s Communicate anywhere and everywhere – is getting nowhere | I2P: Information to Pharmacists - Archive
Publication Date 01/07/2014         Volume. 6 No. 6   
Information to Pharmacists


From the desk of the editor

Welcome to the July 2014 homepage edition of i2P (Information to Pharmacists) E-Magazine.
At the commencement of 2014 i2P focused on the need for the entire profession of pharmacy and its associated industry supports to undergo a renewal and regeneration.
We are now half-way through this year and it is quite apparent that pharmacy leaders do not yet have a cohesive and clear sense of direction.
Maybe the new initiative by Woolworths to deliver clinical service through young pharmacists and nurses may sharpen their focus.
If not, community pharmacy can look forward to losing a substantial and profitable market share of the clinical services market.
Who would you blame when that happens?
But I have to admit there is some effort, even though the results are but meagre.
In this edition of i2P we focus on the need for research about community pharmacy, the lack of activity from practicing pharmacists and when some research is delivered, a disconnect appears in its interpretation and implementation.

read more
open full screen

Recent Comments

Click here to read...

News Flash

Newsflash Updates for July 2014

Newsflash Updates

Regular weekly updates that supplement the regular monthly homepage edition of i2P. 
Access and click on the title links that are illustrated

Comments: 1

read more
open full screen

Feature Contribution

Woolworths Pharmacy - Getting One Stage Closer

Neil Johnston

It started with “tablet” computers deployed on shelves inside the retailer Coles, specifically to provide information to consumers relating to pain management and the sale of strong analgesics.
This development was reported in i2P under the title Coles Pharmacy Expansion and the Arid PGA Landscape”
In that article we reported that qualified information was a missing link that had come out of Coles market research as the reason to why it had not succeeded in dominating the pain market.
Of course, Woolworths was working on the same problem at the same time and had come up with a better solution - real people with good information.

Comments: 5

read more
open full screen

Intensive Exposition without crossing over with a supermarket

Fiona Sartoretto Verna AIAPP

Editor's Note: The understanding of a pharmacy's presentation through the research that goes into the design of fixtures and fittings that highlight displays, is a never-ending component of pharmacy marketing.
Over the past decade, Australian pharmacy shop presentations have fallen behind in standards of excellence.
It does not take rocket science - you just have to open your eyes.
Recently, our two major supermarkets, Woolworths and Coles, have entered into the field of drug and condition information provision - right into the heartland of Australian Pharmacy.

read more
open full screen

The sure way to drive business away

Gerald Quigley

I attended the Pregnancy, Baby and Children’s Expo in Brisbane recently.
What an eye and ear opening event that was!
Young Mums, mature Mums, partners of all ages, grandparents and friends……...many asking about health issues and seeking reassurances that they were doing the right thing.

Comments: 1

read more
open full screen

‘Marketing Based Medicine’ – how bad is it?

Baz Bardoe

It should be the scandal of the century.
It potentially affects the health of almost everyone.
Healthcare providers and consumers alike should be up in arms. But apart from coverage in a few credible news sources the problem of ‘Marketing Based Medicine,’ as psychiatrist Dr Peter Parry terms it, hasn’t as yet generated the kind of universal outrage one might expect.

read more
open full screen

Community Pharmacy Research - Are You Involved?

Mark Coleman

Government funding is always scarce and restricted.
If you are ever going to be a recipient of government funds you will need to fortify any application with evidence.
From a government perspective, this minimises risk.
I must admit that while I see evidence of research projects being managed by the PGA, I rarely see community pharmacists individually and actively engaged in the type of research that would further their own aims and objectives (and survival).

read more
open full screen

Organisational Amnesia and the Lack of a Curator Inhibits Cultural Progress

Neil Johnston

Most of us leave a tremendous impact on pharmacies we work for (as proprietors, managers, contractors or employees)—in ways we’re not even aware of.
But organisational memories are often all too short, and without a central way to record that impact and capture the knowledge and individual contributions, they become lost to time.
It is ironic that technology has provided us with phenomenal tools for communication and connection, but much of it has also sped up our work lives and made knowledge and memory at work much more ephemeral.

read more
open full screen

Academics on the payroll: the advertising you don't see

Staff Writer

This article was first published in The Conversation and was written by Wendy Lipworth, University of Sydney and Ian Kerridge, University of Sydney
In the endless drive to get people’s attention, advertising is going ‘native’, creeping in to places formerly reserved for editorial content. In this Native Advertising series we find out what it looks like, if readers can tell the difference, and more importantly, whether they care.
i2P has republished the article as it supports our own independent and ongoing investigations on how drug companies are involved in marketing-based medicine rather than evidence-based medicine.

read more
open full screen

I’ve been thinking about admitting wrong.

Mark Neuenschwander

Editor's Note: This is an early article by Mark Neuenschwander we have republished after the soul-searching surrounding a recent Australian dispensing error involving methotrexate.
Hmm. There’s more than one way you could take that, huh? Like Someday when I get around to it (I’m not sure) I may admit that I was wrong about something. Actually, I’ve been thinking about the concept of admitting wrong. So don’t get your hopes up. No juicy confessions this month except that I wish it were easier for me to admit when I have been wrong or made a mistake.
Brian Goldman, an ER physician from Toronto, is host of the award-winning White Coat, Black Art on CBC Radio and slated to deliver the keynote at The unSUMMIT for Bedside Barcoding in Anaheim this May. His TED lecture, entitled, “Doctors make mistakes. Can we talk about it?” had already been viewed by 386,072 others before I watched it last week.

read more
open full screen

Dispensing errors – a ripple effect of damage

Kay Dunkley - BPharm, Grad Dip Hosp Pharm, Grad Dip Health Admin, MPS, MSHPA

Most readers will be aware of recent publicity relating to dispensing errors and in particular to deaths caused by methotrexate being incorrectly packed in dose administration aids.
The Pharmacy Board of Australia (PBA), in its Communique of 13 June 2014, described a methotrexate packing error leading to the death of a patient and noted “extra vigilance is required to be exercised by pharmacists with these drugs”.
This same case was reported by A Current Affair (ACA) in its program on Friday 20 June

read more
open full screen

Take a vacation from your vocation

Harvey Mackay

Have you ever had one of those days when all you could think was, “Gosh, do I need a vacation.”
Of course you have – because all work and no play aren’t good for anyone.
A vacation doesn’t have to be two weeks on a tropical island, or even a long weekend at the beach. 
A vacation just means taking a break from your everyday activities. 
A change of pace. 
It doesn’t matter where.
Everyone needs a vacation to rejuvenate mentally and physically. 
But did you also know that you can help boost our economy by taking some days off? 
Call it your personal stimulus package.

read more
open full screen

Explainer: what is peer review?

Staff Writer

This article was first published in the Conversation. It caught our eye because "peer review" it is one of the standards for evidence-based medicines that has also been corrupted by global pharma.
The article is republished by i2P as part of its ongoing investigation into scientific fraud and was writtenby Andre Spicer, City University London and Thomas Roulet, University of Oxford
We’ve all heard the phrase “peer review” as giving credence to research and scholarly papers, but what does it actually mean?
How does it work?
Peer review is one of the gold standards of science. It’s a process where scientists (“peers”) evaluate the quality of other scientists' work. By doing this, they aim to ensure the work is rigorous, coherent, uses past research and adds to what we already knew.
Most scientific journals, conferences and grant applications have some sort of peer review system. In most cases it is “double blind” peer review. This means evaluators do not know the author(s), and the author(s) do not know the identity of the evaluators.
The intention behind this system is to ensure evaluation is not biased.
The more prestigious the journal, conference, or grant, the more demanding will be the review process, and the more likely the rejection. This prestige is why these papers tend to be more read and more cited.

read more
open full screen

Dentists from the dark side?

