s Weekly Update to July 27 2011 | 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.

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Recent Comments

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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

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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

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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.

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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

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‘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.

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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).

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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

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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.

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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.

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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?

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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

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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).

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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:

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Weekly Update to July 27 2011

Dr David More

articles by this author...

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!

Visit my blog http://aushealthit.blogspot.com/

This blog has only three major objectives.
The first is to inform readers of news and happenings in the e-Health domain, both here in Australia and world-wide.
The second is to provide commentary on how things are progressing in e-Health in Australia and to foster improvement where I can.
The third is to encourage discussion of the matters raised in the blog so hopefully readers can get a balanced view of what is really happening and what successes are being achieved.

Weekly Overseas Health IT Links - 31 July, 2011.

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 subscription payment.

Mayo Clinic Builds Next-Gen Health Information Exchange

Open-source natural language processing software will provide additional context so that clinicians and researchers can better use patient data from a variety of sources.

By Ken Terry, InformationWeek

July 20, 2011

URL: http://www.informationweek.com/news/healthcare/interoperability/231002212

Using a Beacon grant provided by the Office of the National Coordinator of Health IT, the Mayo Clinic is building what may be the next generation of health information exchanges (HIE) with a group of healthcare providers in southeast Minnesota. In this real-world demonstration, Mayo will apply the computer tools it is developing through a federal SHARP grant to create new methods of mining electronic health record (EHR) data.

"We're building a patient data repository for southeast Minnesota that will execute on a lot of the promise and principles we're articulating in our SHARP grant," said Christopher Chute, MD, a Mayo Clinic epidemiologist and the principal investigator on Mayo's SHARP grant.

Mayo is using the government's CONNECT software to establish the HIE. The world-famous group practice also is working with the pioneering Indiana Health Information Exchange to build a data repository like the one in Indianapolis. "We'll use that to do population health management, aggregate outcomes analysis, and comparative effectiveness research pooled across healthcare encounters by different providers with the same patients," said Chute.


When Health IT Meets Bugs Bunny

HHS seeks vendor to produce cartoons to educate the public about the benefits of EHRs and other types of IT in healthcare.

By Neil Versel, InformationWeek

July 21, 2011

URL: http://www.informationweek.com/news/healthcare/patient/231002359

The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services is looking to educate the public about health IT issues as simply as possible. That simple avenue might just be a cartoon.

HHS, via the Office of the National Coordinator for Health Information Technology (ONC), is looking for a contractor to produce one or two video animations no longer than 10 minutes in length to help educate the public about the value of health IT and how technologies such as electronic health records will change how the public interacts with healthcare organizations. At least one video must be in "plain language," as defined by federal contracting standards.



Tuesday, July 12, 2011

Helping Patients Test Treatments for Chronic Illness

Customizable tools will let patients, and their doctors, track various health metrics.

By Emily Singer

A new set of tools could help patients with chronic illnesses track their condition and monitor how they respond to different treatments.

The tools are designed to let physicians run experiments tailored to an individual patient's needs, a faster and more quantitative way than infrequent office visits to determine a treatment's benefits or side effects.

"The idea is to try to make interactions between patients and doctors more continuous, and to provide patients with more information so they can participate more actively in their care," says Peter Margolis, a physician at Cincinnati Children's Hospital. The project is part of the Collaborative Chronic Care Network (C3N), whose goal is to collect real-time data and use it to change how chronic illnesses are managed.



Doctors skittish about health technology despite promise of big federal bucks

Cleveland area physicians worried about big hassles, big risks and a big commitment of time they don't have

By Susan Jaffe

6:00 am, July 7, 2011

CLEVELAND — In Dr. Sandra Berglund’s well-stocked waiting room, there’s a box of children’s toys and picture books and, on either side of a magazine rack, framed photographs of sacred places: the stadiums of the Cleveland Browns and Cleveland Indians. And in clear view behind the receptionist’s desk is something the Obama Administration will actually pay her to clear out: folders of paper medical records stuffed into shelves from the floor almost to the ceiling.

The administration is offering what sounds like a pretty good deal. If Berglund, a family medicine doctor in her own practice, transfers the information in those folders to an electronic health record system run on a computer, she could earn a $44,000 bonus over the next five years tacked on to the payments she gets for treating patients in Medicare. Or, if she cares for a certain number of low-income Medicaid patients, she could earn as much as an extra $63,750 over six years.

The doctors still have to buy the system — which can cost roughly $20,000 per physician initially — but the bonus payments are designed to get them interested. The payments are part of a $27 billion incentive program included in the 2009 economic stimulus law. The program also offers health care providers free technical support from new regional extension centers, a certification process to highlight suitable electronic systems, workforce training and a national health information exchange network, among other benefits.



