Upon further review – thoughts on ASHP Midyear 2012

I’ve just returned from a week in Las Vegas, NV at ASHP Midyear 2012. The ASHP Midyear conference is the pinnacle of clinical meetings each year for most acute care pharmacists. For me it’s not that interesting anymore as I don’t attend as a pharmacist. It just more work days for me; long work days. I didn’t attend a single “session”, but did manage to find some time to walk through the exhibit hall once and catch up with some old friends.

Enough of that, on with the thoughts:

  1. This year’s Midyear was the biggest I can recall in recent memory. I don’t have any numbers to back that up, but it just felt big. The exhibit hall was usually full.
  2. People were engaged. Everywhere I looked people were deep in conversation: the exhibit hall, waiting for elevators, over coffee, standing here and there, and so on. It was good to see people excited over whatever it was they were discussing.
  3. You can spot a pharmacy resident a mile away. Someone should reconsider what they’re telling the residents to wear these days, they all look alike.
  4. Too many suits and ties. Dude, relax. Those things don’t make you smarter, seriously. The first thing that pops into my mind when I see some guy in a suite is “used car salesman”. Just sayin’.
  5. Social media has finally settled in around pharmacy. It was good to see a real Twitter stream flowing from ASHP Midyear. You can read more about the Twitter stats from ASHP Midyear here.
  6. Lots of talk about the IV room and the NECC fiasco.
    • IV room safety/automation/technology was well represented in the exhibitor hall:
  7. Lots of talk about IV room robotics. See item #6 above. I haven’t seen this much interest in IV room robotics in years. I ran into two pharmacists that indicated they were purchasing an IV room robot and another who was “considering one”. That’s a lot.
  8. Biggest displays in the exhibit hall:
    • Baxter
    • Omnicell (I still see green bags when I close my eyes)
    • CareFusion
    • McKesson
    • Health Care Logistics
  9. Best exhibitor display has to go to Health Care Logistics. They always have a great booth and this year was no exception. They had a western theme going with gunfire and a dude doing tricks with pistols. It was cool.
  10. There seemed to be a fair amount of RFID products this year. I haven’t seen much in previous years, but this year was different. I hope that means that RFID’s time has come.
    • Talyst had an RFID-enabled refrigerator in their booth
    • MEPS Real Time, Inc had their Intelliguard system on display. I was able to spend a few minutes talking to the people in the booth and even received a quick demo. It’s really cool. The functionality on the med tray management system is well done.
    • Kit Check RFID-enabled med tray management system was there as well. I received a quick demo of that as well. Neat stuff.
    • SencorpWhite had literature referring to their RFID product line, but no product in the booth.
  11. Coolest technology I saw:
    • Medsnap – what a cool concept. Use a smartphone camera to visually identify an oral solid medication. The only negative is that it looks to only be available for iOS, which makes it worthless to me as I choose Android as my platform of choice. Maybe they’ll catch up given enough time.
    • S.E.A. IV Check – “IV Check measures IV samples in the hospital pharmacy or anywhere IVs are prepared, and instantly reports the drug, dose and diluent”. If it works as advertised why wouldn’t you use this technology to improve the safety of IV preparation?
    • Grifols Phocus Rx – I cannot find information online, but Grifols was displaying their new IV room product with components built directly into the hood. Their product is similar to other IV room products that use barcoding, cameras, and telepharmacy. The big difference with the new product is that the camera and touchscreen are built directly into the IV hood. I was thoroughly impressed. Love the concept. Love the technology. Love the design.

I had some great conversations with lots of people during the week. Some were kind enough to come by the booth and break up the monotony, while others met me after hours for dinner or simple conversation. Here are some of the conversations that immediately come to mind:

  1. Eric Kastango – Anyone that’s been in pharmacy for more than a few minutes know who Eric is.  He’s pretty much the go-to guy for anything that has to do with IV rooms, compounding safety and USP <797>. I’ve heard Eric speak on several occasions and have been corresponding with him via email for a couple of years. During that time we’ve tried to meet in person on several occasions, but the fates had conspired against us. Fortunately for me Eric went out of his way to drop by the booth and give me about 30 minutes of his time to discuss IV room safety, technology and the future. I wish I’d had about another two hours as his insight is greatly appreciated, especially now that things in the IV room are going to get infinitely more complicated.
  2. Mark Neuenschwander – Mark is an interesting guy and I love talking with him. He’s passionate about patient safety and is intimately involved in the unSUMMIT for Bedside Barcoding. He and I talked about patient safety, barcoding and IV room compounding one night over a plate of nachos and a coke. If you ever have a moment, and Mark is available, I encourage you to engage him in conversation.
  3. Denis Lebel (@Hamstav) – Denis and I met via Twitter. He’s the only guy I follow whose Tweets I have to run through a translator as he sometimes Tweets in French. Denis works in pediatrics and does some incredible research with auto-detection of fluid volume in syringes (YouTube video here). We talked quite a bit about his work, some about pediatric pharmacy, and a bit about the need for standards in healthcare. Great conversation.
  4. Kyle Townsend, Clinical Manger for Pharmacy Services at Billings Clinic in Billings, MT – I met Kyle several months ago while working on a project for work. He’s intimately involved in promoting the use of color on medication labels to enhance patient safety, and that’s what we talked about. If you’re interested in what he’s doing you can view an on-demand webinar he did back in January of 2012 (this year). He has some interesting things to say. He and Kastango should get together and discuss particulate matter and printers in the IV room.

