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Regular updates from the global world of pharmacy.
Access and click on the title links that are illustrated.
Regular updates from the global world of pharmacy.
Practical experience is hard to acquire once you have finished your academic studies.
It is a process we all have to experience at one stage of our career.
The transition from being a student to a practising pharmacist can be a difficult time and unless early career pharmacists equip themselves for the new challenges they face, they may not be maximising their career opportunities.
It is also the type of program that could earn incentive payments for the workplaces providing the experience in the community.
The Pharmacy Council recently promoted a discussion document to encourage feedback from the health care environment on the impending legislative changes that are intended to provide the opportunity for pharmacists to prescribe.
The proposed legislation will enable suitably qualified postgraduate educated and skilled clinical pharmacists to prescribe from the drug tariff for patients under their care.
These pharmacists will have to work as part of a primary health care team and it is expected they will become an integral part of that team.
All very exciting for our profession to witness that there is a recognition that pharmacists are capable of stepping up to the mark and are worthy of greater responsibilities.
Pharma-Goss for August 2010
When selecting a team to participate in a primary health care review of the diagnosis and management of hypertension patient one would hope that a pharmacist would be a natural selection.
But in the case of a paper published recently in Australian Family Physician (http://www.racgp.org.au/afp/201007/201007howes.pdf) a pharmacist did not rate a mention in the panel set up to identify the problems associated with diagnosing hypertension and maintaining a dose that suited the needs of the patient with maximum adherence.
The thought that first struck me after reading ‘the clarification’ about the eRx Script Exchange on the editorial page of the May Issue of the Pulse+IT magazine was - Why is this clarification so necessary?
On the surface it seemed like a reasonable statement to make.
It read: “Clarification - in the March 2010 edition of Pulse+IT it was reported that the electronic prescribing service operated by eRx Script Exchange had received 7.5 million scripts "sent to the eRx script hub by prescribers" as of the middle of January.
Omitted from the article was reference to a workflow that allows pharmacists to send repeat prescriptions to the hub for later retrieval by any pharmacist connected to the eRx system.
The volume of transactions quoted in the March 2010 article included such scripts, in addition to scripts sent to the hub directly by prescribers.”
In The Australian Friday 23 July (Political creed: do no harm) Emma Connors reported that “sometime in the next four weeks both Julia Gillard and Tony Abbott are likely to sign a letter promising their support to a group of 5000 small business owners whose public standing allows them to extract an extraordinary pledge.”
She reported that the Guild had “asked the leaders of both sides of politics to agree that the terms of the recently enacted Fifth Community Pharmacy Agreement will be upheld, including the all-important promise to keep supermarkets out of pharmacy”.
Editor's Note - 15th November 2012:
When this article was first published in August 2010, Gollman-Bouw had entered into liquidation following a very turbulent period under the stewardship of Mark Bouw, managing director of the Australian enterprise.
Since that date the automated dispensing market has settled down and is now demonstrating steady and solid growth.
New people have entered into an agreement with German company Gollmann Systems and they have no relationship with any of the people associated with the former entity.
Many of the initial teething problems have been overcome and a better understanding of the Australian pharmacy market has emerged.
Gollmann Systems are globally competitive and contain innovations not seen in some of their competitors.
Any prospective purchaser should short-list this product when seeking a solution for their pharmacy.
Since the global financial crisis began to bite, Australians have shifted more of their weekly purchases into private label.
In respect of the $70 billion pa food market, private label currently accounts for 23%, with the prospect of moving to 30% within five years.
Many foods have health giving and medicinal properties.
Indeed, i2P reports frequently in its Preventive Medicine section, regular discoveries where food can be used to support various health conditions.
For example, raw beetroot juice has recently been found to be effective in treating high blood pressure (it contains nitrates) and is as effective as some antihypertensive drugs. Cinnamon is another food that is useful for diabetics, where cinnamon appears to have effects similar to metformin i.e. it sensitises insulin.
Ayurvedic medicine, developed in India over centuries, encompasses the use of many delicious foods enhanced with herbs and spices.
Ayurveda is an ancient Indian healing system. The central philosophy is that illness is caused by an imbalance of the body's three vital energies, or 'doshas'. Ayurveda uses a range of treatments including yoga, massage, acupuncture and herbal medicine.
More information can be found at the Australian government site - HealthInsite. http://www.healthinsite.gov.au/topics/Ayurvedic_Medicine
For Ayurveda diet and health information that can get you started, try this site http://www.joyfulbelly.com
People involved in e-health are bitterly disappointed with the "hung parliament" result.