AAFP Portal Eases Patient Satisfaction Reporting

Joseph Goedert

HDM Breaking News, July 21, 2011

The American Academy of Family Physicians has launched an online patient survey portal that its members can buy for $150 a year to gather, organize and report satisfaction information from patients.



EMR Adoption to Drive e-Health Market Growth in US

July 22, 2011

According to our latest research, “US e-health Market Analysis”, the US represent world’s largest and one of the fastest growing e-Health markets. Past few years have been phenomenal for the industry and it remained almost immune to the economic slowdown. A number of segments, EMR in particular has witnessed excellent market expansion during the last 4-5 years and helped overall industry to post double digit CAGR growth. The research further revealed that e-Health market will follow the same growth trajectory by 2015 and will emerge as one of the most lucrative sector in the US for investment and business execution.

The study identified that EMR is currently the most dominant market segment. The segment growth has largely been benefitted by Government policies and regulations which encouraged public healthcare professionals and private practitioners to adopt and use electronic medical records product and services. It is anticipated that government incentives along with various private sector initiatives as discussed and analyzed in the report will drive the market growth to achieve new heights.


When Social Features Meet Personal Health Records

Employer consortium Dossia takes cues from social networking and games as it vies to boost usage of its personal health record site.

By Marianne Kolbasuk McGee, InformationWeek

July 20, 2011

URL: http://www.informationweek.com/news/healthcare/EMR/231002035

Employer consortium Dossia is adding new functionality to its personal e-health record system to improve engagement with users and help them better manage and improve their health.

The new Dossia Health Manager is an "intelligent" health management system that further extends Dossia's original e-personal health record capabilities beyond being a platform for individuals to store and track their health information to one that enables users' health data to become "actionable," said Dossia CEO Mike Critelli, in an interview with InformationWeek Healthcare.



Express Scripts will buy rival Medco for $29.1 billion

By Jaimy Lee

Posted: July 21, 2011 - 7:45 am ET

Express Scripts said it will acquire Medco Health Solutions, a rival pharmacy benefits management company, for $29.1 billion in cash and stock.

St. Louis-based Express Scripts will form the Express Scripts Holding Co.; Express Scripts shareholders will own 59% of the new company while Medco shareholders will own about 41%, according to a news release. Medco, which is based in Franklin Lakes, N.J., has 20,000 employees and reported $66 billion in revenue in 2010.



EHRs too cumbersome for eye docs

July 21, 2011 — 8:07am ET | By Janice Simmons

An information technology committee organized by the American Academy of Ophthalmology this week released a list of special requirements to help electronic health record (EHR) systems be used more "intuitively and efficiently" by ophthalmology practices.

In a report now available online in the journal Ophthalmology and forthcoming in the Aug. 1 issue, AAO committee members note that many EHRs currently used by ophthalmologists are "large, comprehensive systems that originally were designed for other medical specialties or large enterprises," such as hospitals or health plans. As such, the systems pay little attention to the needs of ophthalmologists.



Your EMR privacy policy, first and foremost, should be practical

July 20, 2011 — 5:19pm ET | By Janice Simmons

It's not hard to find recent examples of privacy and security at odds with electronic medical records (EMRs). Just this week, for instance, a federal grand jury indicted a former employee of University of Maryland Medical Center with stealing patient identities. Wake Forest Baptist Health in North Carolina, meanwhile, notified 357 people (including employees and patients) that a former employee was hoarding their medical records at home.

Headlines such as these can be scary. What may be even more frightening, however, is that many providers or healthcare organizations unwittingly are violating the trust of their patients every day--without consciously trying.


FCC Criticized For Not Spending On Telemedicine

American Telemedicine Association urges action on measures to achieve the National Broadband Plan's goals.

By Nicole Lewis, InformationWeek

July 19, 2011

URL: http://www.informationweek.com/news/healthcare/policy/231002124

The American Telemedicine Association (ATA) has fired off a letter to the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) urging that more money be spent on expanding telecommunications services, which will boost telemedicine projects at rural healthcare facilities.

The letter, which was sent last week to FCC chairman Julius Genachowski, noted that 16 months had passed since the FCC adopted the National Broadband Plan, which included an entire chapter on the positive effects that broadband expansion can have on healthcare delivery. The letter also stated that eight months ago the U.S. Government Accountability Office (GAO) issued a report sharply criticizing the Commission's management of the Rural Health Care Program.



E-prescribing: safer than paper?

