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Archive for March, 2013

Yoda, Secret Sauce and Space Jam

Sunday, March 31st, 2013

3 different stories, 1 same point.

1.  Yoda is a cat. What is unusual about him?  Well, if you’re on Pinterest, you can check him out here.  He’s got a very unique feature.  (And of course, Henri, the French melancholy cat.  He’s definitely got a unique point of view.)

2.  My friend, Career Coach Caroline, released a YouTube video on bringing your “secret sauce” to find your first, next or ultimate career gig, here.

3.  I saw a Fast Company article about something, which took me to this video, which asks – what is your Space Jam?

Whatever religion you are, this time of year, I always think of Springtime as a way to a fresh start.  A clean out and clean up.  A rebirth, so to speak.  Regardless of what I believe, my hope for all you, dear 13 readers, is that we could all use a little pep talk to remind us that we are all here for a reason.  STOP being boring.  START being awesome.  Find your unique feature, and BRING it to the universe.

We’re waiting…!

White Knight Syndrome

Thursday, March 28th, 2013

There are three different worlds I roll in suffering from the same affliction. Thought it was worth a post.

1. Single women – I roll solo.  Most peeps know that.  However, sometimes, when I run into my fellow single womankind, some of them like to talk about meeting THE guy.  You know, that one on the white horse that swoops in and makes everything right…i.e., the one coming to “save them.”  THEN and only then, their lives will be set.

But, he hasn’t shown up yet. Sigh.

2. Economic developers/small towns – I just saw on the news this week a sad story about a small town in Indiana that is disappointed a car manufacturer wasn’t going to officially land in their small town.  Four years ago, the company rode in, declared that it would save this small town and make everything right for economic development.  Then, and only then, the town would be set.

But, the car company never came to town.  Sigh.

3. Profession of Pharmacy – Yes, I heard a lot of complaints on the WSJ article recently on pharmacists being cast in a negative light.  There was a lot of discussion and debate on what to do.  There were 20 some odd posts on it in one of the Linkedin groups I’m part of, and one of the posters posted something to the effect of, ‘we need to start an organization to do PR for our profession and spread the word on the wonderful things we do.’  THEN, we’d be set.

But, we have several organizations already in pharmacy. Sigh.

Dear single women all over, small town America, and my first profession: I’m here to deliver some shocking news.

NO ONE IS COMING TO SAVE US.

The white knights don’t exist–big business crumbles overnight, the government is almost $17 trillion in debt, single men aren’t graduating in equal amounts to women in college and graduate school anymore.  I’m here to report that they’re not on their white horses, and they are not coming.  If we wait for them, we are going to die waiting.  Here’s the other shocking bit, but to me, good news here:

THE ONLY PEOPLE THAT WILL SAVE US ARE…OURSELVES!

So, never one to only complain and not provide any solutions, here are some:

1. For the single ladies – worry about YOU.  Work on YOU.  YOU–BE YOU.  Be happy that you’re making it on your own, and don’t settle, unless that’s really really what you want.  Furthermore, celebrate that you’ve made it this far on your own.  You really ARE MAKING IT AFTER ALL!  Throw a Mary Tyler Moore party and ROCK ON!

2.  Small townsThis.  I couldn’t say it any better if I tried.  Seriously–if Rockford, IL can do it – WHY CAN’T EVERY CITY AND TOWN IN AMERICA?!?

3.  Pharmacy – My solution I already gave back to the Linkedin group.  Write and speak about what you do as pharmacists each and every day.  Be your OWN PR factory!  Go out and talk to reporters about the brilliant things pharmacy can offer to patients.  In fact, just today, I read about this bookstore/legal advice store in the Valley.  Why couldn’t pharmacy do this for patients too?  An advice store: would you really go?  I believe I WOULD!!!!

There.  Sorry to get all coachy on everyone today.  But please stop wasting time by worrying about someone else arriving to save us.  And I don’t mean to just pick on the three groups above.  It seems to me that a LOT of our country suffers from White Knight Syndrome these days.  Dear United States of America: Please assume the White Knights lost our addresses.  We’ve got to dust off that tired notion, and get on with MAKING IT HAPPEN ON OUR OWN.

 

5 Things I MUST Check Out

Tuesday, March 26th, 2013

Note to self: some cool stuff to check out:

1. Still trying to figure out my Vixia HF G10.  Pray, people, pray.  (Some part of me should have been a film major.)

2. Twine.  Seriously – I could go insane trying to figure out all the ways this little gadget could be applied to health care.

3. Dan Pink sent us some good stuff today: No brainer stuff like Dropbox (been there, love that).  But stuff I still need to check:

A.  Instapaper – duh, this should be at the top of the list.

B.  IDoneThis – Get ‘R Done!

C.  Type it 4 Me – although – how is this different from Dragon?

D.  Up Band – Uhm, really – how many steps DO I take a day?  Health care, anyone?

Wait.  That’s more than 5.  Oh well….

2 Items

Monday, March 25th, 2013

1. Thanks for the love on the WSJ article rebuttal feedback.  I appreciate the backers in pharmacyland.  But seriously, dear pharmacy profession, we are kind of like the single girl living in the land of absent white-horse riding knights – there’s NO ONE coming to SAVE US EXCEPT OURSELVES!  Let’s get out there and defend our awesome profession!  Don’t wait for an organization to do it for us or a PR firm – we’ve GOT TO DO IT OURSELVES!

2.  My Canon Vixia HF G10 arrived today – yay!  Although, reading the phonebook-sized owner’s manual that came with it is like reading a patent law case – technical, and not exactly super fun.  But – I’ve watched a couple of youtube videos on the matter, and I have tech support in to give me a little technical assistance on conversion of my videos -> iMovie.  Of course, someone in my awesome baker’s dozen may know something about this – if it’s you, I’ll eagerly await your email on “how.”

At this point, Steven Spielberg should be scared.  Really scared.

Not.

My Response to WSJ’s Article on “10 Things Drugstores Won’t Tell You”

Sunday, March 24th, 2013

I was going to keep my mouth shut on this – but there have been too many PO’d pharmacists for me to do so on social media (particularly LinkedIn groups–not to mention personal debates) about this article.  Furthermore, the reporter was cool with me personally, so while I’m here to defend no one in particular, I did want to set the record straight.  (And no, I didn’t see the article before it was published.)

Yes, that was me quoted in the article, as I previously posted on this very blog, under bullet #3.  But – since I disagree or see how many of the bullets could be misinterpreted, let me go ahead and share my point of view on this article, bullet by bullet.

1.  New doctor – Uhm, last time I checked, we were on track for a major shortage of general practice physicians in this country.  So–someone has to pick up the space where the general practitioners can’t.  That means clinics.  That means immunizations.  SO WHAT if drugstores are actually installing primary care in some shapes and forms?  I think that is a good thing, because it makes healthcare more accessible, and keeps costs lower vs. everyone going to the most expensive spot to get care, the Emergency Department.  As to the reimbursement by insurance companies – that, frankly, is between insurance companies and employers–not pharmacists.  Next…

2.  Death of the drugstore – I respectfully disagree with the entire premise of this bullet.  ACA has really nothing to do with how busy pharmacies are these days.  Guess what – because the average number of scripts per patient has gone up, people are living longer, AND people are pharmacy shopping across multiple pharmacies now to get the ‘best deal’ on prescriptions, we get to try to do drug utilization review without knowing every medication a patient is on (so it’s next to impossible to check for drug-drug interactions), battle with the insurance company online to get reimbursed for the claim, and MAKE SURE that patients are getting the right drug, in the right dose, and that the patient doesn’t have any allergies or contraindications to it.  If that takes 45 minutes for my script, or any family member’s script, I’m FINE with coming back to pick it up.  Prescription drugs are NOT lattes.

3.  Raise – Here’s where I was quoted.  And while pharmacists on average make great money, the physician salaries here are WAY TOO LOW.  You can’t lump general practitioners with surgeons or specialty medicine doctors salaries either – it just doesn’t work–way too wide a standard deviation.  And my point simply with my quote was this: We as pharmacists are happy to take on additional work–but we should get paid for it.  That does NOT mean we are money grubbing self-serving people–that means that no other professionals give away their services, so why should we?  (And think about that every time you get a $4 prescription filled.)  Don’t get me wrong – I love my profession, but haven’t we in pharmacy kind of shot ourselves in the foot by giving away prescriptions BELOW cost?

4.  Private secrets – Duh.  What wasn’t really mentioned here is that we are bound both by HIPAA and HITECH Acts, not to mention professional ethics.  Next…

5.  Take your meds – Another duh.  Medication adherence is the #1 problem in pharmaceutical care and pharmacy practice today.  Furthermore, it is true – hospitals with readmissions will be penalized – so why shouldn’t community practice pharmacies team up with hospitals to try and make sure patients take their medications to AVOID returns to the hospital?  It’s in EVERYONE’S best interest for patients to properly take their medication–not just pharmacists, not just doctors, and not just hospitals.

