Saturday morning coffee [October 4, 2014]

“Keep true, never be ashamed of doing right, decide on what you think is right and stick to it.” ~George Eliot

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 mug below comes straight from a little shop in the French Quarter in New Orleans. My wife and I were recently there for a few days while I attended a conference. We had a great time. The food, the people, the atmosphere, all good. We ate a lot of good food, include beignets and my first ever muffaletta.

MUG_NOLA2
Continue reading Saturday morning coffee [October 4, 2014]

I used a telemedicine service for the first time and loved it

My daughter woke the other morning with the following complaints:

  • itchy eye
  • watery eye
  • “feels like there’s sand in my eye”
  • and from my observation, redness in the “white” of her eye

Hmm, I’ve seen this before. My initial thought was conjunctivitis, a.k.a. “Pink eye”.  I called our family pediatrician looking for something to hold us over the weekend until we could be seen on Monday. Basically I was saying it looks like Pink eye, so let’s  treat it like Pink eye for the rest of the weekend and I’ll follow up with you on Monday. Unfortunately I got the nurse practitioner on call. She wasn’t very cooperative. She wanted me to take my daughter to the urgent care to rule out periorbital cellulitis. Really? You jump from itchy, red eye with a slight watery discharge to periorbital cellulitis? I thought that was rather ridiculous, so I ignored her and hung up the phone.

Sounded like a good time to try a telemedicine service. My insurance company, Anthem Blue Cross, offers a a service called LiveHealth Online. I followed the link provided by my insurance company, downloaded the app, and by 7:30 am on Sunday morning my daughter and I were sitting on the couch in our living room speaking with a Family Practice physician about her eye.

I let my daughter do all the talking. I was simply there to make sure things went smoothly. The physician asked several questions about how my daughter was feeling, about her eye, who she’d been in contact with, and what she had been doing over the past several days. The physician had my daughter hold her eye up to the front facing camera on her Galaxy S5 from several different angles to better view of the eye. Conclusion? Conjunctivitis, probably viral. The physician decided to treat with some anti-bacterial eye drops “just in case”. A prescription was electronically sent to our pharmacy and that was it. From beginning to end the entire visit took less than 15 minutes.

It’s been about 36 hours since we started treatment and her eye has improved significantly. Overall I have to say that my first experience with telemedicine was fantastic. A trip to the urgent care would have taken several hours and been quite inconvenient. I have to say, I believe now more than ever that telemedicine has a place in healthcare, especially for things like this.

Periorbital cellulitis my rear.

Saturday morning coffee [March 2 2013]

MUG_WisconsinWelcome to March everyone. 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….

I picked up the coffee mug to the right in Fitchburg, WI last summer while on a business trip. I drove there from Chicago after stopping off to visit a hospital in Winfield, IL. Wisconsin was a pretty nice place to visit in the summer. I wasn’t able to do a bunch of touristy stuff, but I did get a chance to see a movie at one of the nicest movie theaters I’ve ever been in. The theater was big, and it had a piano in the lobby. Strange thing about Wisconsin, they have the nicest highway rest stops I’ve ever used. If you’re ever in California I’d avoid the rest stops; good place to skip.
Continue reading Saturday morning coffee [March 2 2013]

Why don’t we hear more about telepharmacy?

With the ubiquity of smartphones and tablets these days it seems that pharmacy would finally come out of the dark ages and start using these tools to their benefit. I recently read an article at MEDCITY | News  that talked about the use of tablet technology for “telerounds”.

Telerounds: The sexy idea is about providing a way for patients in a hospital setting to communicate with their physicians even when they are not at the hospital. An early version of the concept in 2005 took the form of physician robots on account of the tablet screens being attached to “robots” that move from patient to patient. A study conducted by Johns Hopkins researchers in 2005 met with positive feedback from patients and the Henry Ford Hospital in Michigan has been testing the concept with patients using iPads equipped with a Apple’s Face Time program, similar to Skype, in post surgery settings. On industry expert rattled off several reasons why it just isn’t practical right now. First, it would assume that surgeons are always available when the patient needs to speak to them. Current reimbursement models don’t support it. Most hospitals don’t grow iPads on trees for patients to use upon admission. It wouldn’t work with physicians since they could not be reimbursed. Still, it might work better when patients are discharged as a solution for providers trying to reduce readmission rates.

Continue reading Why don’t we hear more about telepharmacy?

Telerounding with an iPad at Henry Ford Hospital

PRWeb:

The surgeon and his patient are actually 25 miles apart in two different hospitals, each armed with an iPad equipped with the live video chat software FaceTime.

Through face-to-face video calls on iPads and other tablets, Henry Ford is initiating the next wave of high-tech communication at hospitals called “telerounding.”

“Patients are looking for us to use current technology in a way that improves their care, and ‘telerounding’ with the iPad really fits that need in enhancing the communication and care following surgery.”

The iPad fills a critical need for Henry Ford surgeons like Dr. Rogers – who perform operations each week at both Henry Ford Hospital in Detroit and Henry Ford West Bloomfield Hospital – to communicate with their patients in the clinic or inpatient setting, even when they’re not in the same city.

Previously, the surgeon would call the patient on the phone if he wasn’t on site. By replacing a phone call with a video-chat on the iPad, patients are able to have a personal and confidential conversation with their surgeon.

I love this concept. I talked to a pharmacy director at the end of last year that was doing something similar with the iPad for patient medication consultation at the time of discharge. Discharge medications were filled by the pharmacy and delivered to the patient’s bedside by a pharmacy technician toting an iPad. If the patient desired consultation with a pharmacist the technician fired up FaceTime. Cool use of technology.

VGo telepresence robot has Verizon LTE

Engadget: “the VGo ‘bot — a chest-high roving device that has a display and camera built-in and allows patients and others to interact with a remote operator — is at CES this year to show off its inclusion of Verizon LTE, instead of the WiFi-only model we’ve seen in times past.” – So? So this means you’re no longer confined to locations with Wi-Fi. It means you can have telepresence (telemedicine, telepharmacy) anywhere. Need a specialist’s opinion in the middle of nowhere? Ok, just fire up the VGo robot with Verizon LTE.

For those of you that haven’t experience “4G” you’re missing out. It’s quite snappy. I frequently use my Galaxy Nexus to watch movies on Netflix while waiting for my daughter at Volleyball practice. No lag. No buffering. Just a smooth movie watching experience.

 

Cool Technology for Pharmacy – eDoc Telemedicine System

Telemedicine is one of those technologies that is either going to be unbelievably useful or a complete waste of time. Only time will tell. Recent articles like the one in Archives of Internal Medicine suggest that it may have a place in healthcare. Pharmacists may find telemedicine a useful tool for communicating with patients or physicians over great distances. I can see value in that.

While not specifically designed for pharmacy, the eDoc Telemedicine/EHR System is a cool piece of technology. For information to be useful it needs to be collected and made available at the point of care, which is exactly what this system does.

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“What’d I miss?” – Week of February 14th

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 February 14th