Alex Jennings, deputy chief pharmacist at University Hospital, Aintree, reflects on the pros and cons of an e-prescribing roll out; and outlines some of the questions other trusts should be asking.

18 July 2011

We have just completed the roll-out of an electronic prescribing and medicines administration system (EPMA) at an 800 bed teaching hospital in the North West, going from zero to full inpatient coverage in 18 months.

We certainly don’t consider ourselves “know it alls’ in this field, but we are hoping that we can raise awareness of some of the issues that we have come across.

We hope that after reading this article, you will have a greater understanding of some of the limitations and potential misconceptions/risks of EPMA - to balance against the more bullish articles that have recently been published.

We also hope that you will be armed with the type of questions that need to be asked of electronic prescribing suppliers, so that informed decisions can be made.



Why shuttered RHIO CareSpark's chairman is not giving up

July 19, 2011 | Patty Enrado, Contributing Editor

In June 2011, CareSpark's board of directors voted unanimously to terminate the nonprofit regional health information organization (RHIO), which serves 17 counties in eastern Tennessee and southwestern Virginia.

"It was very devastating," said Jerry Miller, MD, founder of Holston Medical Group and board chairman of CareSpark, of the decision, which was announced last week. The RHIO was burdened with legacy debt and ultimately, he said, "We did not have a sustainable plan."



Beth Israel data breach may affect over 2,000

Virus sent records to unknown location

July 19, 2011|By Hiawatha Bray, Globe Staff

Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center is notifying more than 2,000 patients that some of their personal information may have been stolen from a hospital computer.

The hospital said yesterday that an unnamed computer service vendor had failed to restore proper security settings on a computer after performing maintenance on it. The machine was later found to be infected with a virus, which transmitted data files to an unknown location.



FDA lays out regulation of certain mobile medical apps

July 19, 2011 | Mary Mosquera

The Food and Drug Administration has proposed regulation of some medical applications that run on smartphones and other mobile computing devices that could affect the operations of other medical devices already under its governance.

The agency’s draft guidance released July 19 outlines its “current thinking” and focuses on a small subset of mobile medical apps because they can influence the performance or functionality, and potentially the safety, of currently regulated medical devices.

The mobile medical apps that FDA has in mind are those used as accessory to a medical device already regulated by the agency, such as one that enables a provider to make a diagnosis by viewing a medical image from a picture archiving and communication system (PACS) on a smartphone or other mobile device.



Wednesday, July 20, 2011

Include Mental Health, Addiction Providers in Meaningful Use Incentives

by Chuck Ingoglia

When Congress passed legislation in 2009 creating new Medicare and Medicaid incentive payments to encourage health care providers to use electronic health records, much of the health care community applauded. The Health Information Technology for Economic and Clinical Health (HITECH) Act, passed as part of the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act, was long overdue recognition of the importance of health IT in improving care for patients, while also reducing health care spending.

But amid much fanfare for the HITECH Act, a notable group of providers was left with little to cheer about. The nation's mental health and addiction treatment providers were excluded from the incentive payments. So while some providers continue to be offered financial incentives to use health IT to increase health care quality, reduce medical errors and better coordinate care, providers at psychiatric hospitals, mental health and addiction treatment facilities, and community mental health centers are being told to fend for themselves.



Report: Healthy growth for hospital info systems; U.S. leads way

Written by Editorial Staff

July 18, 2011

The worldwide hospital information system (HIS) market reached a value of $7.4 billion in 2010, and is expected to achieve a value of $14.7 billion by 2017, according to companiesandmarkets.com.

The London-based market researcher predicted worldwide growth of 10 percent annually. “Advancements in technology, combined with increased investment in public and private healthcare sectors, are driving the hospital information systems market,” the company stated.


New MGMA Chief Brings Patient Safety, EHR Expertise

Medical Group Management Association recruits Wisconsin Medical Society's CEO and the founder of two data-exchange bodies as new leader.

By Neil Versel, InformationWeek

July 18, 2011

URL: http://www.informationweek.com/news/healthcare/leadership/231001993

The Medical Group Management Association has selected a new chief with as strong a background in health IT as practically any other leader of a healthcare organization not specifically dedicated to IT promotion.

MGMA, an Englewood, Colo.-based organization comprised of group physician practice administrators and leaders, has named Dr. Susan L. Turney to succeed Dr. William F. Jessee as president and CEO. Jessee, himself a vocal advocate for IT adoption in healthcare, will retire after 12 years in charge. MGMA says its 22,500 members lead 13,600 healthcare organizations that provide more than 40% of the healthcare services delivered in the United States.



