Saturday morning coffee [February 9 2013]

MUG_ArizonaIt’s hard to believe that it’s February already.

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….

Last weekend I was on the road attending my daughter’s Power League volleyball tournament in Sacramento.  My brother Robert filled in for me admirably. I didn’t ask him to take up the reins, but I certainly appreciate him filling in the gap. Thanks, bro. Dig the mug by the way.

I went through Phoenix, AZ twice this week while traveling for work, which made me think of the coffee mug to the right. It was once of four sent to me by Jason DeVillains last year. Jason is better known to many as The Cynical Pharmacist. Jason and I met via Twitter(@TheCynicalRPH) and have been chitchatting via the web ever since. Perhaps the next time I touch down in Phoenix I can lay over for a day and Jason and I can grab a cup o’ joe together. Jason also blogs over at The Cynical Pharmacist. Check it out.
Continue reading Saturday morning coffee [February 9 2013]

“What’d I miss?” – Week of August 15, 2010

As usual there were a lot of things that happened during the week, and not all of it was pharmacy or technology related. Here’s a quick look at some of the stuff I found interesting.
Continue reading “What’d I miss?” – Week of August 15, 2010

Is bar code scanning really safer for pharmacy?

This is a great questions and one that I previously would have said is a no-brainer. I believe a bar coding system for medication dispensing from the pharmacy is an improvement in patient safety, but I would be hard pressed to prove it. A colleague of mine (John Poikonen at is fond of saying that there is no evidence to support the use of bar coding. Here’s a quote from John: “The pharmacy profession is drunk with the notion that BCMA works for patient safety, in the face of little to no evidence.“ He has a point.
Continue reading Is bar code scanning really safer for pharmacy?

The patient centered medical home and pharmacy

From the Pharmacy Technology Resources (PTR) blog:

“Patient Centered Medical Home” (PCMH) – is likely to be the best opportunity for aligning physician and patient frustration, demonstrated models for improving care, and private and public payment systems to produce the most profound transformation of the health care system this far. Wait a second – what about the Family Pharmacist or Consultant Pharmacist? How does pharmacy play into this model? What relationships are being formed today between the community retail pharmacy and these home-care physicians? What active correlation or network can be established nationally to group together seamless health-care services between the home-patient, the physician, and the pharmacy?

First – we’ll say – its ePrescribing with all the industry attention this mode of communication brings between doctors and pharmacists – however – I say it takes more than an electronic network to ensure the proper care is given to the patient. This medical home based model sounds similar to the model from the 1990’s of managed care that was about decreasing costs. Is this system designed to help patients instead of insurers? The relationship between the “local” doctor and the “local” pharmacy is imperative. We have come full circle – where in the 1950’s the relationship between physician and pharmacist was much more prevalent. Today – the home-care doctor can grab his iPhone and digitize the necessary communications with pharmacy for a seamless and completed transaction for the patient. But what about the relationship between the doctor and pharmacist and the periodic medication review for the home-care patient?”

As I have mentioned before, the technology to provide real-time access to patient data is currently available. This provides a genuine opportunity for pharmacist involvement in the medical home model. The PTR blog recommends pharmacists partner with local physicians using the PCMH model, and I think this is a great idea. This is a golden opportunity for all you pharmacists that want to expand your practice setting. What are you waiting for? The time is now.

Technology + Medical Home = Pharmacist Opportunity

“Pharmacists certainly have the skills, training, and knowledge to be prime players in a coordinated approach,” said Judy Cahill, executive director of the Academy of Managed Care Pharmacy. “An inherent shortcoming to this idea, however, is lack of pharmacist access to patients’ medical records. For them to play a pivotal part in care management, the medical record is essential.”

Keckley agrees. Lack of pharmacist access to patient medical records currently limits the role of pharmacist to medication management only, rather than offering an opportunity to manage care between patients and providers, such as nutritionists and physical therapists, he saids.

Two developments can change that: the increasing use of electronic medical records and the industry-wide promotion of electronic prescription transmission. EMRs will allow pharmacists access to diagnostic rationales and long-range patient treatment histories. For example, an EMR can give pharmacists access to laboratory data. HIPAA privacy concerns may have to be addressed through authorization forms, and state boards of pharmacy may have to reexamine current regulatory practices.

But these concerns are already being addressed through medication therapy medication initiatives across the country — many sponsored by health plans that see a cost advantage in having pharmacists counsel patients. E-prescribing not only gives pharmacists access to insurance information — data available through pharmacy benefit management software — it also enhances communication with physicians.

Several emerging e-prescribing models, sponsored by health plans, include e-prescribing as a component of EMRs. “Bring into that the use of clinical management tools, which are the tools that DM companies now market, and pharmacists will be able to offer a degree of coordination, especially for patients with chronic diseases, that no other provider, including physicians, are as readily able to provide,” said Keckley. “Plans could consider paying for that service.”

This is a prime example of how technology can be used to expand the pharmacist’s role in patient care.

Get more information about a medical home here.