Welcome to the July 2011 edition of i2P E-Magazine.
A range of strategic issues are looked at this month, primarily in the form of social media and its impact on pharmacy and other health professions.
Social media can adversely affect the reputations of pharmacists if forms of personal behaviour are picked up and populate various Facebook or other similar sites.
The facility for correct use to occur is even available on the i2P site when the need to share becomes important. Kay Dunkley explores these issues in her feature article “Social and Electronic Media and Health Professionals”.
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Regular weekly updates that supplement the regular monthly homepage edition of i2P.
Access and click on the title links that are illustrated.
A range of global and local news snippets and links that may be of interest to readers.
Pipeline Extra simply broadens the range of topics that can be concentrated in one delivery of i2P to your desktop.
Social and electronic media in its many forms including email, websites, blogs, mobile phones, texts, twitter, teleconferencing, voice chat and skype are everyday phenomena, especially in the lives of younger health professionals including pharmacists.
They are being used for social purposes, as a media tool, for education and in the provision of health care services.
This website and the I2P E-Magazine are good examples.
In recent times we have seen attempts by some pharmacy groups to attract additional prescription business through deep discounting or squeezing drugs into a “one size fits all” price model.
There is nothing new or imaginative contained in either model - simply an attempt to gain advantage solely on price.
It is becoming apparent that in the Australian market place an evolving pharmacist-surplus is occurring and is rapidly becoming critical.
What is probably not realised is that in the US a surplus is occurring there as well and the market is not able to soak up that surplus.
Perhaps the reasons for the US surplus are similar to that here in Australia, but there are no clear reasons given and the finger is generally pointed at those who benefit – pharmacy owners (through the PGA) and pharmacy schools (chasing full fee-paying students).
A closer look at the US problem may assist in understanding the Australian experience.
In April this year La Trobe University academic Dr Ken Harvey submitted a complaint to the Therapeutic Goods Administration (TGA)’s Complaints Resolution Panel (CRP) challenging the advertising claims made for SensaSlim, a weight loss complementary medicine (CM).
He is now being sued by them for $800,000.
SensaSlim claims it has developed a product that can “desensitise taste buds and reduce hunger pains”, that it is a “revolutionary slimming breakthrough” and that a 20-year study involving 11,453 people substantiates their claims.
Look behind the figures.
Statistics can be so misleading.In fact, they can be outright meaningless, particularly "averages".
One person who is sensitive to the issue is Peter Newman, the host announcer for the breakfast program on the high rating radio station Curtin 100.1 FM in Perth, Western Australia.
He is a graduate in English and respects the power of language and the value of words.
In regular interviews between Peter and myself he often waxes lyrical about means, medians and averages.
During a recent on-air discussion I shocked him when I described the average 100.1 FM listener as having one breast and one testicle. He was lost for words. However, he shouldn't have been, because the audience profile of the station and his program in particular is relatively evenly balanced between males and females.
He declared the statement to be nonsensical. I agreed. Averages are often like that.
Few things are more frustrating than having to repeat yourself because the person you are speaking to isn't listening. It wastes time -- and time, as we all know, is money.
Perhaps a little further up the annoyance scale is the exchange -- I hesitate to call it a conversation -- in which both parties are so determined to get their own points across that they have little regard for what the other is saying.
When everyone is talking at the same time, or planning their next remarks instead of listening and responding, the result is never positive.
It demonstrates a real lack of respect for the speaker and the message.
Editor's Note: This article was originally written by Heath Kelly,Professor of Epidemiology at Victorian Infectious Diseases Reference Laboratory and appeared in The Conversation.
When someone is adversely affected by a vaccine in Australia, their only way to receive compensation is through the courts. But this is not the case worldwide.
Vaccines undergo rigorous testing to ensure they don’t have serious negative side effects. But very rarely, they can harm those they aim to protect. This is a very small recognised risk with some vaccines.
Internationally, 19 countries have no-fault compensation schemes.
Germany, for example, has had a government-run no-fault compensation scheme for 50 years.
In these countries, governments recognise that vaccinations provide benefit to both the individual and the community.
Recent reports indicate that prescription errors are not improving, even with the introduction of electronic prescriptions.
A paper recently published by the Journal of the American Medical Informatics Association found that e-prescriptions in the US were just as prone to errors as paper prescriptions, though most of these errors involved omitted information and could be eliminated via upgrades to current software.
In the UK new data reveal that lack of detailed medicines information was behind 4,041 medicine errors involving 3,091 medicines reconciliations carried out by pharmacists at 30 acute trusts in England last September.
This data was published by the Royal Pharmaceutical Society (RPS).
The generation that symbolised youth is not yet ready to move up a “notch” and symbolise old age.
A recent US study (AP-LifeGoesStrong.com poll) found that around 75% of “boomers” consider themselves middle-aged or younger, and that includes those currently in the age range 57-65.
Around 25% insist that you are not old until you are 80.
They are more likely to be excited about the positive aspects of aging, such as retirement, than worried about the negatives, like declining health.
Editor's Note: This arrticle waas originally written by Daniel Blackmore, a post-doctoral research fellow at the Queensland Brain Institute at University of Queensland.
The human brain is often referred to as the most complex organ on the planet. It is responsible for an incalculable number of tasks, thoughts and functions every second of everyday of our lives.
The brain controls our emotions, our perceptions and our memories. In short, it is what makes us who we are.
Within the human brain, there are up to one hundred billion nerve cells, each with countless connections to each other. This complexity of connectivity is responsible for the limitless imagination and creativity of the human race.
This same complexity is also the reason for deficits in memory and function following disease and traumatic brain injury, such as those resulting from car accidents or gunshot wounds.
