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DOCtalk by Dr. Gregg 4/17/11

April 17, 2011 News 3 Comments

Pediatric Tar Pits

Way back in the day when dinosaurs first dreamed of computers to solve their workaday needs, I’ll bet some pterodactyl envisioned that computers would one day actually take the drudgery out of their calculational quandaries and let them focus upon doing the dinosaury things that they really wanted to be doing.

Well, that day is finally, really, honestly here – at least for us dinosaurs who deal with pediatric and neonatal drug and parenteral nutrition. I just enjoyed an hour-long webinar (how often can you say you actually “enjoyed” a webinar?) on the new digital tools that Thomson Reuters has just released: Thomson Reuters Pediatrics and Thomson Reuters Neofax.

Any of you familiar with neonatal care have likely heard of Neofax, a great book – pretty much a “must have” for neonatal care providers – chocked full of drug and nutritional information and complex calculations. It has been updated yearly since 1986 and has grown into a rather thick little paperback tome. (Ugh. Paper.)

Any of you familiar with pediatrics know how frequently drug dosages must be calculated – like virtually every single time on virtually every single child – based upon their specific weight (i.e., weight-based dosing.) And then there’s rounding. Do you round off to the closest milliliter or teaspoon? It’s not as simple as “Take a pill twice a day and call me in two weeks.”

Weight-based dosing rises to new levels of head-scratching complexity when it has to be applied to the multiple components of parenteral feeds (infant formula and TPN).

Many EHRs don’t help with this much. Some do, especially those that really “get” pediatrics, but most either ignore this calculation component, say they have it on the “to do” lists, or do some smaller portion of the process.

What Thomson Reuters has done is not just kick it up a notch; they knocked it into a whole new sphere of computer helpmate-dom. They have provided some heavy duty calculational tools to a robust database of drug monographs (Micromedex) using evidenced-based data to provide one of the best little tools any pediatric or neonatal provider could ever hope for. It is easy to navigate, displays information and alerts cleanly, and has some great tools for incorporation into hospital pharmacies and CPOE processes.

They offer “Basic” versions of each via the Internet which have fewer tools and require a little more end-user input and “Premier” editions which are “Intranet-based” with more bells and whistles and patient-specific capabilities.

The only downsides I have seen are: (a) you can’t get a look at it online without a webinar or a demo; (b) I wasn’t able to get any pricing info yet; and (c) it isn’t the prettiest user interface I’ve ever seen.

Despite these minor issues, it is clean, powerful, easy to understand, full of evidenced-based help, and it will probably knock any pediatrician’s socks off regardless of the GUI. It does just exactly the kind of things computers should do to help us pediatric dinosaurs get on about being better dinosaurs without being mired in antediluvian data and calculation tar pits.

From the tar pits…

“I’ve been drawn into your magnet tar pit trap.” – Kurt Cobain


Dr. Gregg Alexander, a grunt in the trenches pediatrician at Madison Pediatrics, is Chief Medical Officer for Health Nuts Media, directs the Pediatric Office of the Future exhibit for the American Academy of Pediatrics, and sits on the board of directors of the Ohio Health Information Partnership (OHIP).

Comments 3
  • Ah…I figured out the issue. The link gets converted once clicked to a different url. That coverted url was the one I shortened and used.

    Here’s the shortened version of the original – it appears to work just fine: http://bit.ly/gatTPf

  • To their credit, Thomson Reuters has already addressed one of few downsides I mentioned above (i.e., “you can’t get a look at it online without a webinar or a demo.) You can access a recorded version of the webinar that I attended to get a look. It’s free and you’re not even forced to provide contact info before you know if you’re interested!

    You can check it here: http://bit.ly/gatTPf (Corrected, see above. I originally sent this Comment with a link that didn’t work right.)

    I couldn’t get the WebEx ARF player volume control to budge, but the PC volumes were sufficient.

  • Had a little problem with a prior Comment that had a link that didn’t work correctly, so Mr. H deleted the original Comment.
    Here’s a short explanation of the what the link mentioned above is about:
    Thomson Reuters has addressed one of my stated issues by providing access to a recording of the demonstration webinar so you can easily see what their new tool does – and you don’t need to send in contact info!

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