Tuesday, October 23, 2007

WellPoint, Zagat To Launch Online Physician Rating Tool

Health insurer WellPoint, which provides benefits to about 35 million people, and Zagat Survey on Monday announced that they will launch an online physician survey tool in January 2008 to let their members rate their experiences with doctors, Indianapolis Star reports (Lee, Indianapolis Star, 10/23).

WellPoint members will be able to rate physicians on a zero-to-30 scale based on:

  • Availability;
  • Communication;
  • Office environment; and
  • How much members trust them (Reuters, 10/22).

WellPoint said that each entry on the Web site will contain a physician's contact information, the scale ratings for each category and the percentage of members who recommend the physician (Fuhrmans, "Health Blog," Wall Street Journal, 10/22).

Patients also can include comments or recommendations, although the system will have a filtering process to restrict inappropriate information, Jason Gorevic, WellPoint's chief marketing and product officer, said.

Physicians and consumer advocates say that while the online tool could offer useful consumer information, the ratings will not measure the quality of medical care, the Star reports.

Deanna Willis, an assistant professor of family medicine at Indiana University, said, "The people who are going to be motivated to go and do something like this are going to be really happy or unhappy ... The voice in the middle is more likely to get lost."

Jon Marhenke, president of the Indiana State Medical Association, said that physicians could learn about flaws in their appointment scheduling systems but added that the site will not be an indication of the "quality of medical care provided."

Ron Pollack -- executive director of Families USA, a consumer group -- said, "While I'm in favor of more information, I'm not sure this information might not turn out to be misleading."

Gorevic added that the ratings are not meant to replace information on quality and costs (Indianapolis Star, 10/23).

Now this what i am looking forward to : Virtual reality technology will find buyers in healthcare industry

virtual reality applications have experienced double-digit growth both worldwide and in the U.S. since the turn of the century, and the 2010 U.S. market for virtual reality in surgery, medical education, therapy and other areas will grow to $290 million, according to a new report from research firm Kalorama Information.

Kalorama’s report, entitled Virtual Reality Market in the US Healthcare Sector: Markets for Remote Surgery, 3D Modeling, Pain Distraction and Other Applications,claims that VR applications have “revolutionized” the global healthcare industry.

The report surveys the current U.S. market for VR applications including growth factors and trends, forecasts, and a demand-side analysis demonstrating the drivers for VR applications.

Kalorama notes that VR applications provide opportunities to perform medical tasks in a risk-free environment and make training assessable to large numbers of students. VR simulators also allow medical professionals to remain up-to-date on the latest technical procedures required in their profession.

Current VR applications assist in numerous medical modalities from pre-operative planning and robot-assisted surgery, to medical curricula to teach anatomy of body parts. VR also allows for the visualization of medical data that can be integrated and simulated into 3D models to gather insights into the cause and effects of injuries. VR is even used as an alternative therapeutic for pain and depression, and can replace or reduce pharmaceutical usage in some cases.

“While still at a very nascent stage of commercialization, VR technologies are being widely used by the Department of Defense, medical schools and hospitals, and manufacturers of medical equipment on a variety of levels with significant benefit,” notes Steven Heffner, executive publisher of Kalorama Information. “The establishment of industry standards should lead to rapid commercialization of products, and ongoing technological advancements will only further the market, particularly in the surgery segment.”

Source: Healthcare IT News

Friday, October 19, 2007

Unique Experience of American Banking Customer Service.

Yesterday, I had very unique experience of Customer Service of a Large Bank and Mathematical Skills of the people who are efficiently helping people who called customer service.

Scenario: ( the data used is to illustrate the example)

Time : 9:00 pm

Krishan checks his bank statement online and see some error in interest rate that has been applied and decided to call the customer representative of the Bank.

( in btw error was...... They gave $3 interest rate on $ 1200 last month where as they gave $ 2.80 interest on $1500 Current month.....with fixed interest savings account)

The ring goes and then Polite computer voice tells you all the deals they have and i can do banking online and all crap....and since i tried all the digits on phone finally they transferred to me to Person but before that i have to enter my 16 digit account Number and last 4 digit of SSN. Now you assume that person who picks up phone knows this already but noooooooo..