Editor's Note: Finally, a leading pharmacy school is speaking out in regard to the ability to sustain future pharmacists into a rewarding future.
The current situation is such a waste of scarce resources at a time when all health funding is deemed inadequate.
Pumping out an ever increasing number of graduates into an unplanned workplace that is in decline, is a very unrealistic situation.
Yet there is more than enough work for pharmacists who can be trained to deliver primary care.
Pharmacy schools need to look at the different roles for a pharmacist and concentrate on a specialty that can be delivered and continue to be supported after graduation.
In the face of a push from academia, maybe the PGA can also move back from its rigid supply chain view of the world and rejoin the pharmacy profession once again. Recent statements supporting Professor Charman's position (by the PGA) are encouraging.
The pharmacy profession in Australia and the US is coming to terms with the fact that employment opportunities are drying up, and that payment for services rendered is stagnating or being reduced.
This is also being driven by the fact that consumers are finding the offerings of pharmacy less attractive than in times past.
Wal-Mart in the US has been in decline for the past two years and was recently forced to confront the fact that its smaller, more personal stores, were outflanking their superstores in financial return, to the extent that all future investment is being funnelled into the ”corner store” concept.
Make no mistake.
The same trend is appearing here in Australia.
Consumers are looking for value, particularly the value found in professional services delivery.
New research from the Australian School of Business (ASB) indicates that having just one person who is lazy at work can drag down a high performing team.
Benjamin Walker, a PhD student at the ASB, is studying the impact of a single "difficult personality" member on team effectiveness.
Men who have difficulty falling asleep are at greater risk of depression than those who nod off easily, researchers have found.
A study at the Western Australian Centre for Health and Ageing at The University of Western Australia found that difficulty falling asleep doubles the risk of depression in older men.
Sleep complaints are common in later life with nearly 50 per cent of people older than 65 years reporting trouble falling or remaining asleep.
Macquarie University researchers are playing a leading role in the creation of the world’s largest database of plant traits.
The TRY Plant data came from more than 8000 locations world wide. Image: Max Planck Institute for Bi
Plant traits (their morphological and physiological properties) determine how plants compete for resources (light, water, soil nutrients), where and how fast they can grow and, ultimately, how plants influence ecosystem properties such as rates of nutrient cycling, water use and carbon dioxide uptake.
The world can produce enough food and cut greenhouse gas emissions if it learns to use nitrogen more efficiently in agriculture, a world-leading Queensland University of Technology (QUT) scientist says.
Professor Richard Conant, a Smart Futures Fellow at the Institute for Sustainable Resources (ISR) at QUT, said global agricultural activities accounted for 15 to 20 per cent of total greenhouse gas emissions, including nitrous oxide, which was released from soil following the addition of nitrogen-based fertilisers.
Macquarie University Hospital has launched a new service dedicated to treating professional and amateur athletes and school aged children who injure themselves playing weekend sport.
Opening a new weekend sports injury clinic last weekend, the Hospital hopes to give local sporting people access to immediate diagnosis and treatment at its state of the art facility.
The Australian Department of Climate Change and Energy Efficiency and the National Climate Change Adaptation Research Facility (NCCARF) announced a project by Macquarie University researchers as one the successful applicants to share in $4.2 million of funding.
Awarded in the category of Terrestrial Biodiversity, the project will determine future invasive plant threats under climate change.
Editor's Note: This media release was presented by Dr Mualla Akinci Director, Karl McManus Foundation for Lyme Disease Research & Awareness (www.karlmcmanusfoundation.org.au).
Mualla's husband, Karl McManus, tragically died from Lyme's Disease and she is trying to create awareness throughout Australia of the seriousness of tick bites and their aftermath.
"Our Lyme Disease Appeal is just around the corner, launching September 1 and continuing throughout the month of September. Soon you will have delivered to your pharmacies a Lyme Disease Appeal kit containing two A4 posters, a collection can and information leaflets (Kit 1).
Deakin University health researchers have found that people with healthy diets are less likely to have depression and anxiety – not only in Australia but around the world.
In a study, published in the journal Psychosomatic Medicine, researchers from Deakin University and the University of Bergen analysed data collected from over 5700 middle-aged and older adults from western Norway.
The world's established forests remove 2.4 billion tonnes of carbon per year from the atmosphere – equivalent to one third of current annual fossil fuel emissions – according to new research published today in the journal Science.
This is the first time volumes of the greenhouse gas absorbed from the atmosphere by tropical, temperate and boreal forests have been so clearly identified.
Reducing the sugar content of soft drinks without sacrificing the taste is as simple as cutting out the caffeine, a Deakin University study has found.
Deakin health researchers have found that 10.3 per cent of the sucrose in sugar sweetened drinks, such as colas and energy drinks, can be taken out without causing a noticeable flavour difference if the caffeine is also removed.
This reduction in sugar equates to 116 less kilojoules per 500 ml serving.
Editor's Note: This article should be viewed in full screen to allow space for the video below. The Full Scren link is located just below the video graphic. Make sure your volume control is turned on before you commence viewing.
Last week, Google announced that it’s online service for storing medical records and researching illnesses will be discontinued. Google Health was created by Adam Bosworth, who has since co-founded a new health and play start-up called Keas.
GP’s have been opposed to a patient managed and controlled PCEHR and so has the Pharmacy Guild of Australia.
The motivation by government is to create a patient-centric model for health placing the patient in a “hands-on” mode, theoretically being able to control their own health information.
Of course, if the patient is not computer savvy or feels that they don’t have a mentor to guide them in the process, the system will fail as Google has shown.
Adam Bosworth in giving an explanation for the lack of the Google uptake gave the following reason: