Welcome to the November 2012 edition of i2P (Information to Pharmacists).
In this edition we pause to acknowledge the recent passing of Alan Russell OBE, pharmacy’s elder statesman, who died in Adelaide on Friday, 26 October 2012.
Alan was the National President of the Pharmacy Guild from 1971 to 1982.
He was involved with the establishment of Guild headquarters in Canberra and also the formation of the Guild Insurance Company.
His big shoes will be hard to fill.
Also in this edition of i2P we would point you to the top left hand corner of the homepage where you will find an archive of all media releases from PSA, NPS and ASMI.
This is a useful reference resources and a function that i2P has undertaken for many years.
Volume 1 Number 1
Volume 1 Number 2
Volume 1 Number 3
Volume 1 Number 4
Volume 1 Number 5
Volume 1 Number 6
Volume 1 Number 7
Volume 2 Number 1
Volume 2 Number 2
Volume 2 Number 3
Volume 2 Number 4
Volume 2 Number 5
Volume 2 Number 6
Volume 2 Number 7
Volume 2 Number 8
Volume 2 Number 9
Volume 2 Number 10
Volume 2 Number 11
Volume 3 Number 1
Volume 3 Number 2
Volume 3 Number 3
Volume 3 Number 4
Volume 3 Number 5
Volume 3 Number 6
Volume 3 Number 7
Volume 3 Number 8
Volume 3 Number 9
Volume 3 Number 10
Volume 3 Number 11
Volume 4 Number 1
Volume 4 Number 2
Volume 4 Number 3
Volume 4 Number 4
Volume 4 Number 5
Volume 4 Number 6
Volume 4 Number 7
Volume 4 Number 8
Volume 4 Number 9
Volume 4 Number 10
Volume 4 Number 11
Volume 5 Number 1
Volume 5 Number 2
Volume 5 Number 3
Volume 5 Number 4
Volume 5 Number 5
Volume 5 Number 6
Volume 5 Number 7
Volume 5 Number 8
Volume 5 Number 9
Volume 5 Number 10
Volume 5 Number 11
Volume 6 Number 1
Volume 6 Number 2
Volume 6 Number 3
Volume 6 Number 4
Volume 6 Number 5
Volume 6 Number 6
Regular weekly updates that supplement the regular monthly homepage edition of i2P.
Access and click on the title links that are illustrated.
Editor's Note: Joseph Conway is a new writer for i2P and he brings the perspective of a young pharmacists tackling the career problems that become very apparent as you begin to work your way through the different stages.
I first met Joseph some years ago in the pharmacy department of a rural hospital, working as a locum.
He was backpacking at the time.
I am delighted to have renewed acquaintance again because I had not realised he had returned to Australia, married, and started a family.
Joseph is now well-integrated in Australian pharmacy culture and "punching well above his weight" as evidenced by the commentary contributed to various pharmacy publications.
In the following article he builds a framework as to his perspective on Australian pharmacy now, while simultaneously providing a platform for future commentary on each segment.
The Pharmacy Conference is great in that it always challenges those who attend to look at their business with ‘new eyes’.
Community pharmacy is a seven day business and we all spend a lot of time inside our businesses.
A good conference will not only take us out of the space we work in but it will also transport us to other paradigms, challenging our beliefs in the process.
A QR code (quick response code) is a type of 2D bar code that is used to provide easy access to information through a smartphone.
Example of a QR code
In this process, known as mobile tagging, the smartphone’s owner points the phone at a QR code and opens a barcode reader app which works in conjunction with the phone’s camera. The reader interprets the code, which typically contains a call to action such as an invitation to download a mobile application, a link to view a video or web page or an SMS message inviting the viewer to respond to a poll. The phone’s owner can choose to act upon the call to action or click cancel and ignore the invitation.
Communication is an essential tool of the healthcare professional.
Pharmacists, whatever their role, require excellent communication skills.
The communication may be verbal or written, including composing instructions on a label when dispensing.
Most of this article focuses on verbal communication but similar principles apply to written communication.
Good communication requires not only clear expression but also the ability to listen and interpret. Listening is not the same as hearing.
The downward spiral is all too familiar.
A drinking problem leads to a job lost, which leads to more drinking.