Loretta Marron OAM BSc

While dining out with an elderly friend, I noticed that he kept his false tooth plate in his shirt pocket. He had recently had seven amalgam-filled teeth removed, because he believed that their toxins were making him sick; but his new plate was uncomfortable. He had been treated by an 'holistic dentist'. Claiming to offer a "safe and healthier alternative" to conventional dentistry, are they committed to our overall health and wellbeing or are they promoting unjustified fear, unnecessarily extracting teeth and wasting our money?

read more
open full screen

Planning for Profit in 2015 – Your key to Business Success

Chris Foster

We are now entering a new financial year and it’s a great time to reflect on last year and highlight those things that went well and those that may have impacted negatively in the pursuit of your goals.
It's also a great to spend some time re-evaluating your personal and business short, medium and long term goals in the light of events over the last year.
The achievement of your goals will in many cases be dependent on setting and aspiring to specific financial targets. It's important that recognise that many of your personal goals will require you to generate sufficient business profits to fund those aspirations

read more
open full screen

ReWalk™ Personal Exoskeleton System Cleared by FDA for Home Use

Staff Writer

Exoskeleton leader ReWalk Robotics announced today that the U.S. Food and Drug Administration has cleared the company’s ReWalk Personal System for use at home and in the community.
ReWalk is a wearable robotic exoskeleton that provides powered hip and knee motion to enable individuals with Spinal Cord Injury (SCI) to stand upright and walk.
ReWalk, the only exoskeleton with FDA clearance via clinical studies and extensive performance testing for personal use, is now available throughout the United States.

read more
open full screen

Attracting and Retaining Great People

Barry Urquhart

Welcome to the new financial year in Australia.
For many in business the past year has been described as a challenging period.
Adjectives are a key feature of the English language.  In the business lexicon their use can be, and often is evocative and stimulate creative images.  But they can also contribute to inexact, emotional perceptions.
Throughout the financial pages of newspapers and business magazines adjectives abound.
References to “hot” money draw attention and comment.  The recent wave of funds from Chinese investors, keen to remove their wealth from the jurisdiction and control of government regulations is creating a potential property bubble in Australia.

read more
open full screen

Updating Your Values - Extending Your Culture

Neil Johnston

Pharmacy culture is dormant.
Being comprised of values, unless each value is continually addressed, updated or deleted, entire organisations can stagnate (or entire professions such as the pharmacy profession).
Good values offer a strong sense of security, knowing that if you operate within the boundaries of your values, you will succeed in your endeavours.

read more
open full screen

Evidence-based medicine is broken. Why we need data and technology to fix it

Staff Writer

The following article is reprinted from The Conversation and forms up part of our library collection on evidence-based medicines.
At i2P we also believe that the current model of evidence is so fractured it will never be able to be repaired.
All that can happen is that health professionals should independently test and verify through their own investigations what evidence exists to prescribe a medicine of any potency.
Health professionals that have patients (such as pharmacists) are ideally placed to observe and record the efficacy for medicines.
All else should confine their criticisms to their evidence of the actual evidence published.
If there are holes in it then share that evidence with the rest of the world.
Otherwise, do not be in such a hurry to criticise professions that have good experience and judgement to make a good choice on behalf of their patients, simply because good evidence has not caught up with reality.

read more
open full screen

Laropiprant is the Bad One; Niacin is/was/will always be the Good One

Staff Writer

Orthomolecular Medicine News Service, July 25, 2014
Laropiprant is the Bad One; Niacin is/was/will always be the Good One
by W. Todd Penberthy, PhD

(OMNS July 25, 2014) Niacin has been used for over 60 years in tens of thousands of patients with tremendously favorable therapeutic benefit (Carlson 2005).
In the first-person NY Times best seller, "8 Weeks to a Cure for Cholesterol," the author describes his journey from being a walking heart attack time bomb to a becoming a healthy individual.
He hails high-dose niacin as the one treatment that did more to correct his poor lipid profile than any other (Kowalski 2001).

