Archives for November 9, 2007

A real-life look at insurers rating doctors.

The Blog that Ate Manhattan has actual data about two physician colleagues who were downgraded. You’ll never guess which side of the equation made the mistake:

The Blog that Ate Manhattan: Garbage In, Garbage Out
Two of our finest docs were recently down-graded from premium status by a major insurer for providing sub-par care.

Read the rest for the details.

Garbage, indeed.

Update 11-16-07; it seems to have disappeared.  Interesting.

Epocrates Rx, now on Blackberry; my first take

Free medical BlackBerry software: Epocrates Rx

Follow the link if you

  • have a Blackberry
  • want Epocrates
  • are willing to put up with annoying, potentially serious weirdness.

I’m an early adopter, so as soon as the email hit my inbox I was downloading. First, you have to have an account at Epocrates (It’s ‘free’ software but nothing’s really free). Then, you navigate to, and it warns you that it’s a big download and it takes a while. It is (9MB) and it does.

The first download is a loader program, and you have to input your epocrates username/password, then the really long download begins. Mine hung (I was walking with the phone and passed through a known area of poor signal quality, so that’s on me). A battery-removal restart finished the installation.

Unlike Pepid (decidedly NOT free), there was no protracted index builiding, just a quick ‘agree’ and you’re off to the Epocrates races. Yes, it works, as well as on any of the Palms I’ve had it on. Drugs, etc (I haven’t tried any of the advanced features). So, it does download and it does work.

The serious weirdness? Here’s the support request I submitted this evening:

Dear Sirs,
I’ve downloaded Epocrates to my Blackberry Pearl. It works well, which is a tribute to your team.

However, it has induced a really weird and annoying behavior: every 10 seconds or so the hourglass spins on the BlackBerry, and for a second or so nothing works / can be changed. Then, it’s back to normal, for another 10 seconds. I’ve disabled the timed updating, but that didn’t change anything.

Is there a way to make this stop?


I’ll keep it, for a bit, and see what happens. The once every 10 second spinning a) locks the device for a second, and b) I’m wondering about the battery-life consequences of an every 10 second event. Time will tell, and I’ll update when and if Epocrates gets back to me.

If you’ve tried it, drop a comment (especially tell me if you have the 10 second thing).

Update: Solved! Commenter RIDoc had the answer:

Just read the Doc Alerts, pressed “No” for each request for information, and the hourglass disappeared.

Exactly right, and that worked. Thanks!

Update2: it happened again, and went away after I looked at the (empty) Doc Alerts program. Weird.

Update3: The official word from the Epocrates Tech Support people:

Thanks for contacting Epocrates,

We have discovered that the way to get rid of this is to tap either Yes or No to DocAlerts on the device.

We are troubleshooting to resolve this issue altogether.

Please let us know if we can assist you any further.


So, that’s the answer. My answer has been to delete the thing, as I find it highly annoying to have my phone lock up because Epocrates wants me to perform an action I don’t want to do. I’ll probably try it again in a month or so, but for now I’d say get it only if you have to have it and have no other choices.

Update 11-25-07: It seems they’ve fixed the spinning hourglass.  I have mine reinstalled, and so far it works fine.    haven’t moved to to the memory card, as I don’t know how to do it.  I need to look into it.