VA launches contest to expand Blue Button

July 15, 2011 | Mary Mosquera

The Veterans Affairs Department will launch a developers’ competition to expand the deployment and use of its Blue Button functionality that enables patients to download their health information to all veterans who receive care from providers outside of the VA.

Blue Button is a simple, convenient and secure method over the Internet for a patient to retrieve his or her information in plain text ASCII format.

The competition starts July 18, and VA will announce the winner Oct. 18, VA said. The first prize is $50,000.



5 Steps to Successful CPOE

Gienna Shaw, for HealthLeaders Media , July 19, 2011

In the 1990s, big bang rollouts of electronic health systems were all the rage. But have you ever heard the phrase "only fools rush in?" Many organizations learned that while that approach got complete systems up and running, it didn't guarantee that clinicians would like them.

So the industry tried a more drawn-out approach, forming vast committees to get buy-in from every last stakeholder. In the end, though, that didn't guarantee adoption, either. In fact, it created new problems, such as alert fatigue.

Today, organizations are finding a balanced approach to launching systems such as computerized physician order entry that lets them get buy-in and get to go-live faster and more efficiently. I spoke to leaders at several organizations in various stages of implementing CPOE for an article in this month's issue of HealthLeaders magazine.



No national IT system for appraisal

19 July 2011 Fiona Barr

The Department of Health had said there will be no national IT system for revalidation when it begins next year. Instead, employers and doctors will be able to choose IT systems locally.

The Department of Health’s Revalidation Support Team has published an evaluation of its Pathfinder Pilots for revalidation, which looked at the experiences of more than 3,000 doctors in the ten pilot areas.

The evaluation found that 96% of organisations expected revalidation to lead to improved quality of care.



By Joseph Conn

Only connect—meshing home devices and electronic health records

I won't go into all 11 of the recommendations in a report this week from the National Research Council on improving the connections between electronic health-records systems and home health-care monitoring devices, and the usability of those devices by nonclinicians.

You can read them all in a free copy here.

But two key recommendations in the 203-page report, “Health Care Comes Home: The Human Factors,” were directed at the Office of the National Coordinator for Health Information Technology, and I'll deal with those two in this post.



HIE Challenge: ‘Breadth of subjects’

Gary Baldwin

Health Data Management Blogs, July 15, 2011

As I mentioned in my initial report covering the MetroChicago HIE, some three-fourths of Chicago-area hospitals have signed on with one of the nation’s most ambitious data exchange projects. To learn more about what has propelled the HIE, I caught up recently with Terri Jacobsen, the project’s director. She’s part of the Metropolitan Chicago Healthcare Council, a long-standing Chicago-based membership organization that is spearheading the data exchange. Some 69 area hospitals have joined, signing letters of intent to participate as dues-paying members. Unlike some data exchanges, which had to build from scratch not-for-profit organizations and boards to operate, the council has enjoyed relationships with Chicago-area providers for years. “Our pre-existing relationships have helped facilitate the effort so far,” Jacobsen says. (click here for a video interview MCHC conducted with Terri).



WebMD Downgrades Expectations, Investors Bail

Joseph Goedert

HDM Breaking News, July 18, 2011

The stock price of online health information content vendor WebMD Health Corp. fell 30 percent on July 18 after the company downgraded its financial performance for the rest of 2011.

The stock fell in the morning after the announcement and did not recover much after the company issued a follow-up statement from Chairman Martin Wygod saying he has the "utmost confidence in WebMD's growth prospects and the future value of the company." However, speculators came in during early after-hours trading and boosted the stock by 13 percent.



Microsoft HealthVault Ready to Accept Google Health Accounts, Apps

Joseph Goedert

HDM Breaking News, July 18, 2011

Microsoft Corp. has launched a Web page where consumers using personal health records from Google Health can have their personal health information transferred to a Microsoft HealthVault account.

Google Inc. also will support the migration to HealthVault of applications that third-party developers have created for Google Health. Additional information is available here.



July 18, 2011 10:49 AM PDT

Microsoft offers transfer tool to Google Health users

by Jay Greene

For the seeming handful of people who signed up to use the soon-to-be-shuttered Google Health online medical records service, Microsoft has an answer: join its service.

Microsoft released a tool today that lets Google Health customers transfer their personal health information to a Microsoft HealthVault account. To protect patient privacy, the tool uses the Direct Project messaging protocols established by the Office of the National Coordinator for Health IT that authenticate and encrypt the data, sending it only to known, trusted recipients.



