Saturday morning coffee [January 26 2013]

Amsterdam Coffee MugSo 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 straight from Amsterdam. I stopped there back in November 2011 on my way to Germany on a work trip. It’s a dirty city with a weird vibe to it. Everyone smokes and you better watch your butt or you’re likely to get run down by a bicycle, which appears to be a popular form of transportation. I walked through the Red Light District just to say that I’ve seen it. It was disturbing and depressing. It’s sad to see that kind of thing in my opinion.  Overall I didn’t like Amsterdam. You can have it. By the way, that’s a pretty big coffee mug. It hold a lot of coffee.

Mama was #1 at the box office last weekend, which leads me to ask the question, “what’s wrong with you people”. I’ve never understood the desire to be scared, or grossed out by a movie. Life is real enough. I go to the movies to be entertained. My family and I went to see Hansel and Gretel: With Hunters last night. Not bad. It could have been better, but at least it was entertaining.

– I am still looking for some pharmacy schools in the United States that are doing research on automation and technology. I’ve only had one person throw out a potential site. I want to see what schools of pharmacy are doing to prepare our profession for the future. Hey, if you’re not driving the bus you’re just along for the ride, and if you’re just along for the ride you can’t complain about the destination. Just stating the obvious folks.

Super Bowl XLVII is set ladies and gentlemen. We have the San Francisco 49ers versus the Baltimore Ravens. I’ve never been a 49ers fan and am definitely pulling for the Ravens. Either way it should be a good game. One thing is for certain, a win by the 49ers would be bad for football fans like me because it would mean that every team in the NFL will be out looking for a quarterback to run the read-option. I hate that crap.

EMR Daily News: “Shareable Ink has announced it has experienced 300 percent year-over-year growth and has doubled its team since January 2012.” – I like Shareable Ink. It’s a cool technology, kind of a bridge between the here and now and the future. I first wrote about Shareable Ink back in November 2009, and I’ve watched it grow ever since. I told myself a long time ago that I’d get around to playing with Shareable Ink at some point, but it’s never happened.

Caffeine pharmacology: “…the principal mode of action [for caffeine] is as a nonselective antagonist of adenosine receptors. The caffeine molecule is structurally similar to adenosine, and binds to adenosine receptors on the surface of cells without activating them (an “antagonist” mechanism of action). Therefore, caffeine acts as a competitive inhibitor. Some of the secondary effects of caffeine are probably caused by actions unrelated to adenosine. Like other methylated xanthines, caffeine is both a: 1) competitive nonselective phosphodiesterase inhibitor which raises intracellular cAMP, activates PKA, inhibits TNF-alpha and leukotriene synthesis, and reduces inflammation and innate immunity . Caffeine is also added to agar, which partially inhibits the growth of Saccharomyces cerevisiae by inhibiting cyclic AMP phosphodiesterase; and a 2)nonselective adenosine receptor antagonist.”

– I am happy to report that Surface Pro will be available February 9. A little later than expected, but who’s counting. I’m really quite excited about its arrival. Can’t wait to get my hands on one. With a Core i5 processor and pen support I could potentially see myself replacing both my laptop and my Lenovo x201t tablet PC with it. I’m sure I can dock it to my external monitor, keyboard and mouse like I do with my laptop now, and it can obviously replace my aging two year old tablet pc. Sounds plausible anyway. I bet traveling with it will be cool. The only problem now is trying to justify the cost. I’m thinking of selling off a few of my toys as a way to justify its purchase.

– It looks like the Samsung Galaxy Note 8 may be a reality. A quick Google search will take you to a plethora of sites with photos and quotes from Samsung indicating that the tablet will be launched at the upcoming Mobile World Congress 2013 in Barcelona next month. This is the tablet I designed for myself on paper a long time ago. I dig the smaller form factor, and have been very happy with my Samsung Galaxy Tab 7.0 Plus. Throw in a pen driven interface and boom, awesome device. If the price point is what I’ve seen in various places, around $250, then I’m in.

– I really want to go to the Digital Signage Expo (DSE). Some of the stuff they have on display there is pretty cool. Healthcare could learn a thing or two from them. The conference is being held in Las Vegas February 26-28. Wonder if my boss would let me go?

– Why do people in healthcare always have to make things so hard? Skype is a great, low cost telemedicine alternative. It’s easy to use and ubiquitous. But it appears that those with decision making authority may not appreciate the common sense in this approach. According to an article at mobihealthnews Skype may not be all that HIPAA wants it to be. HIPAA sucks. It creates more problems than it solves.

– I was sitting in a meeting a while back and an idea struck me that I thought was pretty cool. I doodled it on a piece of paper (image below), which I later added details to, created little wireframes, etc. I actually went as far as to talk to a couple of people about building this little device. Well, Sony beat me to it. “Sony’s Personal Content Station (aka the “LLS-201”) has just been pegged with an April 30th release date in Japan. The $299, 1TB drive uses NFC for quick pairing with Android phones and tablets, followed by an app for managing the actual backups over WiFi.” (Engadget). Good idea, just a little slow on the execution of it. I want one.

nfc idea

– The FDA has ok’d the first ever OTC remedy for overactive bladder in women. The medication, made by Merck goes by the trade name Oxytrol, which is simply oxybutynin, Oxybutynin has a direct antispasmodic effect on smooth muscle and inhibits muscarinic action of acetycholine. The bladder happens to contain smooth muscle. So if your bladder is “overactive”, i.e. it contracts involuntarily, oxybutynin may help. The side effects of the drug are related to its anticholinerigic activity, which makes them all too predictable: constipation, dry mouth, etc.


