Saturday morning coffee [August 10 2013]: 2 Guns, Office 365, barriers to analytics in healthcare

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….

City Brew in a neat little coffee shop in Billings, Montana. I was in Billings visiting the Billings Clinic Hospital for work. That was the last trip I made as product manager for the company I worked for prior to being laid off. City Brew is a pretty cool coffee shop; they roast their own beans! I thought the place was cool enough that I wanted to buy a City Brew Coffee mug. Unfortunately they didn’t offer mugs for sale, but I noticed that they had mugs behind the counter for use by patrons that were planning to drink their coffee in-house. So I asked the girl behind the counter if she’d sell me one. She hesitated, but then I explained that I was from California and I thought City Brew was pretty cool. She relented and sold me a mug, the one you see below. Tah-dah.

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Year end thoughts 2012

fathertime_babynewyear2This is my final post of 2012. Random thoughts about things that I’ve seen, heard and/or read over the past twelve months.

Twenty-twelve was an interesting year for the Fahrni clan, and not in a good way. We lost one of our own and had some bad things happen. We also had some good times, but it won’t be a year that I’ll miss all that much.

We all survived the Mayan Apocalypse

We experienced the last repeating date of the century: 12-12-12
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BlueTooth-enabled toothbrush gains FDA clearance…

Only in American, boys and girls.

mobihealthnews: “The Beam Brush, a Bluetooth-enabled toothbrush from Louisville, Ky.-based startup Beam Technologies, and a companion app have received 510(k) clearance from the Food and Drug Administration. The FDA on June 21 cleared the product for sale as a Class I medical device on and the company announced the clearance Friday.

Technically a manual toothbrush, the Beam Brush likely will go on sale this fall for a retail price of $50. However, CEO Alex Frommeyer says the company will offer the product at a pre-launch price of $35 through Beam’s website, Facebook page and Twitter feed. Replacement brush heads will cost $4; the companion app, for Apple iOS and Android, will be free.

A sensor on board the Beam Brush monitors when and for how long users brush their teeth, and then transmits the data over a Bluetooth connection to the smartphone app.”

Domain expertise in healthcare can go a long way

mobilehealthnews: “[John] Sculley said [while speaking at the Digital Health Summit, CES 2012] that some companies have put too much emphasis on style over substance.

“The thing that is missing is getting the people with the domain expertise aligned with the people with technological know-how to turn ideas into branded services,””

I think these comments ring true for many of us that realize the disconnect between the people designing and building products for healthcare, and those actually using them. I can attest to the fact that it exists in many aspects of pharmacy automation and technology where things have a way of being forced down your throat. It becomes a game of which product is the “least bad”. It’s called settling for something, and it never really makes anyone happy. That’s why we’ve seen so many homegrown systems in pharmacies over the years.

There once was time when terrible usability at least meant great functionality. Unfortunately many companies have chosen to improve the usability at the expense of the functionality, which ultimately leads to a crappy product. I’ve experienced this many times during my career, especially with pharmacy information systems where improved UI’s have often resulted in poor performance, more mouse clicks and frustration.

Do the industry a favor and ask the end users what they need, instead of giving them what you think they want.

Cool Pharmacy Technology – Demolizer II

imageI’m at the MEDICA World Forum for Medicine in Düsseldorf Germany this week. While I haven’t seen much in the way of pharmacy related products, I did come across something that I thought was pretty cool. The brochure I grabbed said it was the “Sharps Waste Eliminator” by GMP (Global Medi Products). However when I went to the GMP website for more information I couldn’t find mention of it anywhere. A little creative Googling led me to the BMTS Corp site where I found the device I was looking for. Someone should have a talk with the marketing folks at GMP. Just sayin’.

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What do pharmacists want?

pulling_out_hairIt’s a simple question with a simple answer. In today’s pharmacy environment pharmacists want to do more “clinical” activities and distance themselves from the physical pharmacy. See, I told you it was simple.

For the last several months I’ve been listening to people tell me what pharmacists, and pharmacies, want. I find it interesting that most of the opinions differ from mine. No big deal as opinions are opinions, remember? But today I had a brief, albeit passionate discussion over what pharmacists want. The people telling me what pharmacists wanted weren’t healthcare professionals. They were engineers, sales people, etc. I know that comes off a bit elitist, but it’s not. I don’t pretend to know what an engineer knows, so perhaps they shouldn’t pretend to know what I know. Fair? I think so.

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Cool Technology for Pharmacy

There’s a running joke among pharmacists that we have medication to treat just about everything. It’s kind of like Apples “There’s an app for that”, i.e. “There’s a pill for that”. Well, we’re getting closer to making that statement a reality. The SmartPill is a diagnostic device in the shape of a giant capsule. It is taken by the patient and wirelessly transmits data to the physician as it journeys through the patient’s small and large bowel.
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Healthcare vs. consumer tech, who’s more advanced?

I spend a lot of time on the internet, probably too much time.  My recent readings resulted in a raised eyebrow when I spotted two articles in particular; one for a new touch-screen anesthesia system from McKesson and the other for a touch-screen coca-cola fountain drink dispenser.
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2009 ‘Most Wired Hospitals’

Healthcare IT News: “The Most Wired Survey and Benchmarking study, conducted annually by Hospitals and Health Networks, has named the “100 Most Wired Hospitals and Health Systems” for 2009. The survey measured the use of information technology at 1,314 hospitals for quality, customer service, public health and safety, business processes and workforce issues. The magazine also released lists of the “25 Most Improved,” the “25 Most Wireless” and the “25 Most Wired – Small and Rural” hospitals.” – The article goes on to list the winning hospitals, sorted by state. I’m sad to say we are not on the list. Maybe next year.

NQF calls for pharmacists to take greater role in patient safety “Literature shows that when pharmacists are involved in care, the result is improved patient care, fewer adverse events, and reduced costs,” said Andrawis, speaking about Safe Practice 18. “But, in order for that full benefit to be realized, it’s really important that those pharmacists be given appropriate authority, and consequently that they continue to take accountability for patient outcomes.” – The article goes on to say that pharmacists should be involved in all facets of patient safety including leadership, technology and clinical rolls. Pharmacists are uniquely qualified to address patient safety issues. This is especially true when it comes to the pharmacists roll in the medication distribution model and implementation of new technology such as smart pumps, automated dispensing and barcoding. As the public becomes more aware of issues related to patient safety, the pharmacists roll in saving lives (and money) associated with medication errors will become even bigger.