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- Issue 81: April 2009
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Issue 51: August 2006



Welcome to the August 2006 edition of i2P. This month we have had a couple of surprises, one in the form of an announcement authorising the use of e-prescriptions, released in the Sydney Morning Herald dated July 28th 2006, as a result of a meeting of federal and state health ministers. Because the announcement was unexpected and no previous discussion had been entered into with the principal stakeholders (GP’s and pharmacists), some concern was expressed by the AMA and the PGA regarding operation privacy and security. The other surprise was the public listing of HIP pharmacies through their HCL Ltd front company.

Events and Press Releases

As part of our information service, i2P informs on Conferences, Workshops and Seminarsor press releases that may be of interest to pharmacists. PSA information will continue to be published separately in the section reserved for PSA press releases. Pharmacy organisations may submit material for publication, preferably in digital format (Word document). This month: * New Therapeutic Guideline - RHEUMATOLOGY (VERSION 1, 2006) Therapeutic Guidelines: Rheumatology. A brand new title — practical help for the one in six patients presenting with a musculoskeletal complaint, from back pain to obscure vasculitides. * Improving Medication Safety: sharing the lessons learned 28-29 September 2006 Sydney, NSW, Australia Change Champions invites participation in its next Toolkit Seminar, Improving Medication Safety: sharing the lessons learned by submitting an abstract to present at the seminar. Aims of Seminar · To share information about initiatives, structures, systems and strategies that have been successfully implemented and have improved medication safety for patients. · To showcase best practice, models of care, models of service delivery, tools and resources that have been effective in improving medication safety and/or reducing medication errors.   * The Friendly Societies Pharmacy 2006 Pharmacy Management Conference. This conference is organised by the Friendly Societies and features people associated with National Pharmacies, one of the most efficient and professional pharmacy operators in Australia. Friendly Societies are a genuine alternative model of pharmacy, and have been around virtually since the First Fleet. The conference is open to all, and if the last conference is any indication, the hospitality is friendly and the content is topical and first-rate, and you will recognise many Pharma industry faces in attendance. Mark your diary now !

Pharmacy News

This section of i2P aims to keep readers informed of global news that may affect pharmacy. Readers are encouraged to share links to items of interest, by simply e-mailing the story link to the editor located at neilj@computachem.com.au Topics can range from drug-related news, Information Technology, medical communications, medical research breakthroughs, management and marketing issues. Because this news area is dynamic and changes daily, readers should immediately bookmark any links that they find interesting. Response to any item is also encouraged through the "Letters (Your Say) " column.

PSA News Releases

PSA News - the latest from the Pharmaceutical Society of Australia. Keep in touch with activities of the Pharmaceutical Society of Australia and their professional support for Australian pharmacists. This month:   * Excellence Awards Nominations Closing.   * Donation aids Pharmacy Master Class.   * Australian Pharmacist most preferred


Pharma-goss  - By Rollo Manning - * Simple Line- Important Message    (Rollo receives an apology) * Auspharm Consumer Health Watch under threat * Amphetamine Still Tops  * Obesity Hits the Headlines * Doctors under the Spotlight

Pharmacies List on the Australian Stock Exchange

When I began to put thoughts to paper for this edition of i2P, many news events began to compete for what I had in mind. Principal among these news events was an item describing how Health Information Pharmacies (HIP) was about to list on the Australian Stock Exchange. I had vaguely heard about HIP in various media reports, and their involvement with the Pharmacy Practice Foundation at Sydney University, HIP won the contest, and this is the first of, I hope, a range of reports on this great pharmacy model. HIP is service-focused group with strong core values, and my first impression is that they appear to be well managed, and have found that by systemising a range of procedures, you end up with a more efficient way of conducting a business. In other words, they have found a way of getting back the weekend.

E-Mail Security and Clinical Practice Ė Whatís Sensible?

In The Australian last week an article appeared reporting that a large teaching hospital in Melbourne has been using standard e-mail to send discharge summaries to GPs. Further it was reported that this had been approved by the hospital following a decision by the hospital's privacy committee that the benefits of rapid communication outweighed the risks to patient confidentiality. The questions this action poses are interesting and, to a degree, contentious. What they boil down to are essentially - What place does standard e-mail have in daily clinical practice? – Should its use be constrained? - What alternatives exist to achieve the outcomes sought by the hospital (rapid communication of important information to the relevant GP)?.

Sometimes Security is More Than Protecting Data

The primary reason for encryption and general computer security is to protect data. Encryption is pretty good these days, you can protect pretty much everything and store the encryption key somewhere safe. If someone gets their hands on the encrypted data it will be pretty hard for them to decrypt it without the key. Algorithms and key strengths continue to improve to stay ahead of computer processing power and algorithmic attacks. Protecting of data using encryption is achievable, but most security does not end here. When the data is part of communication, there are few other issues to deal with, in particular non-repudiation.

Same old, Same Old, in Small Barcoding Bites

Editor's Note: One day after receiving Pat Gallagher's article an announcement was made relating to e-prescriptions, which caught everyone by surprise. A reported meeting between Federal and state health ministers has cleared the way for doctors to prescribe drugs electronically. Under the changes, doctors will transmit prescriptions by email and pharmacists will be able to receive the information after swiping the patient's Medicare card. The AMA has stated that while doctors welcomed electronic prescriptions, they needed convincing the system was secure. The PGA has weighed in with a concern about the risk to privacy, and the system needing to be designed to eliminate the possibility of channeling. After discussion with Pat, it was decided to run the article as is, because the same criticisms still apply. The system proposed is highly insecure and will have a lot of opposition to it and it would appear some time will lapse before there is general agreement to use this type of system. Patrick's article begins......... Try as I might to vary the content for i2P, there is one subject that sticks in my craw, which I want to put the pedal-to-the-metal on, and that is electronic prescriptions. Until very recently there was precious little comment about this (worldwide) in the professional or popular press. Now, all of a sudden there are more and more snippets popping up.