E-health records should play bigger role in patient safety initiatives, researchers advocate

Published: Tuesday, July 19, 2011 - 12:37 in Health & Medicine

Patient safety researchers are calling for the expanded use of electronic health records (EHRs) to address the disquieting number of medical errors in the healthcare system that can lead to readmissions and even death. Their commentary is in the July 6 issue of JAMA, The Journal of the American Medical Association . "Leading healthcare organizations are using electronic health records to address patient safety issues," said Dean Sittig, Ph.D., co-author and professor at The University of Texas Health Science Center at Houston (UTHealth) School of Biomedical Informatics. "But, the use of EHRs to address patient safety issues hasn't hit the mainstream yet and we think everyone should be doing this."

One way to fast-track the use of EHRs to address patient safety issues would be to incorporate the annual patient safety goals of The Joint Commission, a healthcare accreditation organization, into the criteria for the certification of EHRs, said co-author Ryan Radecki, M.D., who is scheduled to join the UTHealth faculty Aug. 1.



Peeking at medical records an issue for health centers


2011-07-15 22:23:26

A Colorado Springs city health employee recently accused of inappropriately accessing about 2,500 Memorial Health System patient records claimed that “it’s pretty damn common” for medical professionals to peek at files for unwarranted reasons.

“Common” might be overstating things, but statistics suggest it happens more often than patients might realize.

Since 2008, Memorial Health System has had 22 employees who either resigned or were fired in connection with patient privacy issues, including a woman who lost her job earlier this year for breaching 135 patient records to create a database of her friends’ birthdays. Penrose-St. Francis Health Services declined to provide information on breaches at its facilities or discuss the issue.

Nationwide, the U.S Department of Health and Human Services’ Office for Civil Rights has recorded 292 incidents of electronic medical record breaches involving 500 or more patients since 2009. That excludes the hundreds, if not thousands, of incidents that don’t meet the 500-patient threshold for public reporting.



Hospitals spend up to $100M to scan paper

July 12, 2011 — 3:14pm ET | By Ken Terry

Nearly one-fourth of the 200 facilities surveyed said they are spending $100 million or more to scan paper documents. What's more, 36 percent of those hospitals plan to hold onto their paper records after they're digitized, according to document management and storage firm Iron Mountain.

The government's criteria for Meaningful Use of electronic health records (EHRs) does not mention document management. During the transition to EHRs, however, providers need some way to access electronically the paper charts of patients who have been discharged, at least for some years back. Moreover, hospitals continue to generate new paper documents and receive them from other sources. All of this requires high-speed scanners and staff time to operate them and ensure that the documents are correctly filed.



Imaging diagnosis may represent best-use scenario for IBM's Watson

July 18, 2011 — 11:30am ET | By Dan Bowman

Radiology may very well prove to be a sweet spot for IBM's supercomputer Watson.

At heart, Watson is an electronic health record reader. Once that technology is correctly combined with picture archiving and communication system (PACS) technology, diagnosis times for patients could be shortened tremendously, according to Dr. Eliot Siegel, a radiology professor at the University of Maryland's School of Medicine. "There's great potential for Watson to...[also] offer treatment summaries, synthesize charts and perform safety checks," Siegel says, according to a report by Diagnostic Imaging.



Monday, July 18, 2011

Stimulus Money Still Flowing to Health IT Projects

by Helen Pfister, Susan Ingargiola and Rachel Sam, Manatt Health Solutions

The federal government continues to implement various provisions of the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act, which included the Health Information Technology for Economic and Clinical Health Act. This update summarizes key developments during the second quarter of 2011.

ONC Leadership Changes, Committees March Onward

Farzad Mostashari replaced David Blumenthal as national coordinator for health IT. Mostashari, formerly deputy national coordinator at the Office of the National Coordinator for Health IT, took over the top job in April.

At its June meeting, the Health IT Policy Committee approved the Meaningful Use work group's revised Stage 2 objectives and criteria and the recommendation to delay the transition from Stage 1 to Stage 2 by one year for providers who qualify for meaningful use incentives in 2011. The committee passed on its recommendations to ONC.



Security of patient records breached across the country

July 18, 2011 — 11:38am ET | By Karen M. Cheung

Security breaches of patient records have been popping up in the news recently, with some breaches affecting hundreds.

A federal grand jury on Thursday indicted a former employee of University of Maryland Medical Center, with three others accused, of stealing patient identities to open credit accounts, according to a WBAL TV report.

The Medical Center said, "Protecting our patients' personal information is a top priority. We have policies and procedures in place to ensure that patient information remains strictly confidential. This breach was a result of a crime, and not a lapse of hospital procedures."




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