He like This xyz bank how can i help you( very lazily...no enthusiasm and i thought may be he is hungry as its dinner time so i said i am fine as long as he can answer). I explained him the above interest error scenario. The first answer he gives me is... Sir, Interest can go down..... I told him if you don't know about your own bank's saving account that it has fixed interest rate. Then he is like sir, you must have withdrawal money out of account that can reduce the interest. And i was like can't u see on your screen the balance you are giving me interest rate on is higher than last time and that says it should have higher interest than last month regardless i withdrew money or not... He is like Sir did you calculate Interet rate that it is actually correct or not....( as if i am free and just decided to call him to say hi...how are you doing..... how is your day going ).. I said...forget about using calculator...If the interest rate stays same ..then if your balance increased over the period of the time you get higher interest not lower....He is like computer calculates our interest.....(I am like....can't he see its wrong.)..then he just stopped talking all of sudden and i thought he must be checking something.....so i waited like 5 min on the phone ( no hold music nothing)....now i was like something is wrong...i keep on saying hello you there...no response......( it seems that he put on mute and went to get dinner or something)....... after 10 min i hang up and called again.

Now guess what same whole thing again............................but this time the guy who was on the phone was nice....and he assumed that i am smart enough to calculate interest and i am right and he is like i will put you on hold for a while.....he comes back and say i will transfer you to some department he said and those people will take care of it. and Transferred me to this other dude.

and he like this is XYZ bank how can i help you....( I am like ohhhhhhhhhhhhh my GOD......not again i don't want to tell whole this again)....i did the whole story again...he again gave me crap of computer can't be wrong, you must have withdrew some money & interest change... And i am like ..........look this is the third time i am explaining all this and if you don't understand what i am trying to tell you please transfer me to someone who can understand...and this is the last time i am trying to explain you.
--- I have not withdrew any money of this account everrrrrrrrrrr so forget abt just last month
---- this account has flat fixed interest rate....doesn't change.
----- Simple Math rule....higher balance get higher interest than lower balance with same interest rate.

Again...he is like i have to do some research....he goes come back again.....it seems there is a mistake we will adjust your interest and will get u letter.

So out all this 1 & 1/2 trouble.. i was like can you please even tell me how can this happen....he is it must be computer....( i am like oh my god...another gebbsy coding......)



P.s. Still haven't got that interest adjusted to account...so looking forward to this utmost satisfying experience again tonight.

Have Online Consumers Used Health Search Engine Sites To Find Health Information?

Seventy percent of online consumers surveyed said they have used a Web-based search engine to find health-related information, but just 7% of online consumers surveyed said they have used a health-specific search engine, according to a survey by Forrester Research.

Fifty-nine percent of respondents who reported using a health search engine were ages 41 years old or younger, according to the survey.

In addition, consumers who have used a health search engine reported higher technology optimism and ownership of broadband connections.The survey also found that 31% of online consumers who have used a health search engine said that the health information they find online often is difficult to understand, compared with 13% of respondents who have not used a health search engine.

In addition, 32% of respondents who have used a health search engine said they find the amount of health information available online intimidating, compared with 14% of respondents who have not used a health search engine, according to the survey.Results are based on a Q2 2007 survey of 5,551 online U.S. consumers.

Source: Forrester Research

Thursday, October 18, 2007

Microsoft joins lawmakers, activists to demand patient privacy rights

Lawmakers, corporations and activists joined today to urge Congress to protect patients' medical privacy rights. Activists say such rights are not adequately protected, especially when it comes to electronic health records.

At a Capitol Hill briefing sponsored by the Coalition for Patient Privacy, at least 46 states, national organizations and corporations, including Microsoft, petitioned Congress to include adequate patient protection in any healthcare IT legislation it may pass.

Today's request is based on the Coalition's extensive 2007 patient privacy principles and calls for privacy that applies to all health information regardless of the source, the form it is in, or who handles it.