6.  Magnet for dealers – Unfortunately, this is true.  Indiana has the dubious honor of being #1 in the country for armed pharmacy robberies now.  So–not only do we get to do everything I mentioned in bullet 2, but we also get to play detective/cops and robbers to try and supersleuth through forged prescriptions, legitimate prescriptions, etc. on top of drug utilization review (DUR) and patient med safety issues.  I went to school to be a pharmacist – not Nancy Drew.

7.  Pay out of pocket – See my comment about $4 prescriptions above.  If you want to use pharmacy as a loss leader to get people into the store to buy other stuff, rock on…but personally, I don’t think pharmacy has anyone to blame but itself for competing on price alone.  When we started selling prescriptions below cost (i.e. $4), we did it to ourselves.

8.  Medicine to order that might kill? – To make a leap from Tamiflu all the way over to meningitis and generic compounded sterile injectables is WAY too oversimplistic a leap to make here.  USP 797 alone is a diatribe.  Pharmacists have entire classes on compounding and sterile compounding in pharmacy school.  This leap on this bullet is way too breezy to be legit when it comes to the myriad of issues around compounding, sterile compounding, and inspection of pharmacies–foreign or in-state–by boards of pharmacy. Furthermore, I think a reason why we have generic injectable drug shortages is that manufacturers can’t afford to manufacture them anymore – and make a decent enough profit to continue making them drugs–so America, which is it that we want–cheap drugs or safe drugs?  We can’t necessarily have both.  Last–what about all the pharmacies out there that are playing by the rules, serving their customers, and serving unmet needs?

9.  Food and nail salons in pharmacies – Who cares?  Besides, if it is healthy food, I’m good with that – as pharmacies SHOULD be focused on both prevention and treatment and wellness!

10.  Meth – it’s a problem.  A HUGE problem, to the point where I personally think we need to make PSE a prescription-only drug, and maybe even a controlled substance.  I also don’t dig that there is a specific, special process by which we have to sell PSE in pharmacies.  Why are we creating an entirely DIFFERENT process to sell ONE drug in the pharmacy? We shouldn’t.  If you really want to deter smurfing, just make the drug prescription-only, then let us do our original jobs.  (See bullet #6 – I’m not in the cops and robbers business.)

And of course, whether or not we sell it for $4 is entirely another matter.

There.  I’m certain there are pharmacists out there who may disagree with the reporter–I do in some aspects as outlined above. I’m just pumped there was an actual article on pharmacists, who often get left out of the conversation when it comes to healthcare (yeah, who was the last person you saw on national television talking about a drug – was it actually a pharmacist?)   I’m sure there are pharmacists out there who disagree with me personally.  Cool.  That’s why we live in a free country.  I believe I was the only pharmacist quoted in the article–I’m sure there are thousands of differing opinions out there.

Agree or disagree, do yourself a favor if you’re a pharmacist reading this, especially if you’re angry about it: write someone.  Write about the truth in your blog.  Write about how you feel in a letter to your Congressional reps.  Talk to an actual reporter about what it is that you do.  Write to anyone who will listen to set the record straight.  WRITE SOMETHING TO SOMEONE.  Otherwise–you’re just going to keep on waiting for someone else to write your story (if it is written at all)–and it may not turn out the way you want it.

March Madness Musings

Saturday, March 23rd, 2013

Those who know me well also know that I rarely care about sports.  And, frankly, it is true.  I barely can walk without tripping over myself, so sports have never been my thing.  But–due to March Madness and the fact that I still have not one, but two alma maters in the running, got tired of going back and forth with my Faceplace icon of the school emblems and just ended up with a creative solution to support both.  I love you both, Butler and IU, but this back and forth stuff is brutal!  Worst of all, I will only watch with one eye open if and when you both have to play against each other. Eek.

Speaking of eyes, I am officially old, having purchased my first pair of bifocals progressive lenses yesterday.  Nerd alert over at my instagram page. Sheesh.

Last, I had an interesting conversation yesterday with a fellow she-star-entrepreneur, which was an interesting conversation not only on the new project I have cooking, but also on social media fatigue.  She said she could literally spend a full day every day on social media, and admittedly, so could I. But I’m starting to wonder – what do we get back in ‘consideration’ of playing on all this online jazz?

