Friday, October 5, 2007

'Round the Sphere/Week in Review: Let's Party!


From the looks of things, we are ALL working too hard! We need a party! And I don't mean a virtual party.

I'm trying to organize a real life Halloween party in my neck of the woods (Newtown, PA).

Here's the map:


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There are many pharma-related businesses right here in Newtown. Of course, the Pharma Marketing Network/News empire is located here.

PharmaLive/Engel Publishing, which brings us Pharma Blogs: Week in Review written by Christiane Truelove, is also in Newtown. Would you believe I am in walking distance of their offices and have never met Christiane. I've probably seen her crossing Newtown-Yardley Road to get lunch at the deli -- Watch Out! I don't break for competitors!

It was actually Christiane that gave me the idea for a party -- she's obviously been working very hard and wasn't able to get out her newsletter for the last couple of weeks! But it's back today! Here's an excerpt:

On Thursday, Dr. Daniel Carlat testified at the Massachusetts State House on a bill to control health-care costs in Massachusetts. One part of the bill would ban most drug company gifts to doctors. Dr. Carlat shared with readers an incident that happened to him, when a rep’s gift influenced his prescribing decision. “The fact is that pharmaceutical gifting is an effective marketing technique, as much as physicians deny that their medical opinions can be swayed by such small dispensations,” Dr. Carlat says.

Speaking of gifts, John Mack of the Pharmaceutical Marketing Blog talks about the mixed messages from Lilly in offering a paper-sorting tray to Cymbalta-prescribing physicians. While Mr. Taurel was urging the health-care industry to go to electronic records, Lilly’s mailer for Cymbalta was proclaiming that the paperless office is a myth and offering the letter tray to help keep physicians’ offices organized. “But the story is more than the left hand not knowing what the right hand is doing,” Mr. Mack says. “It's about drug safety and Lilly's lip service to drug safety.” Apparently these mailers were cited by FDA for making misleading efficacy claims and understating risk. Mr. Mack posts a story done by the Wall Street Journal here. “Perhaps Lilly and FDA need to go paperless in order to achieve better, more efficient communications so that they can understand one another,” Mr. Mack says.

And speaking of online electronic health records in the quest for the paperless office, Merrill Goozner of GoozNews talks about how Microsoft has unleashed its PR blitz for the Microsoft Health Vault, which would allow consumers to generate online personal health records. Mr. Goozner dissects a quote from Microsoft CEO Bill Gates in the Wall Street Journal, in which Mr. Gates points out that almost all test results, prescriptions, procedures, etc. are already recorded in digital form. “So, then, isn't it a simple task to insist that these electronic medical records be made available upon request to patients and other physicians (with patient approval)?” Mr. Goozner wonders. “Isn't it a simple task to pass a law that requires all physicians, hospitals and clinics transition to patient-available electronic medical records with portability if they wish to continue collecting fees from Medicare, Medicaid and other government programs, which account for nearly half of all direct health care expenditures?” He does concede that there will be interoperability and data-reporting standards that would have to be resolved. I think interoperability issues would be a significant problem — if you’ve ever had the joyous task of transferring files between an old home computer to a new model, you can imagine how much more of a nightmare is involved when putting together a system whose files can be easily transferred between the physician, health insurance company, and consumer. Thus, Microsoft is designing a system in which Mr. Gates says the patient can be the center and can decide who to share the health data with.

Mr. Mack is not too enthusiastic about the Health Vault offering. “Anyway, why would you entrust your personal health information with a technology company known to be prone to privacy and security lapses?” he wonders. “Wouldn't it make more sense to go with a service from a company with healthcare experience like Aetna or Wellpoint? While you may not trust health insurance companies, at least these companies must comply with health information privacy and security standards set by HIPAA and they have a good incentive to protect their clients' privacy — unlike Microsoft, their business depends upon it.”
As for the party -- let me know if you can make it. Costumes required -- I am sure we can get some ideas on what costume suits each of us from Pharma Giles!

1 comment:

Pharma Giles said...

Sounds like fun...

And thanks for the idea for costumes. I'm on the case!