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.

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Continue reading Please take this short online pharmacokinetics survey (5 minutes)

Crowdsourcing pharmacokinetic data

RxCalcPharmacokinetics is something that every hospital pharmacist is intimately familiar with. It just so happens to be one of the things that physicians routinely ask pharmacist to handle. It’s not that doing pharmacokinetic (PK) calculations is difficult, but crunching the numbers can be time consuming and there are occasional traps that can lead to problems for those not experienced in such things.

I’ve performed literally thousands of PK calculations* during my career. When I first began practicing pharmacy there were lots of drugs that required pharmacokinetic monitoring: lidocaine, procainamide, vancomycin, the aminoglycosides, phenytoin, digoxin, phenobarbital, among others. Over the years many of these drugs have been replaced by newer, better agents or simply fallen out of favor.

Some PK calculations can be harder than others, like phenytoin because of its reliance on Michaelis-Menten parameters, or lidocaine because it required loading doses due to its multi-compartment distribution. But others are brain-dead simple. Vancomycin is like that. A monkey could do a new vancomycin start.

During those years one thing remained constant; to perform PK calculations all you needed was a pencil and a calculator. Things have changed over the years with the increased use of computerized software and mobile devices, but the nuts and bolts of the process remains the same.

With the advent of big data one has to wonder why pharmacists continue to do this. Is it a matter of tradition that keeps us tied to pharmacokinetics? It’s hard to say. I remember looking at population trends when I was working as a critical care pharmacist nearly ten years ago. Another pharmacist, Patrick and I kept a spreadsheet of patient ages, gender, height, weight, renal function, infection site, infectious organism(s), and of course drug levels. We were attempting to use our data to find trends that would help us initiate therapy more accurately. Our project never really panned out. We discovered very little in the year we collected the information. The reason for our failure was lack of data and our inability to rigorously study the information in front of us. That’s no longer the case. Given the opportunity, data scientists could analyze hundreds of thousands of PK starts and adjustments to uncover things that Patrick and I could have only dreamt of a decade ago.

So one has to ask whether or not this is being done today, and if not why?

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*conservatively I see it as follows:
10 years as a “clinical pharmacist”
50 weeks per year working (hey, everyone needs a vacation)
average of 6-10 new PK starts per day; twice that number of monitoring
taking the low road: 10 x 50 x 6 = 3000

RxCalc 1.2 ready for download – want a free copy?

RxCalc 1.2 has been approved by the powers to be at Apple and is now available for download in the iTunes store.  For those of you that don’t know about RxCalc, it is a pharmacokinetics calculator made by Apple Core Labs specifically designed to handle aminoglycoside and vancomycin kinetics, i.e. new starts and adjustments. I’ve been intimately involved with the development of RxCalc, and you can read more about what drove the idea and the development of it here if you’re interested.
Continue reading RxCalc 1.2 ready for download – want a free copy?

Top blog posts and searches from last week (27)

I always find it interesting to see what brings people to my website and what they decided to read once they get here.

Most read posts over the past 7 days:

  1. An almost disastrous bar-coding mishap
  2. Cool Technology for Pharmacy – Post from before I started putting the name of the cool technology in the blog title. This particular post was from September 10, 2009 and covered the capsule machine.
  3. Cool Technology for Pharmacy – Another post from before I started putting the name of the cool technology in the blog title. This particular post was from June 18, 2009 and covered Alaris Smartpumps.
  4. Best iPhone / iPod Touch Applications for Pharmacists
  5. Quick Hit – Mobile devices in our pharmacy – This post elicited a couple of interesting comments.
  6. Curriculum Vitae
  7. “What’d I miss?” – Week of June 27
  8. Cool Technology for Pharmacy –NDC Translator
  9. About -People checking up on me.
  10. Motion J3500 gets a wicked update – People are still interested in tablet PCs, even with that other device grabbing all the press.

