High-speed unit dose packagers for pharmacy

There are a lot of pharmacies out there that utilize high-speed packagers for one reason or another. Sometimes medications aren’t available in unit-dose packages from the manufacturer, or in one case that I came across recently, a pharmacy may elect to package from bulk bottles for efficiency and/or cost savings.

I haven’t given much thought to high-speed packagers in a while because they seem to be a low priority in many pharmacies these days. But I had reason recently to give them some thought. Someone sent me an email asking me about the various high-speed packagers on the market, who sells them, who they’re made by, etc. So I put together the table below. It covers the basics.
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Collecting, collating and connecting information

I am a digital pack rat. It’s better than being a pack rat in the physical world I suppose, but it definitely causes problems. I collect information at an alarming rate, which isn’t a problem in and of itself, but it creates problems when I want to use the information that I’ve collected. It’s stored in various places via a host of methods that I’ve devised over the years to make it easy to use; in theory anyway.

Searching for information isn’t a problem, Google places the sea of information on the internet a click away, and Windows 8 offers a fair desktop search engine. No, finding information isn’t an issue. However, sorting and connecting the information in a logical way is.
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Please take this short online pharmacokinetics survey (5 minutes)

Several years ago my brother and I designed and developed RxCalc, a pharmacokinetics calculator for the iPhone and iPod Touch. It has been several years since we’ve updated the application, but we’re hoping to change that.

Below is a short survey that will help us determine what features and functions healthcare professionals would like to see in their pharmacokinetics application. The survey is short, but will provide us with important information. Please take a few minutes to complete the survey and submit your response.

jerry_sig

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The job market for pharmacists has taken an ugly turn

There was a time when I could have found half a dozen pharmacist job openings in one afternoon. Now I find myself in a position where I can’t even find one.

It’s no secret that I was laid off several weeks ago; July 25th to be exact. I don’t know why I was laid off, only that my position was eliminated. I didn’t really think to ask any questions at the time as I was in a state of disbelief. I’ve been a pharmacist for just over 16 years and during that time I had never been laid off, fired, or “let go”. This is officially uncharted territory. I’m told that this kind of thing “happens in business”. Sucks anyway.
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Saturday morning coffee [August 17 2013]: Elysium, Pharmacogenomics, Gonorrhea, Limo Joust

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 below comes straight from Canada. My family and I spent a little time in Victoria, British Columbia this summer. What a beautiful place. It’s a great little town, and we were blessed with awesome weather. It was sunny and in the 70’s-80’s the entire time we were there. We spent some time milling around the town, rented a car and drove around the beach areas, and took a short trek to Butchart Gardens. I’m not a gardens-type of guy, but Butchart Gardens is really neat. We took a boat tour of the area and stayed for the fireworks show that took place late one night. Great memories. I would do it again.

MUG_Canada

Just a quick side note: this is the last coffee mug in my collection. Not sure what I plan to do for my next SMC. Any suggestions?
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What’s the single most important technology introduced into pharmacy operations in last 10 years?

I asked this question on Twitter today looking for opinions from the countless number of people roaming the internet. Alas, I received not a single response. Not one. I’m starting to think that Twitter, and most other social media, is worthless as a way of gathering information from people. Oh sure, my Twitter feed is great for consuming an endless string of articles and links, but the few times I’ve actually reached out to the Twittersphere with a question I’ve ended up with bupkis.
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Smart prescription bottle to be used in clinical trial for med compliance

adheretech

Medical Xpress:

“Weill Cornell Medical College in New York City, a Cornell University college, has been awarded a $100,000 grant from the New York City Economic Development Corp. and Mayor Michael Bloomberg’s administration for a clinical study to test the effectiveness of the smart pill bottle on drug adherence in HIV-positive patients. It was one of 10 partnerships to win an inaugural PILOT Health Tech NYC grant.

The smart bottle is made by AdhereTech, a startup firm that licensed the technology from UAH (University of Alabama in Huntsville), which holds an equity position in the company.

For 12 weeks, the New York trial is scheduled to follow 70 HIV patients with medication compliance difficulties who are being treated at Weill Cornell. Each patient will receive adherence counseling, but only half will also use the smart pill bottles.”

I first mentioned the AdhereTech bottle back in March of this year. Then I mentioned it again during a presentation that I gave in May at the HIMSS Southern California Chapter 5th Annual Clinical Informatics Summit: Adventures in Clinical Informatics. It’s an interesting piece of technology. I’m curious to see what the outcome of the study shows.

Motion sensing technology in the IV room

I’ve always been intrigued by motion sensing technology like Microsoft’s Kinect for the Xbox system. My interest was rekindled last week when I came across an article at Fast Company taking about Kinect Hacks.  I do what I always do when I read something interesting, I Tweet about it.

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Saturday morning coffee [August 10 2013]: 2 Guns, Office 365, barriers to analytics in healthcare

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….

City Brew in a neat little coffee shop in Billings, Montana. I was in Billings visiting the Billings Clinic Hospital for work. That was the last trip I made as product manager for the company I worked for prior to being laid off. City Brew is a pretty cool coffee shop; they roast their own beans! I thought the place was cool enough that I wanted to buy a City Brew Coffee mug. Unfortunately they didn’t offer mugs for sale, but I noticed that they had mugs behind the counter for use by patrons that were planning to drink their coffee in-house. So I asked the girl behind the counter if she’d sell me one. She hesitated, but then I explained that I was from California and I thought City Brew was pretty cool. She relented and sold me a mug, the one you see below. Tah-dah.

MUG_CityBrew
Continue reading Saturday morning coffee [August 10 2013]: 2 Guns, Office 365, barriers to analytics in healthcare

Medication packaging that expires: the Self Expiring concept

Medgadget: “Designers Kanupriya Goel and Gautam Goel propose a new design for pill blister packs that will display a message not to take the drugs once enough time passes. The material would consist of two layers, with the top containing the original drug’s info label and a bottom layer with ink that slowly seeps into the top. After enough time passes, the warning message will become clear and the patient will immediately know to get a fresh refill.  The Self Expiring, as the design concept is called, won a 2013 red dot design award.”

SelfExpiring

From the reddot design award site: “Self Expiring is a packaging material for medicinal products that visually ‘self expires’ over a fixed period of time. This packaging will graphically display a ‘not fit for consumption’ message using universally accepted danger signs in regional languages. This solution will prevent illegal sales of expired medicines and fatalities arising from their consumption.”

Great concept. It would be cool if they could take it one step further and have the package analyze the medication inside and “expire” it when the potency goes below a pre-defined percentage. Expiration dates are good, but they don’t always tell the whole story.