Leading Supplier of Independent Medicine Information to Australian Healthcare Professionals [Interview Transcript]


Guest: Mark Fahey
Presenter: Wayne Bucklar
Guest Bio: Mark Fahey is the head of acute care business at MIMS Australia. Being responsible for engagement of the clinical community he raises awareness of MIMS drug and health knowledge solutions, MIMS technologies and the clinical solutions developed by the MIMS clinical partner community. Maintaining and building upon MIMS’s highly valued relationships with existing users and clients and government is an equally important responsibility. From a background in biomedical engineering, Mark originally specialised in the automated collection and transmission of clinical vital signs in the ICU. His passion for this work led to him spending many years on projects in remote locations in the developing world, in particular conflict zones in South Asia, Central Asia and the Middle East.

Segment overview: In today’s Health Supplier Segment, learn more about MIMS Australia – the leading supplier of trusted, quality, independent medicine information to Australian healthcare professionals. MIMS Australia offers a range of digital products that reflect current advances in information delivery; from hand held devices to online to integrating databases into clinical software applications. Their aim is to supply most current, practical and accessible knowledge to assist healthcare professionals practice effectively in the real world.


Health Professional Radio

Wayne Bucklar: You’re listening to Health Professional Radio. My name is Wayne Bucklar and my guest today is Mark Fahey of MIMS. Now I don’t have to tell any clinician what MIMS is, it’s been a tradition for 50 years. Mark, welcome to Health Professional Radio.

Mark Fahey: Thanks a lot Wayne. It’s great to be here.

W: Now Mark you’re the business development and manager for Acute Care at MIMS and my recollection of MIMS is that a small bound book a bit like reader’s digest, that’s the essential prescribing companion for every clinician. Is that the way things still are, my memories at 30 years old?

M: That’s definitely still part of what we do but it’s actually not are main part of our business any longer. We, yeah we’ve been in Australia, we’re part of a global company that manages knowledge around medications and drugs. But in Australia we’ve been here 52 years and started out as a really a catalog of drugs and over time started to add clinical information to that catalog and now in 2015 the majority about knowledge and data is supplied in digital formats. But that print book, the traditional print book and what many people think is MIMS is still available but generally it’s in the old part of our business now.

W: So medications is not the only thing you do, is it?

M: No. Well actually our parent company is a knowledge company so at various times we’ve been part of the group that owns radio stations, television and so on. But pretty well a lot about our interest now for our parent group is professional information and knowledge into many verticals. So the upper major vertical that we work in is aviation and the data around aviation. I work in the health division and in Australia our office purely concentrates on health. But we really the overall objective of our company, what we think about is knowledge and how it’s used and how it should be delivered. So in the case of health, how would you deliver knowledge and information about medications and products in a way that the clinician – it can access it in those size that they’re little granularity that they need and when and where it’s needed.

W: So Mark you’re saying that most of that is digital these days. Is digital support in prescribing the way things are done mostly?

M: No. Well we have primary care, which is another division one of my colleague looks after. That electronic prescribing is very common place and I think it’s something like 95, over 95% to general practitioners now use electronic medical records that practice management systems like partners, my medical director and so on. This and usually medications are prescribed electronically as well. But in acute care, it’s still relatively rare. We do have some examples of what we call closely medication management where medications are prescribes, dispenses, administered then and reconciled all through paperless electronic process but these are really institutions which have gone down this path primarily as for academic learnings and so on. And we store in the infancy and acute care in electronic prescribing, the majority is still done on paper medication charts.

W: And in that electronic prescribing system, you’re not the provider of the application for that, are you? You’re the provider of the data that populates it.

M: That’s exactly right and so in clinical applications that do prescribe, we’re supplying information around those pop-up medications were available to that institution or to that, for example, into that ward or that facility. We provide the clinical information around the use of that, well prescribing roles around the use of that medication, also the administration rules and so on. So that’s in MIMS, you find MIMS inside clinical applications and the majority of clinical applications in Australia who use MIMS data in knowledge to drive them. But then another important part of what we do and how we supply digital information is reference information. So in many ways it’s like an electronic book, in databases which do have some smarts but … destination where you would, clinician would go to that destination and look up medications and then do a manual prescribing process.

W: My name is Wayne Bucklar, you’re listening to Health Professional Radio. And I’m in conversation with Mark Fahey. Mark is the business development manager for acute care with MIMS and we’ve been talking about the use of the MIMS medication’s data base as the back end for a lot of electronic prescribing services. So I guess Mark it’s maybe true that lots of people are using MIMS and not even realizing it these days.

M: Well that’s right. And certainly I’m thinking in the future that would definitely be the case. It’s quite often MIMS’ information is being used in clinical judgment but it’s not thru our MIMS our user interface. It will be in part of for example CFCs, med chart or an inter systems’ electronic prescribing solution, so the use of the application will recognize that it’s a med chart or it’s track care or whatever that actually the engine driving the medication’s processes and all the information inside it comes from MIMS.

W: And strategically is that where MIMS sees the future? Do you see this electronic prescribing becoming more prevalent in the acute sector?

M: For sure. I think there’s always gonna be a base for electronic reference for referencing information, the destination where you go to like, a which very much is like an electronic book or data base that more and more information that we delivered directly into clinical work load and into business work flows, the granularity that’s needed to support that decision that’s being made. So what that means for electronic medical records is when a hospital goes fully paperless and doesn’t use paper medication charts, that means that we know a lot of information about the patient because of the electronic medical records – we know their age, their gender, their allergies and so we also know if the patient’s treatment for example. So what that means is that if you think of MIMS as a reference book will it be on paper or electronic, there’s paragraphs and paragraphs of information and you would scan through that information to see, “Oh there is a caution about getting this medication in the case of pregnancy for example.” Because in an electronic medical record, we actually notice status of this patient – that means that we can be far more concise in what information is presented. So potentially what could be many paragraphs of information can just go down to one or two lines very relevant information, for the unique case of that patient. And this is definitely the future for MIMS and for medicine because decisions have to be made quickly and information should be served into the clinical work flow.