For example, I’m still irked with the new LinkedIn layout, because I can no longer put this here blog feed into my profile over there (so I can reach 15 readers instead of my original 13 here–not that I’m complaining about my loyal 13 fans–still love ya!)  If I left any of them, I might consider leaving LinkedIn first due to this problem alone.  But I’m deciding on this – I’ll give myself a bit more time to see if less might just be more online.

 

5 Things I Miss From My Childhood

Wednesday, March 20th, 2013

1. Seeds from my grandmothers – in actual envelopes, with the name and year scribbled on the front.  (In particular, I remember the rolly polly black 4 o’clock seeds.)

2. Stamps – not these already sticky versions.  The stamps where you could cut them off actual letters and soak them off, then hord them in your collection.  (Not to mention buying used stamps in bulk.  It was like digging for treasure.)

3. Mix tapes – just not the same as CDs, Pandora or Spotify.

4. Big gardens – much like #1, our family had a huge garden, and so did pretty much everyone that was in my family.  We grew sunflowers, raspberries, flowers, and a myriad of vegetables that the bunnies tried to eat before we could.  I miss the huge lilac bushes too – we had a lavender color, a double dark purple, and a white lilac bush.  We had a field full of random wildflowers next to our house when I was a kid for a long time too.

5.  Notes from pen pals – I also had a myriad of pen pals all over the world when I was a kid.  Loved their letters.  Wish people still wrote them every once in awhile.  Now we have email. Hmph.

3 Musicals

Wednesday, March 20th, 2013

This post was inspired by the Purdue rap with engineers and President Daniels. (As an aside, I think the pharmacy students at BU could better this.  So could the law students at IU Indy RHM Law…challenge to newly named Dean Klein.  Is that a challenge? Methinks so.  I digress.)

I want to write three musicals.  Or at least CDs.  Here are the titles:

Law: (Still think LawLawPalooza would make an AWESOME musical!)
12b6
Erie: I still don’t understand
Offer, acceptance, consideration, legality, capacity and sometimes…a writing
How many times do I have to read Roe v. Wade?
Private Nuisance
O to A for the Life of A
Article 1, Section 8, Clause 3: The only clause that matters

Pharmacy:  (Still think Push Down & Turn was one of the best band names ever!)
IPPE & Me
Top 200 (this could have multiple subparts)
SOAP it up
Cardiology
Psychotherapeutics
(and there is a ton of other systems to work with here…)

Pharmacy Law:  (Blending my two worlds!)
Professional Judgment
CSA
FDCA: Misbranded
Practice Act
Controlled Substance Hierarchy
HIPAA, NOT HIPPA
PPACA – Cover to cover

 

Thanks to WSJ

Sunday, March 17th, 2013

Big, huge shoutout to The Wall Street Journal – for talking about my first profession, pharmacy, this week – and quoting yours truly on provider status for pharmacists – which, we need.

And next time you see your pharmacist – please thank them!

ps. - Here’s my rebuttal on the article.

Lean In – On the Ides of March

Friday, March 15th, 2013

I picked up a fresh copy of Sheryl Sandberg’s book on hold at the library today – Lean In. Yay!  I was totally excited to read it, especially after watching her 60 Minutes interview – so I just ripped through the first eight chapters.

When books are THAT important, I also like sharing the questions that pop into my own head as I read a good book–so I wrote a totally unauthorized discussion guide on her book for the first six chapters:

Lean In – An Unauthorized Discussion Guide from Erin Albert

I Googled to see if there was an “official” D guide – the only one I found was this one…(that is, I’m assuming it is official).

While I’ll be the first to admit that I fizzled out at chapters 7-8 because they don’t really apply to my own life right now, I could identify with many of the problems Sheryl brought up in the first 6 chapters–Tiara Syndrome, that awkward question of “Will you be my mentor?” on the receiving end (BTW, ladies–don’t do this), and of course the old fashioned notebook for ideas and scheduling of tasks that we both similarly utilize.

But, I have to thank her for writing the book as well, as she has inspired me to lean in in two different ways–especially after a full day visit and tour at the Indiana Statehouse yesterday, where I was reminded of our state’s abysmal paucity of women involved in Indiana politics.  I can’t really talk about either of them just yet, because they’re still in top secret stage.

But–as a side note, I did “lean in” back when Mr. Zuckerberg was in hot water by not having any women on his board my snail mailing him my CV and a cover letter inviting myself to Facebook’s board.  While I never got a call from him (uhm…I’ll assume it got lost in the mail)–I’m glad he at least added Sheryl to his board.

The bottom line this Ides of March: read her book.  Even if you’re a dude.  Even if you’re not.