At least Labour had a vision with its national broadband roll-out, even if it wasn't properly articulated in regard to cost.
Some proponents argue that the cost matters little - it is the advantage given to Australians who want to be pioneers in e-health. Opportunities could be lost and they may be priceless.
i2P went looking for some informed comment on the subject and found some excellent commentary written by Paul Budde, a telecommunications analyst.
His commentary follows:
Researchers have collected venom from octopuses in Antarctica for the first time, significantly advancing our understanding of the properties of venom as a potential resource for drug-development.
The study, conducted by an international team of researchers from the University of Melbourne, the Norwegian University of Technology and Science and the University of Hamburg, provides the first insight into the properties of Antarctic octopus venom.
It has also revealed the existence of four new species of octopus.
The effects of diabetes on organs such as the heart, eyes and kidneys are relatively well known, but women are now being warned of its potential to cause damage in another way – to sexual performance.
Victoria University’s Professor Lily Stojanovska and Dr Michael Mathai are conducting a study to assess the potential for improving sexual function in women with type 2 diabetes by taking a supplement from a plant traditionally used for this purpose in Peru.
The root of the plant Maca (Lepidium meyenii), which grows in the Peruvian Andes, has been used by locals for centuries, where it is reported to enhance fertility and to boost energy levels.
Some years ago an Australian hospital pharmacist pioneered wound management in Australian hospitals and went on to develop courses to train community pharmacists interested in setting up a specialty wound management clinic in their pharmacy setting.
This type of service initially established itself in a restricted number of pharmacy settings, but gradually faded away due to the pressure of PBS dispensing.
Now the opportunity is reappearing in WA at Curtin University with a purpose built facility established to train all health students (including pharmacy).
And here is the dilemma.
Many pharmacists would like to be involved in this type of activity but most community pharmacies are not physically designed to accommodate this service.
However, with the future development of Primary Health Care Organisations (PHCO's) under way, it may be possible for pharmacists to be part of the wound management team in that type of organisation.
Nicola Roxon is contributing $380,000 towards the project and is expected to be operational within three months.
University of Adelaide researchers are a step closer to finding a link between genetic susceptibility to cerebral palsy and a range of environmental risk factors during pregnancy, including infections and pre-term delivery.
During National Cerebral Palsy Awareness Week (August 1-7), Professor Alastair MacLennan from the University's Robinson Institute says their research shows that pregnant women who are genetically susceptible to infections and other environmental hazards could trigger cerebral palsy in their unborn babies.
Prescription vending machines are being deployed in the UK Sainsbury pharmacy chain. This is being done in conjunction with the normal in-store pharmacy service,
and is being promoted as an additional service for those who would prefer it.
It is not an automated dispensing solution.
Why do we grow old and what can we do to stop it? This is the question asked by many, but it appears that we are now closer to an answer thanks to new research published by Monash University researcher Dr Damian Dowling.
According to the research published in the August edition of the prestigious journal, The American Naturalist, a small set of genes in mitochondria (a membrane-enclosed organelle found in most eukaryotic cells), passed only from mothers to offspring, plays a more dynamic role in predicting life expectancies than ever previously anticipated.
In a shrewd management decision, the Board of the Pharmaceutical Society of Australia has announced the appointment of Liesel Wett as the organisation’s new Chief Executive Officer.
Ms Wett, who is currently Deputy Chief Executive Officer and Chief Operating Officer of the Australian General Practice Network, is expected to take up her appointment on 1 October 2010.
Given that the PSA will need to develop closer and stronger ties with GP organisations, this appointment may well prove to be critical for the future professional development of pharmacists.
Pharmacists will be enabled to get inside and understand GP thinking, guided by Liesel Wett.
Inflammation-causing cells in fat tissue may explain the link between obesity and diabetes, a team of Walter and Eliza Hall Institute researchers has shown.
The discovery, by Professor Len Harrison and Dr John Wentworth from the institute’s Autoimmunity and Transplantation division, opens the way for new anti-inflammatory treatments that prevent insulin resistance (where the body is unable to respond to and use the insulin it produces) and other complications associated with obesity.
The UK has started a new phase in private prescription discounting – no mark up on the drug and 50% off the dispensing fee.
“Millions could be saved every year if private prescription mark ups are abandoned, according to the Superdrug superintendent pharmacist.
Superdrug will dispense all private prescriptions with no mark up on the cost of the medicine, the company announced this week (3 August 2010).
It is also halving its minimum charge for dispensing medicines to £2.25.”