Electronic Prescriptions

Firstly, let me declare my bias, I am enthusiastic about the use of computers, even after a degree of frustration in getting PC Anywhere to function, it now does, and I can access information on the pharmacy computers from home. We were one of the first pharmacies to use PBS On-line. My enthusiasm stems from adopting computers to assist in running a pharmacy in Darwin in the early 1970s, after cyclone Tracey we had our own in-house computer that cost over 100 hundred thousand dollars, at a time when a new Volvo could be bought for 6 thousand dollars. The use of the computer evolved into providing an on-line bureau service, selling computers, being IBM Pc dealers, being a founding member of the NT Computer Society. Our three sons are all involved in using computers in some way. Currently my wife and I have five computers at home and in the pharmacy and are evaluating the acquisition of a sixth. Even though our pharmacy is in a small village we have broad band there and at home.

Another Chance for Pharmacy?

I’m not sure what is happening in other states but here in WA the State Government has set up a program to improve the treatment of chronic diseases in the community. Initially, the target diseases are asthma, diabetes and cardiovascular problems and the program is designed to improve community based treatment to reduce the number of hospital admissions relating to these conditions. As you can see, altruism does not play a major part in the program – cost savings and reduction of hospital admissions are the drivers. “Very interesting”, you might say “but what has this to do with consultant pharmacy?”

Pharmacist Only Drug Schedules Increase Availability of Non-Presciption Medicines

Editor’s Note: For some time, Con Berbatis has been researching drug scheduling and its effect on the availability of the number of non-prescription drugs for consumers, the economics of the process and any concurrent safety issues. The first of these reports was published in i2P in November 2005, where Australian drug scheduling, and countries with similar legislation, was compared to a range of countries that had no pharmacist-only classifications, such as the US. Con Berbatis found that countries like Australia were able to make available more non –prescription drugs than countries with no pharmacist schedules in place. In a follow-up report in December 2005 Con Berbatis found countries without a pharmacist-controlled drug sector, had misuse and adverse event issues that were more difficult to track. His research has been confirmed with the publication of new material by another Australian research group.

When is a Discount Not a Discount?

When is a discount not a discount? If a random sample of people in the community were asked the question ‘When is a discount not a discount?’ many would probably answer – when the seller of the product is not actually reducing the price of their product below their ‘normal’ price. As consumers we may have become a cynical lot in the world of End of Financial Year Sales, Petrol discount vouchers, Stock Take sales, End of Season sales, you name it – a retailer has tried to entice customers into their store with some inducement. Many consumers out there may not actually believe the retailer has reduced their price at all, merely selling an item at their regular price, but advertising a higher ‘Original’ or ‘Was’ price

How do Consumers Compare Retail Prices?

A recent report in OTC Bulletin describes research conducted in Germany on how consumers compare retail prices of non-prescription medicines. The survey was conducted on 3000 health insurance fund members and found that approximately only one quarter of respondents indicated they compared OTC prices in pharmacy.

Increasing the Probability of a Good Outcome

The world of Pharmacy strives for good outcomes, irrespective of the particular working environment the Pharmacist may be in. In the eyes of the public, Pharmacists are close to heading towards beatification (and I apologise to those that may be offended by my flippant analogy). However, this gratifying level of respect amounts to very little if the Pharmacist is not able to engage the patient in a favourable manner immediately, particularly the new patient or a regular customer. Mrs Wright spends so much time (and of course money) in the Pharmacy we attend I have on occasion considered suggesting she has her worldly belongings relocated to the Dispensary.

Marketing Focus E-Zine

Now that the World Cup is over for Australia, it’s back to work. Or is it? With Wimbledon now in progress, that proposition is debatable. Today, there seems to be so many distractions. And with the increasing interaction between business and sport, the frequency is increasing. So, the question to put is whether those activities are indeed distractions. What does appear to be indisputable is that there is increasing evidence that prices of products and services within Britain, Europe, North America, Australia and New Zealand are increasing. And if business owners and managers do maintain their confidence and resolve, that trend will continue. (Refer to the text ‘Sharing the Facts’) During the past 3 years many entities have absorbed increased costs, in fear of losing custom because of competitive forces. In all business cycles there does come a time when assertive action is needed. And that time appears to have arrived. It puts a totally different perspective on the phrase, “margin call”. Given the unique nature of the current consumer driven marketplaces and national economies, it is probable that overall demand will not decline as a consequence. What can be expected is a shift in demand. However, there will doubtless be an impact on the rate of inflation, with the attendant possible actions of central banks. Therefore, winners and losers will become more conspicuous. The true determinant of which individual businesses, entities, products and services will fall will be what development and client retention initiatives are taken. Now and for the immediate future, doing nothing is not an attractive nor viable option. Those who do so can expect to be crushed in the rush to service consumers. A series of recent management workshops that I have facilitated has highlighted the sensitivity among business leaders of the need for a greater and more widespread sense of entrepreneurism among their respective ranks. With that in mind, I draw your attention to the article text “”A Rare Breed – The Internal Entrepreneur”, which is featured in this transmission. I do hope that you enjoy it and will embrace the sentiments, to your benefit and profit. Barry Urquhart

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