Poor customer service leads customers to choose other pharmacies, which of course leads to less investment in customer service, which continues the problem.
The boss has a temper tantrum because he’s stressed about his leadership qualities. The tantrum undermines his relationship with his peers, which of course makes him more stressed and he becomes more likely to have another tantrum. An employee is disheartened because of negative feedback from a boss, which leads to less effort, which of course leads to more negative feedback.
Most things that go wrong, go wrong slowly.
It's election season, and one of the greatest privileges we have in America is selecting our own leaders. While we have widely varied opinions of who should win, the fundamental characteristics of good leadership remain constant.
A sociology professor from one of the country's major universities spent his life studying leadership by tracing the careers of 5,000 former students. When he was asked how you spot a leader he said, "I have come to the conclusion that the only way one can determine a leader is to look at the person and see if anybody is following."
Update: Lateline ran a story on the ethics of End-of-Life care. They stopped short of examining Affordability and Rights to Basic Healthcare.
I was reminded on the radio yesterday of the simple question, "What price a life?"
This is the fundamental underpinning of Aged Care and End-of-Life Medical Care where a huge fraction, heading to 50%, of our total taxes gets spent.
As we Baby Boomers move to retirement and needing increasing levels of Healthcare and Residential Care, this is a question that must be answered, we can't adopt a Policy of "Head in Sand", "just do the Max".
If we don't have a nation-wide debate on this, consider it explicitly, we will have bureaucrats and politicians decide it for us, implicitly. The decisions they make and inherent resulting bias and who is selected as "privileged" won't please anyone, and probably not even the favoured few.
This is real, this is near, this is important, this affects every one of us.
Economic boom times accommodate, tolerate and facilitate large measures of inefficiency and ineffectiveness.
Inherent in many past mass marketing strategies and initiatives were varying percentages of poorly targeted communications.
Wastage factors were typically sizeable, but arguably affordable because of the sheer volume of business potential.
Some customers simply fell in the cracks and felt that way, with little recognition of their plights, disappointments and unrecognised and unfulfilled needs, wants and aspirations.
Little wonder that customer loyalty was mostly read about in marketing and sales publications, rather than being experienced and enjoyed in business relationships.
As a cancer survivor, who for eight weeks made a daily two-hour return trip for radiotherapy,
I know the true benefits of radiation 'energy Medicine’.
With side-effects and no guarantee of success, the treatment was backed by solid clinical trials.
With so many alternative practitioners claiming that their version of 'energy medicine' can diagnose and treat many diseases, is it surprising that worried patients are easily confused?
I’ve been thinking about war, inventors, swim fins, and The unSUMMIT for Bedside Barcoding.
The war the fathers of Tom Brokaw’s Greatest Generation Ever fought was not “the war to end all wars” as Woodrow Wilson had anticipated. It was followed by another world war, which soon after we started numbering. Pray God we won’t get to III.
After three years of fighting in America’s Civil War, George Westinghouse enrolled in college. Within the year, he filed his first patent and dropped out. The prolific inventor went on to establish Westinghouse Electric and 60 other companies before he died in the spring of 1914 with 361 patents under his belt, a month before the U.S. entered the first World War.
by Robert G. Smith, PhD
(OMNS Oct 26, 2012) A major new health study published online last week found that everyday multivitamin supplements lower your risk of cancer by 8%. This important result confirms what nutritionists and medical researchers have known over the past 50 years, that supplements of essential nutrients are beneficial for health and preventing disease. This is terrific news for everyone! Cancer deaths in the US in recent years have hovered near 600,000 per year (190 per 100,000) and are increasing. If taking a daily multivitamin will prevent 8% of these deaths, then the lives of 48,000 people in the US could be saved each year, just by taking an inexpensive daily vitamin pill.
Do you ever get the feeling that on some days you are the statue and on others, you are the pigeon?
Or, if you are like me, you’ve almost forgotten what it was like to be the pigeon?
Day after day it seems that there is a continuation of the litany of bad news that affects all pharmacists.
It’s almost uncanny, as though there is an unseen hand guiding and manipulating a disadvantage at every corner.