An opinion provided by the University of Sydney
By Professors Ben Eggleton and David Moss
Those who think our country can do without the national broadband network clearly do not fully understand the potential such a network offers to Australians. While other countries scramble to find ways to meet this exploding demand for global bandwidth, the opposition is wringing its hands and debating the need.
The network will do three things for Australia: it will pay for itself, it will stimulate the innovation economy and it will have multiple applications.
A University of Adelaide study shows that aged garlic extract may help lower blood pressure in the 3.7 million Australians who suffer hypertension.
Research trials by Dr Karin Ried and her colleagues from the University's Discipline of General Practice show that garlic could be used as an adjunct to conventional drugs for hypertension.
However, raw or cooked garlic, and garlic powder are not as effective in treating high blood pressure as aged garlic extract.
The world's first solar-diesel power station has opened in Western Australia's Pilbara region at Marble Bar, known for its record high temperatures.
WA's Mines and Petroleum Minister Norman Moore opened Horizon Power's Pippunyah Solar Diesel Power Station on Friday.
The new $34 million station is powered by the biggest sun-tracking solar panel farm in Australia.
Recently, a research report was published online in BMC Complementary and Alternative Medicine that highlighted Australian consumer attitudes towards complementary medicines and pharmacists selling complementary medicines.
An abstract is published below.
Consumers have indicated in earlier surveys that they wanted pharmacists to be the primary source of information for them and to keep a range of products that they could feel safe with.
The profession initially responded to those needs with the PGA setting up a College of Clinical Nutrition and many pharmacists (including this editor) completed the Advanced Diploma of Clinical Nutrition (Pharmacy).
Unfortunately, the college was closed and an alternative resource was never re-established.
People who did receive training in the use of nutritionals gained a new perspective in respect of practicing their profession and tended to work in the area of preventive medicine when an opportunity presented itself.
We have again asked Mark Coleman to comment on the survey and his report appears below the article abstract.
Dr David More
From a Medical IT Perspective: I am vitally interested in making a difference to the quality and safety of Health Care in Australia through the use of information technology. There is no choice.. it has to be made to work! That is why I keep typing. Disclaimer - Please note all the commentary are personal views based on the best evidence available to me - If I have it wrong let me know!
This blog has only three major objectives.
Here are a few I have come across this week. Note: Each link is followed by a title and a paragraph or two. For the full article click on the link above title of the article. Note also that full access to some links may require site registration or payment.
Here are a few I have come across this week.
Note: Each link is followed by a title and a paragraph or two. For the full article click on the link above title of the article. Note also that full access to some links may require site registration or payment.
The Nielsen Poll in the Fairfax Press seems to be making it clear that the Coalition is in with a chance. From our perspective this means that clarity of just what they plan in the e-Health space becomes even more important – as does a credible and adequately detailed explanation of just what Labor wants to do.
I have to say I am also concerned about the superficiality and lack of content in the current political debate.
It seems to me it is also about time we started to worry about some of the bigger issues:
The distinguished historian Niall Ferguson believes we are living through epoch-changing times when the West will give way to the East, particularly China -- although he thinks in the longer run, India will come through even more strongly.
Should Australians consider more how they fit in to these epic events, so close to us?
Those contributing were:
Professor of History, Harvard and of Business Administration Harvard Business School Has been an advisor to the British PM, David Cameron.
Author and Senior Editor Financial Times
Professor Michael Wesley
Head of the Lowy Institute Historian and former analyst with the Office of National Assessments
The implications of all this, for all of us, makes e-Health seems largely irrelevant – loath though I am to say it!
Our political leaders are fussing about the equivalent of the quality of our curbs and guttering while the entire city is under threat.
It is really worth the half hour to understand what we face over the next 20-30 years!
Again, sadly, a pox on both their houses is sadly my view both in the macro and the micro!
July 29, 2010
It takes years for improvements to have a noticeable impact, writes Mark Metherell.
Health reform seemed such a fine idea three years ago. Way back then the Labor leader, Kevin Rudd, promised a ''historic'' overhaul for the groaning health system, including a federal funding takeover if state governments did not fall into line on a revamp.
Now Rudd has fallen, the federal takeover has gone into reverse and despite promises to end blame-shifting and duplication, there will be more layers of bureaucracy.
Public hospital queues and waiting times show little real sign of decline; health care outside hospitals remains hostage not only to a shortage of doctors in many areas but also to a lack of co-ordinated care for people with chronic diseases.
All of this while gaping gaps in services plague patients relying on meagre public service for dental and mental care.
