Saturday morning coffee [September 6 2013]: The Butler, Surface, Med Adherence, Note 3

“Hardships often prepare ordinary people for an extraordinary destiny.” ~ C.S.Lewis

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….

I have officially run out of coffee mugs from which to pull for my SMC posts. The coffee mug below was a Christmas present from my youngest daughter, Mikaela, and will be used as my official SMC mug for the time being.


Lee Daniels’ The Butler was #1 at the box office last weekend. Not my kind of movie so don’t expect me to go see it. If I had to guess I’d say that Riddick with Vin Diesel will likely be the #1 box office movie this weekend. It certainly won’t be a blockbuster, but it’ll do ok. I finally saw Elysium this week. Not bad, but not great. Definitely worth queuing up in Netflix or heading to your local Redbox when it makes its way out of theaters.

Jerry Fahrni unemployment chronicles, day #44: Yeah, well, umm…never expected it to last this long. On a positive note, I’ve had a couple of conversations this week that may bear fruit in relatively short order.

The most visited post at over the past 7 days is still Why pharmacy continues to fail. Last week I failed to post a SMC because I had a volleyball tournament and football game to attend, but of significance was that The job market for pharmacists has taken an ugly turn was a big hit with readers the week I posted it. It’s not often that Why pharmacy continues to fail isn’t at the top so I thought I’d mention it.

Tony Stark’s got nothing on Elon Musk.

An unusual amount of news floating around the internet this week about Microsoft’s Surface Tablet. From VentureBeat: “Microsoft announced a new program in which its Surface tablet would be in the hands of medical personnel around the league. Each Surface comes with the X2 app, software that’s still in development that helps track concussions and other aspects of player health, such as injuries and medications.” Rumors of the Microsoft Surface Pro 2 have also started to percolate with features like a new Haswell processor, increased system RAM, an “improved” kickstand and Windows 8.1, just to name a few. Looking forward to getting my hands on one. The rumors put the Surface Pro 2 hitting the market later this year. And to round out Surface rumors Engadget is reporting that “Microsoft will be launching a line of Power Covers [that] will snap onto Surface tablets as the existing ones do now, but …will add “significant” [battery] life.” Based on what I’ve read about the Surface’s battery life, a Power Cover would be a welcome addition.

Speaking of Microsoft, they picked up Nokia’s phone business for a measly $7.2 billion this week. At least we know they’re committed to WP8 and their tablets; or so I hope.

Here’s something that I wouldn’t have guessed. It appears that using a fixed-dose combination pill may help improve medication adherence when compared to multiple pills of the same drugs. This according to an article in the Journal of the American Medical Association (The UMPIRE Randomized Clinical Trial). The article is free so there’s no excuse for not reading it. – 8 College Degrees with the Worst Return on Investment:  8) Sociology, 7) Fine Arts, 6) Education, 5) Religious Studies/Theology, 4) Hospitality/Tourism, 3) Nutrition, 2) Psychology, 1) Communications.

My daughter cheered in her first college football game last weekend. Yep, she’s a UCLA cheerleader, and I’m quite proud of that. She scored a couple of tickets for her dad so I was able to be there for her first game and take in a little football to boot. UCLA did a job on Nevada. I had a great time.

Epic seems to be about to take over the world when it comes to EHR implementations. I used to hear a few names thrown around when people talked about implementing a new “hospital system”, but that’s all changed. These days all I hear is “Epic”. These systems don’t come cheap though. Check out the August 30th article in the Winston-Salem Journal. According to the article “The rollout of the Epic electronic health records system contributed to a $55.1 million operational loss in fiscal 2012-13 for Wake Forest Baptist Medical Center, according to a financial report released Thursday.”  That’s a fair number of ducats.

According to an article in the August 29, 2013 issue of BMJ, “Greater consumption of specific whole fruits, particularly blueberries, grapes, and apples, is significantly associated with a lower risk of type 2 diabetes, whereas greater consumption of fruit juice is associated with a higher risk.” – In other words eat your fruit, don’t drink it.