– What ever happened to drug information services in large healthcare systems? I remember when I wanted to go into drug information. It was a very interesting specialty; sort of a cross between pharmacist, medical librarian and informatics. Unfortunately many were cut in the 90’s as a way to save money, and they were never resurrected. Bummer. I think we’ve reached a new place in the profession where it’s time to bring them back. Pharmacist should remember that they remain healthcare’s leading experts in knowledge about drugs.

– The FDA is considering tougher restrictions on certain pain medications like “Vicodin” (hydrocodone/acetaminophen). According to Medical Xpressthe medications are classified as Schedule III drugs but the DEA wants them placed within the more tightly controlled Schedule II designation, alongside painkillers such as Oxycontin and Percocet. The FDA is not required to follow the recommendations of its advisory panels, but it typically does”. This really doesn’t bother me all that much as I think Vicodin itself is over prescribed, but doing this to the entire class of medications is a mistake.

-I just thought this was cool. “In this video, Ari Gross introduces us to an exhibit at the Chemical Heritage Foundation called “Visualizing the Invisible,” which showcases such visualizations in two dimensions, beginning with alchemical cosmology. These images are etched into the walls on CHF’s second floor.”

MIT Technology Review offers some very interesting articles, and this week was no exception. The topic of perceptual computing was discussed. Perpetual computing is a term coming out of the Intel camp. “Perceptual computing isn’t a specific product or platform. Instead, like “cloud computing,” it’s an open-ended vision for what computers should be able to do. With perceptual computing, Intel envisions a new kind of interface for devices that will let users switch fluently between keyboards, trackpads, touch screens, voice commands, and gestures—or use several modes of interaction at once.” It’s a cool concept.

P&T. 2012 December, 38(12):664-665: “More than four and a half years and two final Meaningful Use rules later, it is safe to say that we are no closer to interoperability in spite of the nearly $10 billion spent. With the bar for Meaningful Use set so low and with a focus instead on trying to pad participation rates, these challenges are predictable. Incentive payments, particularly those funded by the Medicare trust funds and taxpayers, should be given to providers who are truly ‘meaningful users’ of EHR.” – Yeah, that about sums up my opinion on the matter. Couldn’t have written it better myself.

– HISHE: How Return Of The Jedi Should Have Ended. Just because it’s funny.

– I’m doing a presentation about bar-code medication administration (BCMA) next week so I’ve been doing a little reading. I’ve presented the topic before; I’m just updating information since the last time I gave it. I came across an interesting article in The Journal of Nursing Administration December 2012. “Using observation, eye tracking, and clinical simulation with embedded errors, we studied the impact of bar-code verification on error identification and recovery during medication administration. Data supported that bar-code verification may reduce but does not eliminate patient identification (ID) and medication errors during clinical simulation of medication administration.” Nothing new here. BCMA is not perfect, it’s simply another tool in the patient safety arsenal.

– Speaking of presentations, Google announced this week that Google Slides now works offline. I use my Chromebook quite a bit these days. It’s so small and light, and the battery life is so good that it makes it easy to pack around when I have to sit somewhere for long periods of time. It’s nice to be able to review my slide deck and make changes when I don’t have WiFi access, like during my daughter’s volleyball practice. Cool.

Engadget: “iRobot’s robots physicians have been wanting to offer their diagnostic assistance for around six months, but now the RP-VITA, made in partnership with InTouch’s AVA telepresence broadcast tech, has been given permission by the FDA to roam a hospital corridor near you.” What’s RP-VITA stand for you ask? Remote Presence Virtual Independent Telemedicine Assistant. Maybe this is the year that telemedicine will make its way into the mainstream. Where’s pharmacy in all this?

GeckoCap: a Simple Inhaler Monitoring Device for the Family. “GeckoCap is a web-based software and a smart button that is easily added to inhalers. It allows families and children to monitor their asthma medication usage.” The little GeckoCap sits on the inhaler. Each time the inhaler is used it is recorded and transmitted to any paired Bluetooth device within range. It’s a nifty idea, and may have some potential for improving medication adherence. This is one of those “Kickstarter-like websites” called Indiegogo.

– Not only did the Patriots get their butts handed to them by the Ravens, but “The star quarterback of the New England Patriots [assuming Tom Brady] has been fined $10,000 for making questionable contact with Baltimore Ravens cornerback Ed Reed on a slide late in the first half last Sunday.” (ESPN Radio 104.5 FM). Nice!

– Apple’s share price took a hit this week. I couldn’t be happier. I put Apple and the New England Patriots together in my tier of most hated things on the planet. They’re basically the same, i.e. they hold the same values and represent the worst of the human race. I feel like I need a shower just for typing their name together in one paragraph. So far the Patriots and Apple are the only two things in that top tier of most hated things. I doubt anything serious will become of the drop in share price, but one can only hope.

– You know, I love Pearl Jam, and I’m particularly fond of the song “Yellow Ledbetter”. But seriously, does anyone have any idea what Eddie Vedder is saying? My girls and I make a game of it whenever that particular song comes on the radio in the truck. It’s just so funny as we try to guess the lyrics and sing along. You can certainly Google the lyrics, but what fun is there in that.

– Changed the wallpaper on my laptop this week. I was in an Iron Man type of mood.

Iron Man Wallpaper

Have a great weekend everyone.

3 thoughts on “Saturday morning coffee [January 26 2013]”

  1. Thanks, Jason. It’s still hanging around though. That’s one resilient rhinovirus. I hope to get my voice back completely soon….

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