IV hood sensors [idea]

I saw a commercial for the Honeywell Wi-Fi Smart Thermostat the other day. It’s a neat little gadget that reminded me of something that I’ve been thinking about for years.

The requirements for monitoring, cleaning, and analyzing conditions in an IV clean room are enormous. To get a feel for what I’m talking about I would encourage you to take some time to read through the list of surface testing, air sampling, and end product testing required by USP <797> for pharmacies that compound sterile preparations (CSPs). It’s fairly extensive and complex.

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Saturday morning coffee [November 16 2013]

“The problem with the world is that the intelligent people are full of doubts, while the stupid ones are full of confidence.” – Charles Bukowski

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….


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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 [February 23 2013]

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….

MUG_MinneapolisThe coffee mug from the right is straight out of the Twin Cities area, i.e. the Minneapolis-Saint Paul in Minnesota. I picked it up at a Caribou Coffee shop in Minneapolis. Apparently Caribou Coffee is a locally owned business in the Twin Cities area. I have no idea really, but that’s what I was told and the website does list a local address (3900 Lakebreeze Ave N., Minneapolis, MN 55429). The coffee is pretty good I thought the mug looked cool. It was the first time I had ever been to the Minneapolis area. I don’t recommend it as a tourist spot in the winter. It was cold boys and girls. The first night I was there it was a cool 0 (zero) degrees F. One neat thing about the trip was that I got a chance to go to the Mall of America. Impressive place.

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Automating the oral pediatric syringe filling process [idea]

oral syringeThe distribution process in pediatric acute care can be quite a bit different than its adult counterpart. The basics are the same on the surface: 1) receive medication orders, 2) fill medication orders, 3) dispense medications. The big difference however is how those medication orders are filled. Pediatric patients require a lot medications in liquid form pulled into oral syringes with patient specific dosages. The bummer is that a vast majority of these syringes are not manufactured in unit of use syringes. In other words you have to do most of the work yourself. It’s a bit of a hassle, but it has to be done. The process of pulling liquid doses into oral syringes has more in common with work done in the IV room than it does with traditional oral solid distribution.

Recently I was visited a pediatric hospital and watched this process in action. Based on what I witnessed I started to wonder if it was possible to automate the process. And if you could automate it, would it offer any benefit? I suppose it could increase the safety of the process as well as potentially eliminate the need for a pharmacist, freeing them to do something else. Maybe. Maybe not. Regardless, it was worth more thought.

I started breaking down the process and realizes that it’s more complex than it appears on the surface; it always is. Automating the process would be difficult. Several pieces of the puzzle are already available today, but as completely disparate systems.

Just thinking out loud, or in writing as the case may be, the process would look a little like this:

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Tic Tac dispenser as alternative prescription bottle [video]

All the companies that have spent millions developing a “better way” to dispense medications (tablets) should watch the video below. The company that makes Tic Tacs has you all beat. And just a guess here, but I bet that little plastic Tic Tac dispenser doesn’t cost tens of thousands of dollars. Someone needs to develop … Read more

Saturday morning coffee [August 4 2012]

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 to the right comes from the University of Texas in Austin, home of the Longhorns. I picked it up last week while the Fahrni crew was on vacation terrorizing the Lone Star State. Feel free to read about what we’ve been up to here.

- Dark Knight Rises remained #1 at the box office last weekend. I’ve already seen Dark Knight Rises so my wife and I went to see The Watch instead. The Watch is a terrible movie, but it’s funny as heck. If you’re looking for a crappy movie that will make you laugh out loud at times, then the Watch is for you. I don’t regret seeing it as I was due for a good laugh, but I wouldn’t see it again. It’s a Redbox rental, if you know what I mean.

– Music for this morning’s blog composition, Candlebox.

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Clearinghouse for pharmacy automation and technology ideas

My post from last week along with a conversation I had with my brother got me thinking about all the good pharmacy ideas that never see the light of day. I know there are some great ideas out there because I’ve been fortunate enough to see many of them in my travels. My job gives me the opportunity to visit a lot of hospital pharmacies and speak to a lot of pharmacists and pharmacy technicians. Trust me when I say there are a lot of smart people out there that could improve the practice of pharmacy with their ideas.

So why is it that so many good ideas don’t get the attention they deserve? There are lots of reasons.

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Pharmacy needs a new method for sharing non-clinical information

Last week I found myself in Florida for work. I had a little extra time on my hands so I stopped by NOVA Southeastern University to visit with a friend and colleague, Kevin Clausen (@kevinclausen). Kevin is not only a pharmacist, but professor and researcher at the Center for Consumer Health Informatics Research at NOVA Southeastern. He’s one of a select few pharmacists that are dedicated to pharmacy informatics in academia.

Kevin and I talked about a lot of topics, but one topic that was of particular interest was getting information published in journals. As an active researcher Kevin has a laundry list of published articles to his credit, giving him keen knowledge of the process for publishing research in peer-reviewed journals. One thing that struck a chord with me was the effort and time required to get an article published. Apparently it can take multiple article revisions and upwards of a year to get an article accepted by a certain journals.

No one that’s been involved in the process would be shocked by this; not even me. I’ve heard this before from other people in my profession. The problem is that the model doesn’t work for informatics, automation and technology (IAT). The speed at which the field is evolving means that information is often obsolete by the time it hits the peer-reviewed journals.

The basic question is whether or not information about pharmacy IAT requires the same rigors as research aimed at the clinical side of pharmacy. Does a study of turnaround time during pharmacy distribution with carousel technology vs. robotics require the same intense scrutiny that a study looking at the use of an ACEI vs. an ARB in PWD and HTN would?  Not likely. While one could argue that the method of distribution may impact patient care it is unlikely that the impact would be worth little more than a friendly debatable among colleagues.

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Thinking about pharmacy refrigerators

I love the Yanko Design website. It has so many cool concepts. Recently while browsing the site I cam across the Grabit, “a door handle fitted with a fingerprint scanner” (image to the right). I immediately thought of pharmacy. It would be cool to see one of these attached to all the refrigerators in the pharmacy. Anytime you wanted to get something out of the fridge you’d simply place your thumb on the fingerprint scanner as you grabbed the handle to open the door. The Grabit handle would register your fingerprint and identify you as someone that had access. And if not, you wouldn’t be able to get in. This would work well for high dollar items that you wanted to track or controlled substances that require refrigeration.

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