to keep up sometimes. Here are some of the tabs that are open in my browser this morning along with some random thoughts….

The coffee mug to the right comes from Jason DeVillains, better known to many as The Cynical Pharmacist. Jason and I met via Twitter (@TheCynicalRPH) and have been chitchatting via the web ever since. I mentioned that I was running low on coffee mugs and he decided to help me remedy the problem by sending me four of them. When my daughter and I opened the box this particular mug made her laugh, so I felt that it only fitting that it be the first one to make an appearance online. Jason also has a blog aptly called The Cynical Pharmacist, where he talks about all kinds of stuff; some healthcare related, some not. He has an interesting blogging style where he makes good use of video clips. Check it out.

The Twilight Saga: Breaking Dawn: Part 2 was #1 at the box office last weekend pulling in just about $17.5 Million. Skyfall was a close second with $16.5 Million. That says something about the quality of Skyfall as it continues to draw big crowds even after being out for four weeks.

– ASHP Midyear was this week in Las Vegas. It was a major event as usual. My thoughts on the conference can be found here. The best part of the trip to Vegas may have been seeing ZZ Top live at the House of Blues on Wednesday night, December 5. Those guys are getting up there in age, but they can still play. They are on the road promoting their new album, La Futura. They played for a little more than an hour, hitting all their most popular songs and finishing with an extended version of La Grange. Great show.

– Google is now adding medication information to their Knowledge Graph. Search for a medication in Google and you’ll get a summary of the drug in the right column of your search page. The information comes from the U.S. National Library of Medicine, the Department of Veterans Affairs, and the FDA. Pretty cool.

Google+ now offers communities. Interesting concept. I’m been invited to join a few. I’m not sure how well they’ll work, but it’s worth a shot. I think Google+ is a great place to do a lot of things. I’ve been trying to get my colleagues at work to use the hangout feature to video conference, but I can’t get them to come out of the 1980’s. They still think email is high-tech.

– The October 2012 issue of The Annals of Pharmacotherapy has an article on “Continuous and Extended Infusions of ß-Lactam Antibiotics in the Pediatric Population”. The authors did a literature search to conclude that more studies are needed. Funny how that works. Pharmacists and physicians have been using continuous infusion ß-Lactams in pediatrics for a long time. We were using them more than a decade ago when I was practicing pediatrics at a local hospital here in the Valley. Ceftazidime was the most commonly used drug at the time, but I’ve seen others. The beauty of ß-Lactams is that they have a very low risk of causing harm from “overdose”, therefore they’re good candidates when one needs to push the envelope on dosing.

– Speaking of pediatrics, Archives of Disease In Childhood has an article on pharmacy interventions in pediatric electronic prescriptions. The authors take a look at electronic prescriptions for pediatric patients admitted to a Netherlands hospital between March 2004 and January 2008. Not surprisingly the authors found that “the risk for ‘free-text’ prescriptions was five times higher than for ‘standardised structured template’ prescriptions”. They conclude that “Paediatric prescribing errors occur frequently and are not completely prevented by electronic prescribing systems.” Expected outcome. Unfortunately the data for the study is more than four years old, basically making it useless.

Pharmacy Practice News: “Having pharmacists in the emergency department (ED) and intensive care units (ICUs) can reduce drug costs and improve patient care and safety, according to a trio of studies.” – Not a surprise. Pharmacists can do a lot of good when accepted by teams in areas of higher-than-average acuity like the ICU and ED. I spent two years working in a pediatric ICU satellite and another three covering both an adult ICU and an adult CCU (cardiac). After proving that you you’re not an idiot the nurses and physicians tend to rely on you for a lot: questions, dosing recommendations, consultation for ADRs, and so on. It’s good stuff, and challenging.

GottaBeMobile: “The Popslate is a thin, rugged iPhone 5 case that adds a 4-inch E-Ink display to the back of the phone which lets users choose what image they want to display to the world at any given time.” If you know me then you know that I’m not an Apple fan, but this case is cool. What a great concept.

– Want to see a Samsung Galaxy Note 2 used as a desktop computer? Well, you’re in luck. Just check out the video below. Impressive, most impressive.

