Journal of Informed Pharmacotherapy 2002;9 (Apr-Jun)


Redefining and Refining the JIP  – Peter Loewen, Robert Balen, James McCormack

This issue of the JIP signals the launch of two important additions to the content that we will deliver to our readers.  The JIP has always aimed to provide rapid, relevant, practical information to pharmacotherapy practitioners and researchers.  We believe the launch of the Technology in Practice Section (TIPS) and the Evidence-Based Snapshots section will make the JIP even more relevant to our readers.  In order to help accomplish this task, we are pleased to welcome Robert Balen, PharmD and James McCormack, PharmD to the JIP editorial team.

Technology In Practice Section (TIPS)

“Our Age of Anxiety is, in great part, the result of trying to do today’s jobs with yesterday’s tools.”  These words of the distinguished communications theorist Marshall McLuhan were never more true.  Today’s health care practitioners are being constantly challenged by the increasing volume of health information, the changing technology skills required, and their often unsuccessful attempts at avoiding both information overload and anxiety.  Pharmacotherapy practitioners now require a core level of technology competence in order to keep pace with patient needs. We believe that a lack of technology skills can lead to apprehension, information overload and suboptimal patient care.

We agree with a recent editorial by O’Malley (1) in which he states that pharmacists have not been at the forefront of integrating available technologies into their practice settings and that there is a “worrisome” technology gap in our profession.  A survey we recently conducted at one of our institutions indicates that the greatest work-related technology challenge that pharmacists perceive is a lack of skills required to effectively use currently available technology and on-line resources for patient care.  The vast majority of the respondents believe that their practice effectiveness could significantly increase if their computer, Internet, and information management skills could be improved.

The purpose of the TIPS is to empower readers with the knowledge required to integrate technology into their practice to improve patient care, research, education and life-long learning effectiveness. This section of the JIP will focus on technologies that are currently available, ubiquitous and can be procured “off-the-shelf” by individuals.  The TIPS will expand the scope of the “Pharmacotherapy on the Web” section, which has been part of the JIP since its inception.  Web site reviews will expand to include resources that provide content on information management and computer skills.

We invite readers to guide the content of TIPS by submitting questions and topic suggestions.  We  want to hear about your technology-related challenges and we plan to provide a forum for addressing some of the questions you send us. We also invite you to submit a description of innovative solutions that you have developed to meet some of these challenges in your practice setting.

TIPS will feature topics such as: 

  • How to use the Internet to help you keep up with the literature and improve your practice
  • How to choose and use a personal digital assistant (PDA) for your practice
  • How to manage and organize your professional resource material
  • How to make your pertinent resources electronically available to you in your practice area
  • How to optimize your internet and medical database search strategies
  • How to regain control of your email in-box

Other exciting plans for this section include:

  • Critical evaluations of drug and disease information software
  • Forums for reader-initiated information exchange
  • Tips on knowledge management and knowledge sharing in practice

We look forward to your questions and hearing about your day-to-day technology-related challenges.

Evidence-Based Snapshots

Due to the popularity of the Evidence-Based Reviews of the Pharmacotherapy Literature section, we are enhancing this section with more of what our readers want.  Our readers have told us that they want the “quick and dirty” details on the flood of new trials that are being reported daily: Details like “Who was studied?”,  “What were the results?”, “What does it mean?”  Our goal is to provide a synopsis of these studies no later than one week from the time it is released.  The section will be called Evidence-Based Snapshots and will be introduced over the next few weeks.  To illustrate what we intend to provide, some examples of older trials have been published in this issue of the JIP.

We will be relying on our JIP Section editors, and on you to help us by suggesting studies that should be included in this section.  Our editors are experts in their therapeutic areas and review the journals pertinent to their expertise on a regular basis.  In particular, we are interested in those studies that have the potential to impact on how we use pharmacotherapy to improve patient outcomes.  This includes studies involving new therapies, and those that shed more light on how to best use currently available drugs.  We will also be soliciting brief commentaries and opinion from other experts. We also invite you to recommend articles which should appear in this section using our Feedback form.

It is not our goal to do a formal critical appraisal on each article.  Instead, we plan to create a simple synopsis of the findings.  A more extensive critical review will continue to be done for selected studies in the Evidence Based Reviews of the Pharmacotherapy Literature section.

Ultimately you, the reader, will decide whether these changes to the JIP are meaningful to you.  We invite you to let us know what you think of them.

Email to the Editors

Evidence-Based Snapshots with emphasis on rapid review of results

Evidence – Based Reviews of the Pharmacotherapeutic Literature with emphasis on interpretation of the findings, designed to help practitioners put the findings into proper perspective

Research Abstracts rapid dissemination of research findings

Technology in Practice helping pharmacotherapy practitioners use technology to enhance their practice

  • How to Use Email and the Internet to Help You Keep Up With the Literature: Part I – Robert M. Balen

Issues in Pharmacotherapy Practice – Contemporary issues by clinical practitioners

Articles in this section are designed to provide today’s pharmacotherapy practitioners with perspective on a wide range of drug-related issues and provide insight on improving the rationale use of drugs.

Pharmacotherapy Reviews

State-of-the art systematic reviews of topical pharmacotherapy issues. The principles of evidenced-based medicine are required for submission of all pharmacotherapy review articles with a focus on clinically relevant issues in pharmacotherapy practice to ensure readers can apply these findings to daily practice.

Pharmacotherapy Updates

Pharmacotherapy updates are not designed to be comprehensive systematic reviews but should be brief, focused reports on recent advances in pharmacotherapy. Summary of consensus conference and position statements pertinent to pharmacotherapy can also be included.

Formulary Reviews

Reviews on new drugs or drug classes with comprehensive description of pharmacology, pharmacokinetics, indication, drug interactions, efficacy, toxicity and cost. Relation of new drugs to others in the same class and conclusions about the role of new agents are required when applicable.

Drug Information

Drug information submissions are designed to provide brief response to specific therapeutic questions or controversies. This section is ideally presented in a question-and-answer format.

Innovative Practice

Reports on innovative pharmacotherapy practices highlighting advanced practitioner roles and their impact on patient outcomes. Reports on the use of information technology and/or informatics in advancing clinical practice and research are encouraged.


Commentaries are designed to provide opinion on pertinent issues in pharmacotherapy practice. Perspective on selected areas of drug therapy and personal experiences are encouraged for all submissions in this section. Commentaries directed toward a specific specialty are also encouraged.

Peer-Reviewed Research Articles original scholarly contributions

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