Sunday, November 30, 2008

'Tis the season

Ah, the snow is coming down in our neck of the woods and the malls and stores all have extended hours for shopping. Tomorrow is a big day on the internet called Cyber Monday.

Cyber Monday is the Monday after Black Friday (the day after Thanksgiving) where lots of people go online and start their holiday shopping instead of being in the stores on Black Friday.

If you're trapped at work and want to shop, it sounds like a great deal. However, be certain to check with your IS staff if you're not sure (or if your boss hasn't reminded you) of your organization's acceptable internet use policy.

Most companies have Acceptable Use policies (or AUPs) for a number of reasons. One, it sets up a code of conduct for how you will use the internet at work. Rule of thumb: normally, if your internet use is for business use, or can be justified for business use, it's normally okay. Another item to look for: many businesses allow employees to use the internet for personal reasons while on their breaks or lunch time.

Two, in many cases, when you sign an Acceptable Use agreement, you state that you will follow the guidelines or you can be disciplined or even terminated. A few examples of the quick and easy route to termination I've seen as an IT staffer: overuse of internet for non-business purposes and not doing your job, using the internet to run a side business during business hours and transmitting or receiving pornography.

Three, implementing acceptable use policies also helps alleviate the load on the network, so that you can do your normal business without having slowdowns due to everyone shopping or watching streaming video all day. Some companies use proxy servers and firewall software to enforce these rules on the network. The software can be simple or sophisticated, and can even tell your network staff how much time you're using and where you're going on the internet. If your organization doesn't want you going somewhere on the internet, the IT staff (or the firewall or proxy software) often blocks the offending site or sites.

So, what does this mean to you? Follow your organization's policy and use the internet as your organization deems fit. If your company lets you surf the internet on your lunch hour, have a blast shopping away!

Tuesday, November 25, 2008

More on online drug references

Reuters recently had an article about Wikipedia and the accuracy of information there.

Medscape Drug Reference is another, mostly (about 80+ per cent of the time) correct drug reference that is freely available.

Other useful drug references on the web:

Tuesday, November 18, 2008

Online Healthcare IT expo

Check out the HIMSS Virtual Conference and Expo tomorrow, November 19 and Thursday, November 20. Starting with the keynote at 0900 CST, you'll be able to access conference sessions online on various healthcare IT topics.

A full list of the conference topics is available in the Show Guide (PDF).

Wednesday, November 12, 2008

Some items of note

I've been busy, so hence, I've neglected my postings to this blog. There are so many exciting things popping up in my mailbox from the different listservs and publications, that it is an enormous task to read them every day.

Here are a few items of interest I've found recently.

Do you use a PDA on your job or at home? Do you access e-mail in public places or read documents on it? You may be interested in the latest gadget--privacy screens for PDAs. These have been very common for desktop and laptop PCs in healthcare for a long time, but for many years, the prices were very prohibitive.

As with anything, the costs have come down and you can find a privacy screen for your PDA for under $20 at vendors such as You name the device and they have accessories for it. They also have a large selection of accessories for smartphones and Blackberries, too.

This article from HealthData Management in April 2008 discusses the winners of the 2008 Nursing Information Technology Innovation Award. The situations described are prime examples of how IT is integrating into the nursing workflow to make a difference.

Medscape, as I've mentioned before, has a lot of neat things for nurses, but also has a section for NPs. This article describes some of the applications for nursing education for NPs, as more and more master's level programs go online.

In addition, since more folks are going online to learn via distance education on the internet, some colleges are turning to tools to make cheating more difficult. This article from the Chronicle of Higher Education discusses one tech option.

Finally, since I'm seeing a lot of articles about hospitals and technical redesigns to aid nurses in their work, I also found this recent article on how architects are now designing hospitals with the aid of doctors, nurses, and neuroscientists. On the same note, it's a little more dated, but this 2005 article discusses designing nurses' stations. This is important since physical plant restrictions can also play a part in implementing technology solutions.