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Medicine

From College Kids on Caffeine to Smartphones and Wi-Fi, Telemedicine evolves
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To earn money as a struggling college student in the 1980’s, I took a night-shift job at the local hospital as a ‘monitor tech’ in the Intensive Care Unit.

Armed only with massive amounts of caffeine and very rudimentary training in what bad ECG cardiac rhythms look like, I spent my nights watching a row of heartbeat monitors for 24 hospital patients. I was given three standing orders:

  1. Don’t fall asleep.
  2. If anything changes in a patient’s heart rhythm try to print off a paper strip of it for the physicians to take a look at in the morning.
  3. If any of the rhythms changed to either very smooth waves or a completely flat line scream for a nurse.

That second responsibility proved to be the most challenging, because the monitors didn’t have the ability to pause or rewind. Catching the anomalies that the physicians wanted to see required gunfighter reflexes to physically get to the right monitor and hold down the print button hoping that the troubling rhythm was still on the screen so that it would show up on the paper slip.

Being jacked up on caffeine did help with the reaction time, though I was a jittery mess in class the next morning. Good times.

Do you know what physicians do now when they want to see their patients’ cardiac rhythms?  Many of them pull out their smart phones. Modern cardiac monitors are intelligent, autonomous, and wi-fi enabled. They can assess and interpret patient rythyms far better than I ever could, and they never fall asleep.

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Individually Tailored Medicine – One Size Does Not Fit All!
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“Medicine sometimes snatches away health, sometimes gives it”

- Ovid, Tristia, Book II

In Tristia the Roman poet Ovid noted a healthcare challenge that is as true in our age as it was in his – medicine can affect different people differently. While they lack the eloquence and poetry of Ovid, every pharmaceutical advertisement says much the same thing, citing both the beneficial and adverse effects that a patient may experience. Most will benefit, some may experience no improvement, and a small percentage may experience an unintended side effect.

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The Logistics of Saving Lives: Keeping Cool Through a Challenging Delivery (Video)
UPS PharmaPort 360 shipment

The flu season is fast approaching here in North America and the call to stand in line, roll up your sleeve and get your annual flu shot is ringing across UPS – and across the country.  And, yes, I got my shot last week. Glad that’s over with!

Back in April, Walgreens donated more than 375,000 doses of flu vaccine to the Laos People’s Democratic Republic (Laos), when their flu season was just getting ready to begin. They wanted to make a difference in thousands of lives by bringing good health to a population in need. Walgreen’s faced an enormous logistical challenge to safely transport the vaccines from Louisville, Kentucky, to Southeast Asia.

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