W: You might have just answered my next question then for me. But if I’d look at MIMS 10 years ago I would have said, “Oh look the internet would wipe that business out. All this information will just be available for free over the internet.” Where is the value added in the MIMS process that just defeats Google?

M: That’s a really good point because it’s in many ways, so the discussion we have at MIMS is quite often, is what we’re doing is the value the content itself or is it the reliability of supplying it and delivering it the ways that clinicians what to use it? We believe it’s both, certainly some of the resources we supply at MIMS are available from other sources and then some cases it’s given in the public domain. There’s information that’s being supplemented from various primary references as well. So for example, drug to drug interactions and drug health interactions, that’s based on primary literature and those clinical decisions support interims have very complex information sources behind them. Then we supplement that also with local relevant information, so that could be procedures, guidelines, and documents from … themselves. So for example in an ICU or in emergency department there maybe particular guidelines around the use of the drug and that could be totally different to an emergency department, 10 kilometers down the road. And we actually can supplement health systems with that local information and put it in their system as well. And then very much the way we think is about what level of details required and valued by the clinician and we deliver that to the clinician and we do it reliably. So it’s continuously updated, never not in the case where Google, where you could put information in Google and you’ll be getting hits back from documents which are 10 years old or 15 years old. MIMS is continuously updating the data base, we have 20 avatars in Sydney working on it continuously but many hundreds of this is in the Asia Pacific that contribute to the MIMS Australian information so it’s continuously updated and continuously refreshed.

W: The issue of credibility of data is going to be one of the big questions I guess in the next 10 years or so as the internet provides more and more information. That credibility in the brand has been established as you said over 50 years in Australia. What do you do to maintain that credibility other than your editors, how do you convince clinicians that what’s in the MIMS data base is accurate and correct?

M: By many different ways, definitely. Probably the most important way that most obvious one is to listen to clinicians. So we listen to our customers and actually take on really on board what they’re saying based to what level of information they want, what information’s compelling to them and how they want it delivered. So that’s one component, of course listening to the people that use our systems. Then another is that as a company we’re forever testing concepts and testing ideas and discussing the future with our users as well. So quite often we’ll be introducing concepts which clinicians and our users haven’t thought about previously, we’ll be asking them what they think of that. We may even show them models and examples, illustrations of how that would work. And so by actually listening to what the real world needs and what they value and also challenging many ways what we do now and think of what we need to be doing in a couple of years’ time is how we do that. And of course we have a major way is never to disappoint our users that we have never let miss the delivery. Our data is always there, on time, updated and that can be relied upon.

W: Clearly a record Mark that you’re proud of and one to be proud of. If there’s a misconception about MIMS amongst clinicians or customers or clients or patients that drives you nuts and keeps you awake at night, what’s that misconception?

M: Well for me, that being in acute care usually probably the biggest misconception that was even my own before I worked for MIMS, was that MIMS was primarily a paper book like a paperback book.

W: Yup.

M: So that’s I think what drives that is MIMS is such a … we supply information and knowledge in such so many different ways and across such a wide variety of users, that the company also has really high brand recognition, just like Coca-Cola people in Australia, clinicians in Australia will usually know exactly what MIMS is. But of course what they think of MIMS is the way that they have used MIMS so of the way they’re currently using MIMS. And then naturally enough, they would think “Oh I know MIMS because I’ve used it.” And that’s usually they experience practically a small segment of what we do. So in acute care where we see so much activity at the moment and there’s so much work to be done in electronic medications management, quite often one of the misconceptions is that “Hey well I thought I’d better talk to you, but do you guys do this?” and in fact we’ve been doing exactly what that customer would need for many many decades and have very rich knowledge sources and so on that they could utilize but quite often they wonder if we’re even in that business.

W: I guess Mark there’s a whole new generation of clinicians emerging from universities who will think the idea of a paperback book of drug information is quite arcane and old hat and they’ve never used one. They’ll be the people are using tablets and iPads, do you service those?

M: Yes, we do. So for a really good example of that is the University of Technology here in Sydney. So in there in all students studying pharmacy and other health disciplines receive free of charge, a MIMS application which runs on an iPad, the surface tablet or an android tablet. And they utilize that as part of their course work so that actually becomes one of the textbooks and resources they used in this studies, of course that’s in education but we do exactly those same applications used in clinical areas as well and hospitals right around the country. So with an exception of one state, every state in Australia actually uses MIMS information on iPads, electronic devices, iPhones and so on. We have contracts with every governments in Australia, both state and territory and all of the private groups as well. And the majority of those contracts, they supply in mobile information as well and what we supply in mobile isn’t diluted it’s not a cut down version of the MIMS knowledge, it’s identical to what would be available on their desktop device.

W: Mark, it sounds like MIMS is definitely staying ahead of the game. Thank you for joining us this morning at Health Professional Radio. My name is Wayne Bucklar. If you just joined us, I’ve been in conversation with Mark Fahey about MIMS and to my surprise about the number of electronic access points that are available to what in my mind was a paperback directory of medicine. A transcript to this interview is available on our website at www.hpr.fm and there’s an archive of the sound file also on our website or on YouTube. My name is Wayne Bucklar, you’ve been listening to Health Professional Radio.

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