"Restrictions on the location of pharmacies, and limiting store co-location in medical centres, protects pharmacists from themselves", Kos Sclavos, Pharmacy Guild of Australia believes as he delivered an address at the Pharmacy Business Network early in September 2012.
That sounds very paternalistic and not very accurate.
Later, in early November 2012, we heard a story through the pages of "The Irrigator" about a pharmacy monopoly in the town of Leeton NSW, where the two pharmacies in town have the same ownership.
Customers and patients were complaining of poor service and a new pharmacist (Tracey Rudd) wishing to open a new pharmacy and provide good service, was blocked because of location rules
I succeeded because I have street smarts.
Here are some street-smart ideas that have worked for me over the years.
If one or two of them work for you that's terrific.
As 2012 draws to a close we are starting to become aware that the business and professional cycle of pharmacy is “bottoming out”.
As such there is a high degree of uncertainty within the pharmacy community at all levels, and a sense of direction has become less obvious.
In a flash, we can gain moments of clarity.
The larger unfolding story comes into focus, and we embrace the undeniable truth, because there's little choice otherwise.
As these “light bulb” moments occur we are able to modify our direction by re-defining our story to re-invent ourselves.
Your story actually becomes your “brand”.
And that brings me to the point of this article - unless you are able to accurately tell your story and strongly identify with it, you lose the ability to convey that story to others – your customers and patients and yes, government as well.
MOTHERS who take folic acid (FA) supplements in the period leading up to pregnancy can reduce the risk of their baby developing a brain tumour during childhood by almost half.
This is the result of a five year study by the Australian Childhood Brain Tumour Consortium (Aus-CBT), led by Professor Elizabeth Milne at WA’s Telethon Institute for Child Health Research.
Doctor Mole is a smartphone app that allows users to check their moles for melanoma.
The skin cancer app uses augmented reality technology to identify any irregularities in the size, shape, color, and border of the mole. It analyses the data in real-time and provides ‘risk’ level for each of the characteristics.
Users can also set up automatic reminders to checkup on any spot and compare photos to help track any changes to the mole.
A new pediatric medical device being developed by Georgia Tech and Emory University could make life easier for every parent who has rushed to the doctor with a child screaming from an ear infection.
Soon, parents may be able to skip the doctor's visit and receive a diagnosis without leaving home by using Remotoscope, a clip-on attachment and software app that turns an iPhone into an otoscope.
Pediatricians currently diagnose ear infections using the standard otoscope to examine the eardrum. With Remotoscope, parents would be able to take a picture or video of their child's eardrum using the iPhone and send the images digitally to a physician for diagnostic review.
Thanks to Nike FuelBand, Fitbits, and BodyMedia devices, fitness enthusiasts can now obsessively track their exercise levels, calorie counts, and vital signs.
That data is typically fed into an online dashboard that spits out health, diet, and fitness recommendations to help people reach specific goals, like weight loss.
Diagnostics For All, a nonprofit based in the US, developed a simple laser print that diagnoses liver damage for the price of 10 cents.
The test consists of a stamp-sized piece of paper with wells that change color when a drop of blood is applied, disclosing results quickly without the need of lab services.
The system, which is designed to work as simply as possible, can be a great step forward for countries with very few health resources, where liver injuries are often a side effect of HIV and tuberculosis drug administration.
The company is also working on several other paper-based diagnostics test, including malaria, dengue fever or even pre-eclampsia in pregnant women and nucleic-acid test to find pathogens in blood.
Professor Andrew Biankin (left) and genetic pathologist Dr Scott Mead with next generation sequencing equipment to be installed at The Kinghorn Cancer Centre.
A large-scale study that defines the complexity of underlying mutations responsible for pancreatic cancers in more than 100 patients was published in Nature today.
The following workshops are available over November for interested pharmacists.
Editor's Note: The media release below relates to pharmacist prescribing, a practice that is second nature to most pharmacists.
But the AMA ensconced in that little world of their own, typically comes out with a resistance to any upgrade of prescribing skills for pharmacists.
Dr Greg Kyle (PhD) a University of Canberra academic has an opposite view. i2P has debated the issues so long ago that it is almost ancient history.
Nonetheless, we have asked Mark Coleman to elaborate, and he adds his comments below the media release.