How to Reduce Prescription Errors in 21st Century Pharmacies

It may seem like a contradiction but the pharmacy of the 21st century will feature both robotic automation and greater interaction between pharmacists and patients.

prescription pharmacyPharmacy automation has been steadily making its way into many pharmacies throughout the country. Robotic systems from companies like Aesynt, Parata Systems and RxMedic sort and dispense pills, which spares pharmacists from work that takes a lot of time and can lead to human error. It’s hard to put a firm number on presciption errors but the Food and Drug Administration says it has received close to 30,000 reports of medication errors since 1992. With many pills looking alike and many drug names sounding similar, automated systems offer a better way of checking and verifying that patients receive only drug they were prescribed.

Another technology development that will change the pharmacy of the 21st century is the adoption of electronic prescribing, which gives doctors the ability to send prescriptions electronically to a pharmacy. E-prescribing reduces the chances for error that can come from misreading a doctor’s handwriting.

As for the pharmacists themselves, the evolution of pharmacist training is changing the profession. Compared to decades ago, today’s pharmacists can be more specialized and they enter the field with more specialized training, pharmacy consultant Ernest Gates tells Drug Topics. Some of these pharmacists will work in specialty pharmacies in areas such as oncology, geriatrics and diabetes among other areas of specialization.

Pharmacists who aren’t specialists can still expect to take on more responsibilities as a consequence of the Affordable Care Act. With the law’s expansion of Medicaid, Daniel Brown, a pharmacist and professor at the pharmacy school at Palm Beach Atlantic University, tells Medscape that he expects community pharmacies to see more Medicaid prescriptions. He also sees the increase in this patient traffic presenting additional opportunities for pharmacists to talk to patients about preventive services. Here’s where pharmacy automation is important. Automation doesn’t replace pharmacists. Instead, it provides a remedy to busy pharmacists – these systems free pharmacists to spend more of their time counseling patients instead of sorting pills. If the expected increase in patient traffic to pharmacies holds true, time savings found with automation will become very valuable.

For more information about emerging pharmacy trends, please contact us.

Star Trek Comes to Your Classroom: How to Use the Screenless Display to Train Your Students

screenless displaysScreenless display technology has been used in science fiction for decades, but this advanced display system has also been worked into a usable format over the last few years.The development of Google Glass in 2012 brought this technology to the forefront. It also created a wide range of possibilities in terms of how this technology could be used.

So how can you use the screenless display to train your students? From the standpoint of healthcare, how can you use screenless displays to train medical personnel and safeguard patient information? A few benefits to the healthcare field have already been realized, but many more may still be on the horizon.

How Screenless Displays Work

There are three main categories of screenless displays that come in the form of a wearable device. The first is the light guide optical element (LOE) device. This looks like a pair of glasses that enables users to view a see-through display imported from their phones or other digital device. The image is projected onto the thin glass of the device.

The retinal scanning device (RSD) and the virtual retinal display (VRD) work in almost the same way as each other, but using different equipment. In these cases, an image is projected directly onto the retina. VRD has been developing for over two decades, but more compact and easily accessible forms with better quality display are now being developed.

There is another type of screenless display that does not require a wearable device to view the object—hologram technology. The way this works is through a precise setup of lasers, mirrors and film. The laser light is guided by mirrors, going through a beam splitter, and each branch of the split beam goes through a diverging lens, which widens the beams. One beam goes straight to a photographic emulsion, while the other hits the object then is guided to the emulsion. The disruption caused by the difference in the two beams creates a viewable hologram.

How to Use Screenless Displays for Healthcare Training

All forms of screenless displays can be used for healthcare training. Each one can provide a large display of germs, cells, anatomy, or anything else that’s not easily seen with the naked eye. The case of holograms is especially helpful over screen displays because students and instructors can view a 3D image together and address any questions by interacting with the display.

How Screenless Display Improve Security

Wearable screenless devices may be best for protecting patients’ privacy. Healthcare information needs to be safeguarded and there are HIPPA rules that employees should follow, but mistakes do happen. Wearable screenless displays would cut down on the risk because the information would only be seen by the person wearing the device. No one could look over their should at their screen, they wouldn’t have to remember to lock their computer while stepping away. Patient information would only be available to the people meant to see it.