Top searchterm phrases used over the past 7 days:

  1. “ feton capsule filling machine ”
  2. “ alaris pumps ”
  3. “ cerner and pandora data systems ”
  4. “ dell xt2 ”
  5. “ alaris pump ”
  6. “ capsule machine ”
  7. “ alaris infusion pump ”
  8. “ pharmacokinetics iphone ”
  9. “ free lexi-drugs windows mobile free ”
  10. “cloud computing”

Top blog posts and searches from last week

I always find it interesting to see what brings someone to my website and what they decided to read once they get here. Most of the time it isn’t pharmacy related at all. Funny how that works.

Most read posts over last week:

  1. Medscape Mobile for the BlackBerry – This has appeared at or near the top for the past couple of weeks. It’s a testament to how many healthcare professionals are still carrying BlackBerry devices.
  2. iPad + ClamCase = awesomeness? – This is funny. All I have to do is put the word “iPad” anywhere in a post and people flock to it.
  3. CPOE – Giving it some thought – CPOE is gaining some traction for sure.
  4. Cool Technology for Pharmacy – LXE Bluetooth Ring Scanner – I sat on this one for quite a while. Couldn’t decide if I wanted to blog about it or not.
  5. RxCalc 1.1 now available for the iPhone and iPod Touch – Similar to “iPad”. Put the word “iPhone” somewhere in the post and people will find it.
  6. “What’d I miss?” – Week of May 23, 2010
  7. Cool Technology for Pharmacy – This was before I started putting the name of the cool technology in the blog title. This particular post was from Jun 18, 2009 and covered Alaris Smartpumps.
  8. Best iPhone / iPod Touch Applications for Pharmacists – Ibid, iPhone & iPad. It’s been a while. I should really update this information.
  9. Curriculum Vitae – I see this show up high up on the list occasionally. I believe young pharmacists are looking for an example of how to compose a CV. I spent a lot of time trying to figure out how to write one; still don’t know if I have it right. I can never figure out how much information to include or what should be excluded.
  10. “What’d I miss?” – Week of May 17,2010

Top searchterm phrases for last week

  1. “medscape.com/blackberry”
  2. “autopharm”
  3. “alaris”
  4. “jerry fahrni”
  5. “black cloud”
  6. “cloud computing”
  7. +”magnetic resonance imaging” + “cool image”
  8. “alaris infusion pump”
  9. “dell xt”
  10. “carousel for meds” tied with “medscape mobile”

RxCalc 1.1 now available for the iPhone and iPod Touch

After a week of sitting in iTunes store limbo, RxCalc 1.1 was finally approved and released for download yesterday afternoon. For those of you that don’t know about RxCalc, it is a pharmacokinetics calculator made by Apple Core Labs specifically designed to handle aminoglycoside and vancomycin kinetics, i.e. new starts and adjustments. It’s exciting for me because I was involved in the creation of the application. You can read more about what drove the idea and the development of RxCalc here if you’re interested.
Continue reading RxCalc 1.1 now available for the iPhone and iPod Touch

Best iPhone / iPod Touch Applications for Pharmacists

iPhone_pharmappsThe iPhone and iPod Touch have created quite a wave in healthcare, and along with the wave has come a plethora of healthcare applications. The user interface on the iPhone/iPod Touch combined with the ease of accessing applications on Apple’s iTunes store and the relatively inexpensive nature of most applications, have made these devices a favorite among healthcare professionals.

With the volume of healthcare related applications available, I’m surprised at how few I actually use. I spend quite a bit of time surfing the app store looking for new applications that I can apply to pharmacy. I’ve downloaded numerous applications, but have deleted most for one reason or another.

My “research” has led to the list below of applications that I find most useful as a pharmacist.

Continue reading Best iPhone / iPod Touch Applications for Pharmacists

Why I wanted RxCalc

I have a couple of passions when it comes to pharmacy. The first is a love of pharmacy technology. Very few pharmacists have an appreciation for the “operations” side of pharmacy which includes automated dispensing cabinets, automated carousels, automated TPN compounders, Pharmacy Information System, etc. These tools are absolutely necessary if we want to get pharmacists out of the physical pharmacy and at the bedside where they belong. My second passion is a little less known discipline known as pharmacokinetics. I have no idea why I like pharmacokinetics; I just do. Some kids like PB&J and some don’t. It’s just the way it is.
Continue reading Why I wanted RxCalc