read more
open full screen

Culture Drive & Pharmacy Renewal

Neil Johnston

Deep within all of us we have a core set of values and beliefs that create the standards of behaviour that we align with when we set a particular direction in life.
Directions may change many times over a lifetime, but with life experiences and maturity values may increase in number or gain greater depth.
All of this is embraced under one word – “culture”.
When a business is born it will only develop if it has a sound culture, and the values that comprise that culture are initially inherent in the business founder.
A sound business culture equates to a successful business and that success is often expressed in the term “goodwill” which can be eventually translated to a dollar value.

read more
open full screen

ReWalk™ Personal Exoskeleton System Cleared by FDA for Home Use

Staff Writer

Exoskeleton leader ReWalk Robotics announced today that the U.S. Food and Drug Administration has cleared the company’s ReWalk Personal System for use at home and in the community.
ReWalk is a wearable robotic exoskeleton that provides powered hip and knee motion to enable individuals with Spinal Cord Injury (SCI) to stand upright and walk.
ReWalk, the only exoskeleton with FDA clearance via clinical studies and extensive performance testing for personal use, is now available throughout the United States.

read more
open full screen

Pharmacy 2014 - Pharmacy Management Conference

Neil Johnston

The brave new world of health and wellness is not the enemy of Pharmacy, it is its champion.
Australian futurist, Morris Miselowski, one of the world's leading business visionaries, will present the Opening Keynote address on Pharmacy's Future in the new Health and Wellness Landscape at 2.00pm on Wednesday July 30.
Morris believes the key to better health care could already be in your pocket, with doctors soon set to prescribe iPhone apps, instead of pills.
Technology will revolutionise the health industry - a paradigm shift from healthcare to personal wellness.
Health and wellness applications on smartphones are already big news, and are dramatically changing the way we manage our personal health and everyday wellness.

read more
open full screen

Generation and Application of Community Pharmacy Research

Neil Johnston

Editor’s Note: We have had a number of articles in this issue relating to pharmacy research.
The PGA has conducted a number of research initiatives over the years, including one recently reported in Pharmacy News that resulted from an analysis of the QCPP Patient Questionnaire.
Pharmacy Guild president, George Tambassis, appears to have authored the article following, and there also appears to be a disconnect between the survey report and its target audience illustrated by one of the respondent comments published.
I have asked Mark Coleman to follow through, elaborate and comment:

read more
open full screen

Communicate anywhere and everywhere – is getting nowhere

Pat Gallagher

articles by this author...

Patrick Gallagher is well known in Information Technology circles. He has a vital interest in e-health, particularly in the area of shared records and e-prescriptions, also supply chain issues. He maintains a very clear vision of what ought to be, but he and many others in the IT field, are frustrated by government agencies full of experts who have never actually worked in a professional health setting. So we see ongoing wastage, astronomical spends and "top down" systems that are never going to work. Patrick needs to be listened to.

Is talking about talk the best way to start solving the sharing of data in a health informatics scenario?

I have often written on the subject off interoperability; referring to broken and failed systems and in the attempts to get everyone in healthcare, primarily inside a hospital, to exchange information without re-working it all the time.

This can be a complex subject matter because it has little to do with technology and all to do with people. If various departments and fiefdoms want to share their data it can happen; if they behave in a recalcitrant manner, it won’t happen.

Which takes us down a path, for perhaps another time, regarding the subject of IT systems and collaboration? We Australians are not good at this – there is something in our makeup that resists sharing certain things, notably information management systems. Not sure whether it is a streak of independence or immaturity, or both. Anyway, moving on to the matters at hand, let’s continue.

open this article full screen

Given we have human-harmony it will then only happen if the right technology is mixed and matched and the budget is in place to afford the whiz-bang stuff

Along these lines I was doodling away and came across a series of papers that attempt to explain a segment of the technology menu to do with just people-to-people communications. I was surprised how much the jargon has grown over the last few years

If you want to add to your dinner table conversation collateral the following might be useful.