According to Deborah Peel, MD, founder and chair of Patient Privacy Rights, the Coalition
developed the privacy principles to serve as standards for legislation. Today's effort is just a small part of a greater effort to curtail passage of currently proposed federal healthcare IT legislation that Peel said offers consumers no control over access to personal health information.
Today's briefing follows the coalition's endorsement of Microsoft's new patient-protected personal health record platform announced last week - a product Peel said is based on the coalition's privacy principles.

Frank Torres, consumer affairs director at Microsoft said protections such as those defined by the oalition are needed to ensure the creation of a healthcare IT ecosystem that consumers can trust. "We can empower people to lead healthy lives, while putting them at the center and in control of their health information," Torres said.

In Peel's view, privacy protections must follow the data. "There should be no secret health databases, and no one should be able to access personal health information without informed consent," Peel said. "All Americans want their children and grandchildren to be judged on their abilities, not on their health or genetic records."

Rep. Ed Markey, (D-Mass. ), chair of the House Privacy Caucus, was a speaker at today's briefing and one of the signers of the letter to Congress.

"Medical information is probably the most sensitive and personal information that we have about ourselves," Markey said. "Without strong privacy safeguards, a health IT database will become an open invitation for identity thieves, fraudsters, extortionists or marketers looking to cash in on our medical histories."

Markey said he would be working with Congress to craft legislation that both promotes the use of healthcare IT and preserves patient privacy. "A nationwide, seamless, effective health IT network holds tremendous promise in terms of better coordinated care, reduced medical errors and reduced costs," Markey said, "but in order to fulfill that promise, such a network must have tough privacy safeguards."

Source : Healthcare IT News

Monday, October 15, 2007

Pfizer Inks Deal To Join Online Physician Social Network

On Monday Sermo, an online forum for about 30,000 physicians, will announce a partnership with drug maker Pfizer that runs against the forum's founding principle of allowing physician communication without input from the pharmaceutical industry, AP/BusinessWeek reports.

Only Pfizer's medical staff will have access to the Web site, and any postings by them must be clearly identified as coming from a Pfizer source logging onto the secure system, Daniel Palestrant, Sermo's CEO, said Sermo began in September 2006 as a forum for anonymous discussions between physicians on topics such as drug side effects, without advertisements. Recent online polls and focus groups found that Sermo members wanted the pharmaceutical industry to participate in discussions in a controlled environment and without advertisements.

Pfizer sees Sermo as a supplement to its existing communications with physicians through medical journal articles and postings of clinical trial data on government registries, AP/BusinessWeek reports (Jewell, AP/BusinessWeek, 10/14).

The partnership puts Pfizer in a challenging position because regulators and lawmakers scrutinize drug companies' interactions with physicians to see if the companies are offering doctors financial incentives or promoting their products for unapproved uses, the Wall Street Journal reports. Pfizer said it will discuss the partnership with FDA (Johnson, Wall Street Journal, 10/15).

Sermo said it is adding between 1,000 and 2,000 new physician members weekly. The Web site also recently upgraded its authentication requirements after medical bloggers said they posted stories that said they obtained physician medical license data and accessed Sermo by impersonating doctors, Palestrant said. He added that Sermo is in talks with other companies (AP/BusinessWeek, 10/14).


Richard Thrasher, a Texas ear, nose and throat specialist and Sermo member, said that he overall welcomes Pfizer but noted that "[o]ften it's looked badly upon by other physicians when you are perceived to have a close relationship with a drug company.""It takes a lot of courage for Pfizer to do this, because the response isn't going to be universally positive," Palestrant said. He added that the pharmaceutical industry is "always in crisis" and that "there have been trust issues with physicians" (Wall Street Journal, 10/15).

What Health Topics Do Internet Users With Chronic Conditions or Disabilities Search for Online?

Nearly three out of four Internet users with chronic conditions or disabilities said that they search online for information about a specific diseases or medical problems, according to participants in a Pew Internet & American Life Project survey.

Sixty-four percent of survey respondents reported searching online for information specific medical treatments or procedures, and 51% of respondents searched online for information on prescription or over-the-counter drugs. The survey also found that 42% of Internet users with chronic conditions or disabilities searched online for information on alternative treatments or medications, while 33% searched online for information on a specific physician or hospital.

