Webinar alert – The Missing Link: Practical Tips for Preparing for USP 800

I mentioned previously that USP General Chapter <800> – Hazardous Drugs—Handling in Healthcare Settings has been approved and will be published February 1, 2016. Thankfully, the Compounding Expert Committee approved a delayed official implementation until July 1, 2018. Obviously, the committee felt that enforcing Chapter <800> sooner would create a hardship on systems that aren’t close to being ready and need the added time to make changes.

There is going to be a lot of confusion around USP <800>, and for that reason, I will be proactively learning about its impact on healthcare systems and how it differs from the current version of USP <797>.

First up on my learn-about-USP<800> list for 2016 is a webinar – The Missing Link: Practical Tips for Preparing for USP 800 – sponsored by Pharmacy OneSource. According to the webinar site: “In this webinar, Patricia C. Kienle, RPh, MPA, FASHP and Eric S. Kastango, MBA, BSPharm, FASHP will provide practical tips to assure compliance with upcoming USP Chapter 800 Hazardous Drugs: Handling in Healthcare Settings. Facilities, PPE, personnel training, and environmental monitoring will be discussed. The link between USP Chapters 795, 797, and 800 will be explained.”  Patricia and Eric are both leading experts in this field and typically have great insight into sterile compounding regulation. It’s definitely worth an hour of your time.

The webinar is scheduled for on Wednesday, January 13.

You can get more information on General Chapter <800> Hazardous Drugs—Handling in Healthcare Settings to be Published in USP 39–NF 34, First Supplement here.

Access to information and learning

“Intellectual growth should commence at birth and cease only at death.” ― Albert Einstein

I’ve recently returned from the ASHP Summer Meeting. I learned some new things, which serves as a reminder to me of the importance of continuous learning and access to information in our profession.

As a pharmacist I’ve been involved in a lot of systems over the years designed to keep me up to date. All have been successful in their own way, but obviously some were better than others.
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Using the concept of the iPad to further pharmacy education

A few weeks ago I installed the Blausen Human Atlas HD application on my iPad. The application features some pretty incredible 3D images and video. The videos provide an animated narrative on a host of medical conditions and treatments. In addition the Blausen application offers a cool 3D rendering of the human body and a glossary of terms. The images contained in this blog really don’t do it justice, as the iPad’s screen does a very nice job of displaying images like these.

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Workforce training and allocation for modernization of HIT

The most recent issue of Hospital Pharmacy (Vol 45, No 1, 2010) has an article by Fox and Felkey that discusses the demand that the ARRA will place on the current and future HIT workforce. According to the article “the workforce to shepherd implementation, training, and support [for the modernization of heath care delivery] simply does not exist today; consequently, we could face a situation where health systems and clinics are financially ready to adopt HIT but do not have the personnel to carry it out.” I believe this is absolutely true and have alluded to it in the past (here and here).

More importantly, the shortage of HIT personnel will be further exacerbated by the need for clinicians to enter the technology field. The article supports this thinking by saying that “some experts have suggested that clinically-trained individuals are more suited to the design, selection, implementation, and management of HIT because they have a fundamental understanding of the processes of health care delivery. Alternatively, individuals trained in IT are more technically inclined, but lack firsthand experience with health care delivery systems” Another truism and a problem that is certainly not unique to the HIT field. Companies like Microsoft, Google, GE, Siemens, etc hire pharmacists and other clinician for their unique experience in the health care industry.
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New drug education

Medicine And Technology: “We have seen so many new drugs and even new classes of drugs emerge over the last ten years. How do most physicians learn about new drugs? Many (certainly not all) community practitioners would say they learn what they need to know from the drug reps. Others indicate continuing medical education or CME activities as their main source of information regarding new drugs. Back in the “old days,” docs would also attend many promotional/marketing dinners and social functions to learn about new medications. Those days are ending as PhRMA code regulations get stricter. So what is the most effective way for physicians to learn about new drugs? They are so busy and easily overwhelmed by their workload that many have a difficult time keeping up with the latest science, the latest medical news, or even urgent FDA alerts and warnings.” – Any healthcare practitioner should be leery of using “drug-reps” or marketing dinners to educate themselves about new drug therapy. Remember, drug-reps are in it for the sales. In most cases they are not even healthcare professionals; pharmacist, nurse, physician. There are few truly unique breakthroughs in drug therapy each year and even fewer turn out to live up to expectations. Several years may be necessary to properly evaluate a medication’s place in therapy. I never understood the bandwagon approach to medication therapy, it’s irresponsible. Information on new drug therapy should come from primary literature or other reputable sources, such as the Pharmacist Letter, the Medical Letter, or from practice guidelines developed by professional organizations like the Infectious Disease Society of America (IDSA) and the American College of Chest Physicians (ACCP). Heck, this would be a good place to start reducing the cost of healthcare as many new “me too” medications with no proven benefit are often significantly more costly than their evidence-based counterpart. Why isn’t anyone talking about that?

Medical Informatics Training

Non-Clinical Jobs:If you’re a physician [or pharmacist], at what point do you need “formal training” in medical informatics if you wish to pursue a career in health IT? It’s hard to answer, because it largely depends on how motivated you are to self-learn. Have you been keeping up with all the recent changes in health IT? Are you familiar with health IT language? Are you a member of HIMSS? Are you tech-savvy? Have you been actively involved in your hospital’s health IT committee? Do you hold any certifications in health IT? You’re probably not going to find a “crash course” on health IT that will teach you everything you need to know in a very short amount of time. However, if you’re willing to invest some time and energy into formal education , then you may want to take a look at some programs that leverage distance-learning and online classrooms.” – If you’re interested in formalized informatics education in California, check out Stanford or the University of California, San Francisco. You can get a list of available programs in North America here.