To learn more about advances in healthcare training or how Avidity Medical Design is striving to innovate healthcare education platforms, feel free to contact us.

Ten Effective Ways to Use LinkedIn for Healthcare Education Networking

ten ways to use LinkedIn for healthcare education networkingLinkedIn has over 300 million users and 2 new users join every second. These statistics put LinkedIn well on its way to achieving its stated goal of 3 billion total users. This immense and fast-growing network of professionals is a gold mine to numerous professions, and healthcare education is one of them. Here are ten ways to use LinkedIn for healthcare education networking:

  1. Start big – A simple initial search for “healthcare educator” returns over 74,000 results. Large numbers are encouraging when starting out because it means you have lots of room to narrow your focus and find the contacts you want to make.
  2. Narrow the field – Increase the fidelity of your results by adding on additional keywords to your initial search. Using the example search above, the next step would be to add a location, institution or specialty. For example, “healthcare educator Iowa” returns a more manageable 900+ results. Keep narrowing until you have between 10 and 25 results to work with.
  3. Reach out – Once you have sufficiently narrowed your results to a pool of professionals that best suit your interests, take the time to read through their profiles. Hit the connect button and add to your network.
  4. Make sure your profile is complete – Listing degrees and certifications, like M.S. in Instructional and Performance Technology or certified in Dreamweaver will allow your profile to show up in searches done by other healthcare educators.
  5. Join relevant groups – There are at least 5 groups for healthcare educators. Groups allow you to interact with large groups of people that may not have appeared in your previous searches.
  6. Leave your comfort zone – Search for certifications that you might aspire to but don’t yet hold. Networking with other professionals who have already achieved your goals can be a valuable source of lessons learned.
  7. Remember your past – Think back to individuals you may have worked with or gone to school with who had interesting ideas for healthcare education. Chances are they have had a chance to implement those ideas or formulate new ones. They can be a valuable source of inspiration.
  8. Read the articles – In addition to individuals and positions, you can search LinkedIn for articles on healthcare education, tools and technology. Connect with authors of articles that you find interesting or informative.
  9. Follow up on views – As you spend more time on LinkedIn and make more connections, you will receive more views – other people looking at your profile. Be sure to view their profiles after receiving notification, and make connections.
  10. Go beyond the first level – Chances are that the individuals you connect with have other worthy connections. Don’t be afraid to look through their profiles and connect with healthcare educators once or twice removed.

If you have questions about any aspect of healthcare education, please don’t hesitate to contact us.

The Latest Trends in Cancer Treatment for 2014: Targeted Cancer Drugs

the latest trends in cancer treatment 2014One of the latest trends in cancer treatment for 2014 is the use of targeted drugs that attack the genetic “on switch” for cancer. According to recent story on CBS News, one of these new approaches to fighting cancer is a type of targeted cancer therapy that could one day eliminate conventional chemotherapy as we know it.

Chemotherapy, as it is currently practiced, involves delivering powerful cancer-fighting drugs intravenously to the site of a tumor. While this type of treatment can reduce or even eliminate a tumor, it also wreaks havoc on surrounding healthy tissue. This makes cancer patients ill and weak. Conventional chemotherapy is like World War II era carpet bombing: a powerful attack but with a lot of collateral damage remaining.

Targeted drugs are more like smart bombs. A recent research project describes a new treatment that uses the tumors own genetic sequence to attack it. Researchers sequenced 10 genes in lung cancer patients and in two thirds of them found the “on switch” that causes cancers to manifest and grow. The new drug, an oral medication that is selected according to the results of the genetic sequencing of the tumors, turns that switch to “off,” keeping the cancer under control for a significant period of time.

Targeted drugs that attack the genetic “on switch” for cancer do not currently represent a cure for cancer. What they may do, however, is to turn cancer into a chronic disease, rather than a fatal disease. Although there may still be some adverse health effects, these drugs may keep the cancer from metastasizing, or spreading to other areas of the body, thereby allowing patients to live longer and healthier lives. Targeted drugs may hopefully work for many different types of cancer, and may buy patients enough time to allow real cures to come through the pipeline.

For more information contact us.