MedicalXpress: “Hebrew University of Jerusalem students and Hadassah Medical Center clinicians, attending the joint Biodesign program, created a semi-automatic handheld device for rapid and safe IV insertion. Called SAGIV, the device uses infrared sights and electrical sensing to identify veins, insert the needle into the correct location, and withdraw it in a single, rapid robotic movement. “ – This is just cool. Creepy as heck, but cool.

Anybody ever heard of the APOTECAchemo robot? I wrote about it back in May of 2011. The robot is made by Loccioni, which is the same company that makes the i.v.STATION ONCO robot for Health Robotics. I assumed they were basically the same robot, but you know what happens when you assume something. I found some vague information online that indicated they are different. Anyone know the difference? I’m curious.

Jason Poquette is a pharmacist that blogs at The Honest Apothecary. Jason is also active in the social media space where I’ve come to follow him on Twitter (@jasonpoquette). I’ve interacted with Jason off and on over the past few months. He’s genuinely  interested in the pharmacy profession and just an all-around good guy. A couple of weeks ago Jason reached out and offered to interview me for his website. I got nothing going on so I happily accepted.  The results can be found here.

Forbes: “Contrary to many who say our healthcare system is broken – it really isn’t. It is performing as it was designed. The people in it aren’t to blame – and we can absolutely change it – but we have to really want that change. That kind of change is at the core of the system – with different goals, objectives and outcomes in mind. That’s much less of a technology problem and much more of process improvement one. Technology can – and will help – but all too often it’s a tactical overlay to try and patch the flawed system we’re living with today.” This is a great summary of the situation, although I might argue that the system is broken. I’ve had enough friends and family run through the system to know that it’s in need of an overhaul. And least we forget that I spent 15 years working on the inside of “the system”. The entire article is interesting and well worth 10 minutes of your time.

Just in case you missed it, Samsung announced the new Galaxy Note 3 and Galaxy Gear smartwatch this week. The Note 3 has some great functionality: Air Command, new S-Pen with crazy good new features, multi-window, drag and drop within apps, Pen Window, and so on. It’s really quite impressive, and the looks aren’t bad either. I’m not too sure about the Gear smartwatch though. I keep going back and forth on where smartwatches will fit in within the overall scheme of things these days. I see it as an extension of your phone or perhaps as an extension of something like Google Glass. I can think of some pretty cool use cases for the combination of Glass and Gear in healthcare; think hands free.

The Motorola Moto X is certainly a nice device. If I were to purchase a new smartphone today it would be either the Moto X or the HTC One. The fact that you can custom build a Moto X gives it a bit of an edge, among a few other more technical reasons. But c’mon, building a custom phone is cool. Check out Moto Maker and play with the customization features. Just for kicks I configured one with an Olive back, black front panel, Metallic Yellow accents. Looks really neat.


The NFL is back. I’m as happy a camel on Wednesday. Anyone watch the Thursday Night Ravens-Broncos game? I did, and what a great game for the Broncos. Peyton only has a couple of good years left and it looks like he’s planning to make the most of them. And as far as the Ravens go? This is what it looks like when you completely dismantle a team following a championship season. Just sayin’.

Have a great weekend everyone.

3 thoughts on “Saturday morning coffee [September 6 2013]: The Butler, Surface, Med Adherence, Note 3”

  1. Thanks for the mention Jerry. Interesting read as always. Congratulations to your daughter and the cheering! Very cool. I grew up (arguably)about an hour from the UCLA campus in Orange County.

  2. Jerry,

    APOTECAchemo is the robotic chemotherapy compounding device manufactured by Loccioni and currently in daily use at Cleveland Clinic, University of Maryland, and Wake Forest. This is the newest 2013 generation of automated hazardous compounding. Certainly worth a trip to go see them in action. is the site. Cleveland Clinic is hosting the first user community in the US next week.

    Loccioni does not make IV station onco.

Leave a Comment

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.