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.

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.

How To Use Google Glasses in Healthcare Training To Broaden Your Scope

Google Glass has been receiving a lot of press recently, especially in the field of medicine. Before we delve into how to use google glasses in healthcare training, let’s start by looking more closely at the device.

how to use google glasses in healthcare training, technology and healthcare, google glass and healthcareAs the name suggests, Google Glass is worn similar to a pair of glasses, minus one component: the lens. Instead of the lenses found in a traditional pair of glasses, the unit consists of a wire frame with a small, square computer in the upper right hand corner. The right side of the wire frame, close to the ear, acts as a track pad that turns the device off and on.

Once activated, the user can view the computer screen in their peripheral vision. The screen can be used to scroll through information, like a mini computer, or can be used as a live video capture of whatever you are viewing.

Google Glass was created for the public masses with the idea that now you can literally be connected to the Internet in a hands-free way. If you are in Paris and want to know how to get to the Eiffel Tower, simply turn Google Glass on with a swipe of your finger, ask the computer to locate directions, and begin walking.
When it comes to healthcare training, Google Glass has found many uses. Since this is our main focus, let’s consider some test cases below:

1. Ohio State University is using Google Glass during surgery, allowing the surgeon to perform a live surgery for training future surgeons.

2. Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center is using the device to pull up medical records before a doctor enters the room. Rather than sift through a file, the doctors scroll through the records on glass.

3. Rhode Island Hospital in Providence has used Google Glass as an interdisciplinary approach to medicine in the Emergency Room. When patients come into the ER with needs that may require a specialist consult, the attending physician can call through Glass and provide a live video feed of the patient to whatever specialist is on call.

The list of Google Glass indications for healthcare training are endless. In addition to live education, it can allow doctors to review symptoms before recommending treatment plans. It can also allow more autonomy for medical students as a supervisor or specialist is just a video conference away.

Google Glass is simply one aspect of healthcare training. If you are interested in learning about the various types of medical training we provide, please contact us.