That’s it, my thoughts on ASHP Midyear 2012. Until next year.

13 thoughts on “Upon further review – thoughts on ASHP Midyear 2012”

  1. #3 and #4 – LOL! Too true.

    You’re a good guy for mentioning the people who did you a solid. We need more of that.

    But, I’m disappointed you didn’t include an image of a coffee mug you discovered in Las Vegas. I was hoping for a good one. I guess what happens in Vegas, stays in Vegas.

  2. #5 – Really? This year I did not attend HIMSS, AMIA or ASHP MCM. The first two had terrific twitter streams with pearls all over the place. I felt that I got a real sense of the meetings. Also some some real education and a few laughs out of the streams.

    The ASHP twitter stream, uh hum – sucked. Mainly lame posts.

  3. I think it gets better every year John, and this year was no exception. Compare this years social media campaign to previous years. It continues to improve year to year. I remember the first year ASHP started promoting the use of Twitter, it was two people. I know you hate ASHP, but you really need to keep it in perspective. ASHP Midyear has never had the social media pull as say HIMSS. They’re different audiences with a different level of mobile technology engagement. The real problem is that pharmacists that would be most engaging no longer attend Midyear or have left to pursue other avenues. You mentioned not attending. I don’t think Kevin or Chad were there. I was tied to a booth as a demo jockey. Take it for what it is, which is steady improvement in a profession that has lagged in the social media space.

  4. Fair enough. I just recall being more satisfied with the stream last year. Perhaps we need a CE on Twitter best practices?

    On my disdain for ASHP, do not hate. I just think that they are a conference company disguised as a professional organization. We all would be better served the other way around.

  5. Jerry – thanks for the plug. I just happened to stumble across this while researching for a white paper for ACCP on how we can use technology to improve clinical pharmacy services! I like your site and will keep checking it out. Again, thanks!

  6. Jerry,

    SencorpWhite had a portable vertical carousel located in Grifols booth demonstrating how integrating RFID technology, vertical carousels, and software provides secure point-of-use inventory management for high-value and/or perishable pharmaceuticals, and medical implantables, devices, and instruments.

  7. Thanks for the link to the YouTube video, Brian. I love the technology, and how SencorpWhite has implemented it; definitely ahead of the curve. I look forward to seeing the RFID-enabled MicroVert and/or MiniVert in action sometime. – Jerry

  8. My first Midyear. Have to say I was impressed. Being it was in Vegas and opened by Bill Clinton it had a larger than life feeling. Great sessions. Awesome exhibit hall.

    Agree with you. Health Care Logistics ‘Front Street’ was out of this world. From the stagecoach to the hay bales and of course the trick shooter. What a great way to exhibit one’s new products. “Hey, Pardner, don’t forget to check out Health Care Logistics’ new pill crusher, you hear?” Helped to have free coffee and cupcakes after the western stage show as well. Marketing geniuses.

    Honorable mentions for marketing go out to the booth with the magician/prognosticator and the robot engaging pharmacists/residents to take a picture with him and get a free download of the pic from the net before being whisked off to check out a Pyxis-like product.

    What a great convention center. Don’t have any previous venues to compare with but was that Mandalay Bay Convention Center swanky or what? Loved having the folks with the loud speakers and arrows to help direct traffic through the labyrinth halls to help speed attendees to the right room.

    I would think the downside of having it in Vegas would have to be the expense. Nice rooms but it seems Vegas has got everything set up to maximize profits. I missed not having a fridge/microwave. Kind of minor stuff but made for having to get expensive meals each time one ate.

    All in all a very positive experience. I was enthralled and educated. I have to say probably not unlike the heady buzz of coming back from a rock your socks off Amway Convention. That kind of gets back to the comment someone made about a convention club masquerading as a professional organization. But there was definitely enough solid speakers and CE credit that the clinical aspect was definitely there.

    I would certainly attend another event. I was glad to get a larger view of pharmacy and get excited about my profession in an exotic locale.

  9. Thanks for the feedback, Zach. Midyear can be an exciting place to be. It’s an opportunity to gain information and catch up with old friends. An interesting note, I find the show more to my liking as I age and mature further into my career. Perhaps I’ve become nostalgic in my later years. And I think you’re spot on when it comes to ASHP holding it in Vegas, i.e. the expense of everything. After all, Vegas wasn’t built on the money that remained in people’s wallets.

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