Software reduces human error
Nambour General Hospital on Queensland's Sunshine Coast has cut average report turnaround times by 28 hours and reduced the time needed to create radiology reports by 85 per cent thanks to the deployment of speech recognition software.
Director of medical imaging services at Nambour, David Ward, said the hospital deployed the technology due to a shortage of radiologists and long waiting times for simple reports to be compiled.
“Public radiology in Queensland is faced with a shortage of Radiologists to do the reporting; which had led to significant delays in our report turnaround times. In the past, some reports would take six to seven days to be produced,” Ward said.
The data repository on medicines and health devices will support the move to a national e-health service
The Victorian Government is to shortly progress to the third phase in its implementation of the National e-health Transition Authority’s (NeHTA) national product catalogue.
The catalogue is intended to be the source and main repository of data for public health institutions seeking to purchase medicines, medical devices and other healthcare items.
The first phase, conducted in late 2008 saw the creation of a common Victorian product catalogue to be populated and updated from the national catalogue.
The second phase, conducted in 2009, piloted the use of the national catalogue and confirmed the model tested in phase as the preferred model for Victorian catalogue implementation.
July 30, 2010
A roundup of companies making waves at home and abroad
SMART HEALTH SOLUTIONS specialises in Web-based shared electronic health record (SEHR) and online condition and chronic disease information management. The company implements secure Web technologies to allow cross-sector sharing of relevant clinical data by multidisciplinary teams. Smart Health has implementations in both the public and private health sectors in NSW, Victoria, and South Australia. www.smarthealth.com.au
Note: A check of the web-site shows very little current information. It badly needs an update!
27th Jul 2010
PHARMACISTS could soon be reporting adverse medication events for the first time, with the planned rollout of a new software system.
Called PROMISe, the software will allow pharmacists to log all adverse reactions that patients report to them, and this data will then be collated at a central repository where it can be analysed to identify problematic scenarios.
Pharmacists would also be prompted to refer patients with certain symptoms back to their GPs.The data will be used to educate pharmacists, GPs and consumers about high-risk adverse events.
July 26 2010
Almost without public comment the Healthcare Identifiers Act 2010 (Cth) (the Act) came into effect on 29 June 2010. It paves the way for Australian individuals and healthcare providers to be allocated unique 16 digit “healthcare identifiers” and for information linked to that number to be collected, stored and disseminated. Given the scope of the powers under the Act, and the obvious concerns it raises for privacy, the Act has attracted surprisingly little attention.
The Act allows the service operator (which will initially be Medicare Australia) to assign healthcare identifiers to both healthcare providers and recipients. The service operator is not required to consider the consent of the healthcare identifier recipient. Further, it allows the service operator to collect data from Medicare, the Veterans’ Affairs Department and the Defence Department to create a record about that person or healthcare provider.
VICTORIAN doctors and nurses could be equipped with iPads while undertaking their hospital rounds in future, if a trial of wireless technology is successful.
From January next year, 500 graduate doctors, nurses and advanced practice nurses would be given iPads to use when treating patients in hospital, Health Minister Daniel Andrews said.
The iPads would connect to safe wireless networks within the hospitals, without interrupting sensitive electronic equipment.
July 30, 2010
TECHNOLOGY-STARVED doctors and nurses will be armed with Apple iPads as part of a trial to improve internet access in Victorian hospitals.
Health Minister Daniel Andrews yesterday announced that 500 iPads would be sent to graduate doctors and nurses in January. If the $500,000 pilot program goes well, the devices could be used more widely.
''The iPads will allow doctors and nurses to access any web-enabled application run by their hospital as they move around the hospital, as well as allowing them to tap into health information resources,'' Mr Andrews said.
29 Jul 2010
Staff and patients at University Hospitals of Morecambe Bay NHS Trust are reporting issues with the Lorenzo electronic patient record system that went live at the start of June.
At a board meeting last Wednesday, staff side representative Kirk Panter said staff were having problems adapting to and using the software.
He said: “I have heard from employees that some staff are having to stay behind an extra two hours after their shift just to put data into the system.”
Comments published on the North West Evening News website suggest patients have also experienced problems.
28 Jul 2010
Dartford and Gravesham NHS Trust has replaced its ten year old Ascribe A&E system with iSoft’s latest A&E system.
The new software, which went live on 6 July as part of a three year contract, can be integrated with the trust's iSoft hospital information system.
This will allow all clinical staff at its main, 460-bed hospital in Dartford, Kent, to order radiology and pathology tests online.
