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.

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.

Moodle for Medicine: Choosing a Learning Management System for Healthcare Students That Works

One of the most important decisions you can make for your healthcare students is choosing the right learning management system (LMS). Choosing the right LMS is important because it helps students navigate successfully within each course, and it helps professors fulfill the requirements of teaching the course and facilitating ongoing communication with students. There are many different learning management systems on the market today. Some of the most popular LMS platforms include Moodle, Blackboard, Angel, and eCollege. Let’s look at how each of these platforms can be used in the context of healthcare education.

Moodle for medicine

Moodle

Moodle has all the features of a typical learning management system such as assignment submission and online grading. Moodle also has a discussion forum, instant messaging, online calendars, online news and announcements and can facilitate online quizzes. In addition, Moodle users are continually developing third-party plugins that can be used with this LMS. Moodle provides a centralized location for submitting assignments, taking online quizzes, and participating in discussion forums.
Blackboard

Blackboard is an incredibly popular learning management system that has been on the market for years. It offers seven different platforms for its learning management systems that have been adapted for use by K-12 schools, universities and  companies. Blackboard offers your students a tried-and-true learning management system to facilitate their studies.

Angel

Angel offers healthcare students and professors a very clean interface and extensive real world feedback. Angel’s interface is set up to engage busy students. Its opening screen allows student users to quickly check their course guide, see what’s new, look at current activities, track grades and look at their own personal lists of tasks or to do notes for each class. It has a feeling of activity associated with the student user screens. For professors, it offers real world data and feedback on student progress to streamline communication between instructors and students.

eCollege

eCollege is a learning management system that is produced by textbook provider Pearson. eCollege combines a learning management system with streamline access to textbooks. If your school uses Pearson textbooks to support your learning, eCollege integrates ebooks within its learning management system and offers students interactive ways to use their platform.

Which Learning Management System Is For You?

Moodle, Blackboard, Angel and eCollege are all learning management systems with something to offer your healthcare students. Please contact us to further discuss which of these learning management system will work best for your healthcare students. We can help guide you to the best choice for your students. We look forward to helping you.

Welcome to The Avidity Medical Design Blog

Avidity Medical Design specializes in all areas of healthcare instructional design. We develop eLearning courses for students interested in transitioning to healthcare careers, continuing education and medical certification courses for current healthcare professionals. We also provide instructional design consulting services for K-12 and postsecondary institutions. Future blogs will address best practices in mobile technology, cloud computing in healthcare education, theories of healthcare instructional design, developments in healthcare education, and trends in allied health and medical technology.