About half of survey respondents with a chronic disease or disability reported using the Internet, compared with 74% of respondents without a chronic condition. However, 86% of Internet users with a chronic condition or disability looked online for information on at least one of 17 health topics, compared with 79% of Internet users with no chronic conditions, according to the survey.

Fifty-three percent of Internet users with chronic conditions said their last online search was in relation to their own health questions, compared with 33% of Internet users without chronic conditions. The survey also found that three out of four Internet users with a chronic condition report that the information they found in their last online search affected a decision about how to treat an illness or condition, compared with 55% of Internet users without a chronic condition or disability.

Atleast it can be tracked now - SC - Rx Drug Tracking Database

South Carolina Plans To Launch Rx Drug Tracking Database

By the beginning of next year, South Carolina health officials plan to launch a new computer system to track certain prescription drugs, the AP/Charleston Post and Courier reports.

The system will track the prescribing physicians and dosage of painkillers, tranquilizers and stimulants, as well as the name, date of birth and address of the patient. The computer system is designed to let physicians and pharmacists track what medications patients are taking and determine if patients are refilling prescriptions. The system also will help law enforcement officials identify physicians who are overprescribing medication and patients who are abusing prescription drugs.

Privacy Concerns

South Carolina Gov. Mark Sanford (R) has raised concerns about the amount of information that will be stored in the database, the AP/Post and Courier reports.

In a June 2006 letter to the state Legislature, Sanford wrote, "Centralizing those records electronically in one government agency creates too large a risk of unauthorized access to the deeply personal medication information of thousands of law-abiding South Carolina citizens."

Sanford vetoed the bill authorizing the program, but lawmakers voted to override it. The computer system will have several security measures, including the ability to audit users and track what data are accessed (AP/Charleston Post and Courier, 10/15).

Source : iHealthBeat

Physicians see mobile devices as breeding ground for bacteria

Physicians’ fear of infection is on the rise, spurred by the increasing use of mobile technology at the bedside, according to a new study by Spyglass Consulting Group. Healthcare Without Bounds: Point of Care Computing for Physicians discusses existing workflow inefficiencies in accessing clinical information, current usage models for computing devices and solutions, and barriers for widespread adoption.

Of the 100 physicians interviewed by Spyglass, 65 said they were worried about the threat of infection from the use of computing devices at the point of care. When Spyglass conducted a similar study in January 2005, 25 percent of the 102 physicians interviewed said they were concerned about the infection risks associated with mobile technology. Spyglass founder and managing director Gregg Malkary figures the increased concern is directly related to the increased use of devices. Steven J. Davidson, MD, chairman of emergency medicine at Maimonides Medical Center in Brooklyn, New York, says hand washing is the key to preventing infection. “I do think that mobile devices may serve as fomites (carriers of infectious organisms) and that in general these devices are not easily cleaned,” Davidson said.

“It is a reasonable concern to recognize this and hence with that awareness for clinicians who use mobile devices to understand that they must disinfect their hands before and after using their personal mobile devices.” He said Maimonides does not have a policy regarding the maintenance of personal mobile devices since because the organization does not envision personal mobile devices being used in patient care. As for keyboards, they are cleaned regularly, he said. “I watched several on one counter being done in my ED just yesterday morning.”“Anecdotally,” says, Malkary, “many organizations don’t have policies.

Nobody wants to take responsibility for cleaning these devices.”Add to this the new Medicare rules that would withhold payments to hospitals for the costs of treating certain “conditions that could reasonably have been prevented,” and the concern over infections rise. Some industry insiders say the new rules could prompt hospitals to conduct more patient tests at admission to determine whether the patient is infection free.

Spyglass conducted the telephone interviews over a four-month period beginning April 2007.

Key findings include:
  • • Physicians were concerned point-of-care computing devices may interfere with the physician/patient relationship.
  • • Physicians are increasingly using clinical systems at point of care to access patient information, use productivity tools, and browse the Internet for healthcare related issues.
  • • Physicians believe the right point-of-care computing device is dependent upon a physician’s physical location, urgency of the situation, tasks to be performed, complexity of the applications required and most importantly, the physician’s personal preferences.
  • • Fewer than 14 percent of physicians interviewed were using Smartphones to access single function clinical applications to manage patient data, prescribe medications electronically and capture patient billing charges.