– Samsung has introduced a new portable MP3 player called the Samsung Muse. It looks like a medium sized black rock. The cool thing about the Muse is that it syncs audio files with your Samsung smartphone. Basically you don’t need a computer to get your music onto an MP3 player. It really is a neat concept. This is the perfect gift for my wife for Christmas. Shhh! Don’t say anything. She currently uses her Samsung smartphone at the gym while racking up the miles on the treadmill. Now she won’t have to.

HIT Consultant: “Medication reconciliation is not a trivial task….Keeping accurate lists of all the medications prescribed to an individual by all the various healthcare providers involved in that care has historically been a vexing challenge…Perhaps the best approach is to create a patient-centered place to download all the lists kept by each doctor, mash them together into a coherent global list, and report that list to each of the doctors seeing the patient. That is one of the important roles of a Universal PHR, as this technology starts to take its place in the U.S. healthcare landscape.” – Interesting take on the medication reconciliation problem. My solution? Use a pharmacist to do it. No-brainer.

– And from the Fluid Interface Group at MIT Media Lab here’s a device called LuminAR that “reinvents the traditional incandescent bulb and desk lamp, evolving them into a new category of robotic, digital information devices. The LuminAR Bulb combines a Pico-projector, camera, and wireless computer in a compact form factor. This self-contained system enables users with just-in-time projected information and a gestural user interface, and it can be screwed into standard light fixtures everywhere”. Did you catch that? It turns a normal incandescent bulb and desk lamp into a virtual touch surface. Yeah, that’s cool. <cough>…IV room.

– Don’t think human contact with a patient after discharge makes a difference? Well, think again. A study at the University of Wisconsin School of Medicine and Public Health found that weekly telephone contact with a nurse substantially reduced admissions for high-risk patients, i.e. those having having dementia or some other impairment in memory, over 65 years old and living alone, or over 65 years old with a previous hospitalization in the last year. Pharmacists should be using telepharmacy to do the same thing with high risk adherence patients.

– Still looking for something to buy me for Christmas? Look no further than the Portabee 3D Printer Kit. Yeah, it’s a 3D printer for less than $500. Every red-blooded American male should have one of these.

– I continue to hear grumbles about Windows 8. It’s not that bad people. In fact, it works quite well on a touch screen tablet. However, if you’re not on a touchscreen tablet I’ve found the following keyboard shortcuts to be quite helpful:

  • Windows Key: Switches between the Start screen and the last application used (this has been quite handy)
  • Windows-C: Charms bar
  • Windows-D: Desktop
  • Windows-E: Opens the computer/file explorer
  • Windows-I: Settings
  • Windows-R: Run dialog box
  • Windows-X: Simple Start menu (find myself using this quite a bit as well)

-          I continue to be intrigued by the new Dell XPS 12 Convertible Touch screen Ultrabook. I told myself that I would never purchase another Dell, but the XPS 12 is a compelling machine. The thing that will keep me from buying it is a lack of pen support. I think Dell got the form factor right though. GottaBeMobile has a solid review of the unit here. With that said, I still think I’ll wait for Surface Pro to see what everyone thinks before making a purchasing decision. I already have a new stylus picked out, the Bamboo Stylus feel.

-          I mentioned yesterday that I thought IV robotics was gaining interest in pharmacy following the NECC compounding problems. The two gorillas in the IV robotics game are Health Robotics and Intelligent Hospital Systems (IH Systems). According to a Times Columnist article IH Systems may have the edge. “RIVA, the fully automated IV compounding system manufactured by Intelligent Hospital Systems (IH Systems), is ahead of competitors in overall performance, meeting business case expectations and customer satisfaction, according to a new study of IV automation systems by independent healthcare research firm KLAS.”

And there you have it folks, another cup of coffee polished off. Have a great weekend everyone.

One thought on “Saturday morning coffee [December 8 2012]”

  1. Hey, I didn’t even notice the mug, thanks for the mention. Midvale – that’s where I went to high school when someone snapped that picture of me trying to get in. They made a mug out of it. I’m looking for a AZ Cardinals mug to send you, I’m expecting them to be on sale soon.

    ZZ Top has always been one of my favorite bands.

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