The overarching buzz word is ‘unified communications’.

Today most workers are mobile in some way or another. Certainly very few workers these days are all centrally located. Therefore communicating with other people requires a myriad of tools. Telephony, e-mail, voicemail, messaging, mobile phones, portable computers, audio and web conferencing to name some.

Most of the following refers to ‘chat’ as in voice related communications and data including voice recognition. It also includes medical equipment devices and alarm systems – notably home emergency services

There is a view, which I think to be sensible, that if a large enterprise can get the talk-talk systems integrated then it is easier to build the data capture and data reticulation systems on that, rather than build them separately. The one word that might cover that today, in simple lay terms, is ‘broadband’.

Think of it this way: having one ‘pipe’ that carries voice as well as text, electronic data, images and other forms of information to be stored and recorded for later use

Let us take a boo-peep at the jargon:


Corporate Instant Messenger

Cloud computing


Desktop integrated voice communications

Desktop video conferencing



In-house audio conferencing

Integrated voice communication


Location based services

Mobile phone integration

Other presence based applications


Room based video conferencing

Soft phones (PC based)

Speech recognition

Telecommuter solutions


Unified messaging


Voice over Wi-Fi

Web conferencing

An awful lot of different ways to say g’day!

The point being that most of these newer applications were developed in isolation and then welded onto other services as common sense and demand dictated. So much so that now the different silos in the world of communications are actively working to integrate these technologies to grow the vendor’s business pie by expanding the ease of use for the critical mass of clients and users.

If you thought this was a matter of ‘standards’ you would be right and wrong. ‘Standards’ is a much misunderstood term. What we are seeing in ‘unified communications’ is a coming-together of interfacing as the first priority – without necessarily waiting for new ‘standards’ to be developed.

The descriptors above further reduce down to these broad functional areas of ‘talking’ tools:

Conferencing (video, voice, telepresence): this is something that the health sector has proclaimed as hugely important for years (as in tele-health) but seemingly has failed to make omnipresent. Why? Could it be we persist in re-inventing the concept to make it ‘suitable’ for health rather than just adapt what works?

Messaging/chat: ok, ok, pretty much everyday stuff. Until you see what an iPod can do and what it might be used for in health informatics

Mobile and land line phone integration: oh hum one would think – yet this also means mobile data terminals and desktop PCs that are also ‘phone-based’. Integrating voice should also mean integrating the data streams (but seldom if ever does mean that)

Soft phones: the reverse of the above. Where the desktop or hand held PC are used for telephony – stands to reason that the one box can be using the same integrated pathway for either form of information sharing (?) – often that is not the case

Speech recognition: do you know the early invention of the technology was based on the use by theatre surgeons in the USA recording the progress and details of an operation in ‘real time’. A technology with its origins in healthcare that has slipped away to be more widely used elsewhere

Telecommuter: simply put to allow workers to have the same data and information-sharing tools no matter where they are; at home, travelling, at work, at a desk, away from a desk – anywhere. I think over time this will come to mean applications synonymous with devices such as iPods

Unified messaging: the information I stumbled across used a lot of words detailing a new acronym – TCO – Total Cost Of (you knew that didn’t you) unifying. The thing that rang loud bells was this: the argument that the TCO of implementing (unifying communications) was a fraction of the TCO of doing nothing. Or worse, trying to solve it as a silo – alone. It struck me that the health sector has the TCO thing rear-end up. We are constantly working in a vacuum from ‘others’ which I think is anti-intuitive, but is persisted with because “health is different”. Hullo! There is one big difference that can’t be denied – health is a laggard and not a leader.

Why is that so? Does one suppose!

So. In our world of communicating between hospitals and outside colleagues and inside a hospital, it does seem awfully compelling to get one (chat) or the other (data) fixed and then blend them into one integrated infrastructure.