Physicians preferred to use a full size terminal and keyboard to access clinical information systems at point of care.

Source : Healthcare IT News

Thursday, October 11, 2007

There must something in clooney's records........

More than two dozen hospital staffers have been suspended for four weeks after allegedly peeking at George Clooney's confidential medical information after he was hurt in a motorcycle accident last month.

Clooney, 46, suffered a broken rib and scrapes in the Sept. 21 crash, while his passenger, Sarah Larson, 28, injured her foot. Both were treated at Palisades Medical Center in North Bergen.
No physicians employed by the hospital were among the 27 employees suspended, said Eurice Rojas, the hospital's vice president of external affairs, Wednesday.
The investigation was initiated after an audit revealed that employees had looked at the records without authorization, Rojas said. The suspensions began last week and continued this week, he said.

"We conduct audits on a regular basis to make sure our systems are protecting individuals' rights," Rojas said. "We conducted an audit immediately with respect to this situation and that resulted in (the investigation)."

"This is the first I've heard of it," Clooney said in a statement Tuesday. "And while I very much believe in a patient's right to privacy, I would hope that this could be settled without suspending medical workers."

A spokeswoman for the union representing some of the workers said as many as seven of the employees may have been authorized to view the records.

"While we believe that individuals need to be held accountable if they violated patient privacy, we also believe that the hospital had a responsibility to establish proper systems to protect patient privacy," Jeanne Otersen, a spokeswoman for the Health Professionals and Allied Employees union, said in a statement.

"The hospital instead rushed to judgment and imposed harsh economic penalties, instead of working to prevent future breaches of security," Otersen said.

Federal law mandates that only direct caregivers — including doctors, nurses, technicians and support staff involved in a patient's care — see such information.

"Our commitment is to always conduct our behavior in the highest possible standards and any conduct that violates the trust of our patients and the high standards we set is taken very seriously and treated in a very serious manner," the hospital said in a statement Wednesday.
Clooney and Larson were injured when the actor's motorcycle and a car collided on a narrow road in Weehawken, across the Hudson River from New York City.

Source : Yahoo News.

More patients turn to Internet for healthcare answers,

A report released yesterday by the Pew Internet and American Life Project found that of the 34 million adults living with disabilities or chronic diseases, about half go online to find helpful information regarding their condition.

Once online, 86 percent of these e-patients say they have searched for information on an average of 17 health topics. Of those surveyed with no chronic conditions, 79 percent reported searching on the same topics, the study found.

According to the study, use of the Internet by chronically ill Americans has grown over the past four years. Though those with chronic conditions are less likely to use the Internet, once online they are nearly as engaged as the general Internet population.

The patients with chronic conditions use the Internet to search for information on treatment decisions how to cope with pain and other topics, the study said. The downside is that most e-patients with chronic conditions do not consistently check the source and date of the health information they find online.

It appears that the patients with chronic conditions search for answers to their healthcare questions in hopes of coaching their doctors on possible methods of care.

"Doctors are always in a hurry," said one e-patient who participated in the study. "By researching online I can find information that fills in gaps in my knowledge, and allows me to ask better questions of the doctor. I also find out information that the doctor hasn’t shared with me, but it is important for me to understand my disease."

A study released last October by the Pew Research Center found that 10 million Americans use the Internet on a daily basis to learn about health, placing health searches at about the same level of popularity as paying bills online, reading blogs, or using the internet to look up a phone number or address.

Source: Healthcare IT News

Friday, October 5, 2007

Microsoft's New Online Tools Face Obstacles, Competition

Microsoft on Thursday joined a crowded field of technology and insurance companies offering personal health records, raising questions about whether consumers will use the new product, the Los Angeles Times reports.

Large health insurers -- like UnitedHealth, which operates PacifiCare and WellPoint -- have offered Web-based PHRs for a couple of years and believe they have an advantage over outside vendors, such as Microsoft, because they can preload each enrollee's PHR with claims information (Girion, Los Angeles Times, 10/5).