Leslieann Osborn, the trust’s assistant director of service development, said: “With A&E accounting for 30% of all hospital orders for pathology and radiology tests, it is vital to have reliable order communications. That demands seamless integration of A&E, HIS, pathology and radiology.
22 July 2010. The International Health Terminology Standards Development Organisation (IHTSDO) announces a collaborative arrangement with the World Health Organization (WHO) to harmonise WHO classifications and SNOMED CT®*.
WHO classifications are used to capture information on diseases, disability, interventions and other indicators of population health. SNOMED CT is a standardised health terminology that represents clinical concepts in a consistent manner.
When used together appropriately, they make it easier to summarise information from individuals patients’ health records into aggregate results needed for health policy, health services management, and research. The aim is to avoid duplication of effort and reduce cost and to improve speed, consistency, and availability of information.
The full press release is located at http://www.ihtsdo.org/news/article/view/who-and-ihtsdo-strive-for-harmonization-of-health-information/
Tuesday, 27 July 2010 16:54
Voters face “stark choices” in terms of the IT&T policies that Labor and the Coalition are taking to the federal election according to CSC Australia’s chief technology and innovation officer, Bob Hayward.
Chairing the Council for Australian Economic Development’s (CEDA) Digital Economies conference in Sydney today, Hayward said that the key issue was the “philosophical difference in funding the National Broadband Network.” While this has been a central plank for Labor since it came to power, the Coalition has indicated it would be scrapped were it elected to Government on August 21.
Hayward also pointed to the quite different approaches the parties were taking to e-health and policing the internet.
“In my opinion far too much of the debate has been … limited by what we do online today rather than in the future,” said Hayward. He questioned whether it was better to spend $1 billion on new hospital beds today, or $1 billion on digital infrastructure to deliver savings that would allow $2 billion to be spent on hospital beds in the future.
CSC, which sponsored the CEDA event, will on Thursday release the findings of a major poll of Australians’ attitudes toward e-health which could prove a pre-election bombshell depending on what it reveals.
Published on Tue, 27/07/2010, 09:48:40
An information technology expert has advised the aged care sector to put its e-health aspirations on the back burner and adopt a more passive approach until after the election.
Deloitte Touche Tohmatsu’s national leader for technology, Adam Powick, spoke about the national e-health strategy and his view on the way forward at the Information Technology in Aged Care (ITAC) conference in Melbourne.
Mr Powick reminded the audience that even though Tony Abbott has said he does not support the scheme, it was he who introduced e-health to the political sphere as a health minister in the Howard government.
Because of this, Mr Powick believes e-health will become popular with both political parties again once the election is over and attention returns to the ‘real issues’.
He said, it was wise “not to move aggressively” on the issue until after the election.
“We will move forward under either government but it will be under a different guise,” Mr Powick said.
Published on Tue, 27/07/2010, 09:36:16
Even though Australia may look as though it is dragging its feet when it comes to electronic health reform, slow and steady could well win the race.
The rate of progress in developing an e-health network was one of the main topics of discussion on the first day of the Information Technology in Aged Care (ITAC) conference in Melbourne.
The CEO of the National E-Health Transition Authority (NEHTA), Peter Fleming, justified the long implementation period, saying advances must be taken in small steps now to avoid large mistakes in the future.
SMART houses equipped with movement sensors and intelligent systems are the key to keeping aged people well and living in their own homes.
A new report, Smart technology for Healthy Longevity, says enormous health and safety benefits can be gained using existing wireless systems along with new "gerontechnologies".
"Elderly-friendly smart homes use built-in systems for movement detection, fall prevention, home diagnostic equipment, medication management and simple communication devices for linking to family and support networks," it says.
"But there is confusion over standards and connectivity as different sectors approach the market from different viewpoints.
AUSTRALIA'S ageing population may be forced to rely on science fiction solutions ranging from artificial molecular muscles to sensors that detect the composition of food and drugs, if they want to live independent lives at home.
A new report on the nation's growing elderly army released yesterday, found homes of the future would need to be custom-fitted with such emerging new technologies, to cope with the nation's burgeoning number of seniors.
As many as 7.7 million Australians will be aged over 65 and a further 1.8 million over 85 by 2050.
July 30, 2010 - 9:26AM
Labor will compel customers to connect to upgraded broadband services unless they specifically request otherwise.
Confirming an increase in the coverage of its national broadband network, Communications Minister, Senator Stephen Conroy said he would support a rollout where people were automatically connected to the network unless they chose to opt out of it.
This would boost take-up rates.
''We believe that the most efficient way to deliver that service is to have that process,'' he said.
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