What in the world I am on about? Well the premise in the words above - Unified messaging. Unifying all the technology channels into a single switching service of some sort. Regardless of the type of voice message or electronic data exchange. Where, over time, Cloud Computing (think Google) will become, at least in your humble scribe’s mind, dominant. Without digressing, there was a simply amazing piece in the Australian newspaper’s Health IT pages around this subject along the lines that the powers that aren’t have decided to leave the storage of our personal health records to the likes of Microsoft and Google. One wag opined that he hoped someone in Canberra had told both companies of this announcement before it was printed!

Anyway that’s cloud computing, more or less

Think of it all this way. In your world there are many tools that have been acquired separately over time in the broad terms of technology. Starting with the land line phone and now onto broadband of some sort. All of the gadgets in the pharmacy and at home or the office are in one way or another connected, usually separately to these ‘pipes’ and in some cases also by wireless or blue tooth links.

Most of us do not voluntarily try to ‘fix this’. Any attempt to consolidate all the acquired tools usually starts with a carrier or an ISP provider trying to sell an integrated voice and data package that combines the data links to the PC, the mobile phone service and the land line service into one package and hence one monthly bill based on a single contract.

More often than not this works out fine until a) a better deal comes along or b) the service provider’s platform does not deliver the promised performance and the value deal fades away

In very simple terms the question asked of you today, at home or at the pharmacy, the office or all of the above, is can you do any better by merging the cost of communicating into one service or remain with the diverse links that you acquired over time and circumstance?

Seems to me this is a question the entire health informatics industry needs to ask itself as part of, or instead of, waiting for the elusive set of comprehensive ‘standards’ to materialise. Standards that will allow anyone, to use anything, to tell everyone, all things to do with healthcare and the patient community it serves, is certainly desirable – but how many of us will die before it ever happens?

Heaven knows we are getting no-where fast the way things are at present.

I volunteer my time to work in health informatics standards development; an exercise that is bittersweet to say the least. Are we doing this right? I dunno. Truly I don’t. Is it taking a long time? You bet it is. Not only a long time but an expensive one in terms of a) the cost of the effort and b) the cost of not delivering the standards that will save both lives and costs.

So, it struck me as I read this ‘unified communications’ paper, that perhaps we in health spend too much time working in the vacuum. A bubble of theory and good intentions that can go nowhere unless the ‘unified’ (nee interoperable) technologies are in place to regurgitate the commonly needed, shared, information.

Put another way. Health is not an island in ICT capability requirements, yet we are inclined to ignore what other industries are doing and continue to write the world right, the way we want to see it done. All the time under-investing per capita against these other industries in ICT by considerable monetary margins.

If the insurance sector (records and claims), hoteliers (running a clean and efficiently pleasant hospital), mining (testing), entertainment (film and images), retailers (supply chain), banking (finance and liquidity) all have integrated systems, mostly systems that also ‘talk’ out to, and in from, the public – why do we in health lag so far behind?

A very smart person whose name I don’t have (to acknowledge) once said:

“The best way to see the future is to do it – make it happen now” (sic)

Who, pray tell, is going to ‘do it’?

Me? I am back to doodling





Return to home

Post new comment

The content of this field is kept private and will not be shown publicly.
  • Web page addresses and e-mail addresses turn into links automatically.
  • Allowed HTML tags: <a> <em> <strong> <cite> <code> <ul> <ol> <li> <dl> <dt> <dd>
  • Lines and paragraphs break automatically.

More information about formatting options

This question is for testing whether you are a genuine visitor, to prevent automated spam submissions.
Incorrect please try again
Enter the words above: Enter the numbers you hear:

health news headlines provided courtesy of Medical News Today.

Click here to

If any difficulty is found in subscribing, please use the "Contact Us" panel found in the navigation bar with the message "subscribe" and your email address.

Subscribe to our mailing list

Email Format


  • Copyright (C) 2000-2019 Computachem Services, All Rights Reserved.

Website by Ablecode