Microsoft hopes that individuals will grant physicians, clinics and hospitals the right to transmit prescriptions, test results and other medical information directly to their HealthVault account (iHealthBeat, 10/4). However, providers have little incentive to share the data or resources to populate an electronic record, the Wall Street Journal reports.

Philips to pay $110M for home cardiac monitoring company

Royal Philips Electronics is extending its cardiac care services into the home.
The Amsterdam, Netherlands-based company announced Thursday it is acquiring Raytel Cardiac Services, a Windsor, Conn. -based supplier of home cardiac monitoring services, and other ancillary operations from Israeli-based SHL Telemedicine, Ltd. for approximately $110 million in cash.

“Heart disease is the number one killer in the West. So Philips has invested heavily over the years to become the top supplier to hospitals of medical equipment for managing heart disease,” said Ron Feinstein, CEO of Philips’ Home Healthcare Solutions business group. “Patients are living longer and healthcare costs are rising, so we’re looking for innovative and effective ways to support both patients and the healthcare system.”

“Raytel can help us extend the cardiac care cycle into the home,” Feinstein continued, “which is where patients prefer to stay, and where we see opportunities for addressing healthcare costs as well as quality of life issues.”

Raytel Cardiac Services, a division of the Raytel Medical Corporation, keeps track of its home cardiac monitors through monitoring centers, where trained technicians analyze incoming patient data and provide real-time patient information to prescribing physicians.
Philips officials say they hope to boost Raytel’s business by capitalizing on the company’s existing relationships with 15,000 referring physicians and cardiologists serving more than 200,000 patients annually.

Philips, which serves approximately 750,000 customers through its Lifeline products and services, aims to introduce Raytel clients to Lifeline as well as the company’s in-house line of remote patient monitoring products and services. In addition, the company hopes to develop home-based monitoring products and services to address congestive heart failure.

The activities being acquired by Philips are expected to have 2007 sales of approximately $55 million. Subject to regulatory approval, the deal is expected to close in the fourth quarter of 2007, at which time Raytel will become a part of Philips Home Healthcare Solutions.

Source: Healthcare IT News

Thursday, October 4, 2007

Microsoft launches HealthVault

Microsoft today launched a new technology platform it bills as the answer to how consumers can best get a handle on their healthcare information – and share it. Called Microsoft HealthVault, the technology not only has the support of healthcare providers, patient activists and device manufacturers, it also passes muster with one of the industry’s toughest privacy rights advocate Deborah Peel, MD, founder of the Patient Privacy Rights Foundation, one of 50 organizations that comprise the Coalition for Patient Privacy.

The company also unveiled a new search engine called Microsoft HealthVault Search. The promise of HealthVault is that it will bring the health and technology industries together to create new applications, services and connected devices, said Peter Neupert, corporate vice president of Microsoft’s Health Solutions Group. People will be empowered to monitor anything from weight loss to diabetes, he said.

“People are concerned to find themselves at the center of the healthcare ecosystem today,” Neupert said, because they must navigate a complex web of disconnected interactions between providers, hospitals, insurance companies and even government agencies, Neupert said. “Our focus is simple: to empower people to lead healthy lives.”He said the launch of HealthVault makes it possible for people to collect their private health information on their terms. Also, companies across the healthcare industry will be able to develop compatible tools and services built on the HealthVault platform. Addressing concerns over privacy and security was critical to development and launch of HealthVault, Microsoft executives said. Peel said Microsoft is leading the way for the rest of the industry. “Their model is that consumers truly should control the information and that’s the direction they want to take as a company,” said Peel. “We really think that because they are the industry leader that the rest of industry will have to follow or be left behind.”

“Microsoft has agreed to adhere to all of the privacy principles that the coalition developed in 2007.” Peel said. “Not only adhere to them in terms of contracts but to be audited on these principles. We think they’re setting a new amazingly high bar and frankly, we think what they’re doing is really the best practice that entire industry needs to follow.”A Who’s Who of healthcare IT industry leaders seemed to have joined Microsoft for the hoopla in the nation’s capital. Microsoft announced 40 partners for HealthVault. Among them are the American Heart Association, Johnson & Johnson, Polar, maker of heart rate monitors, MedStar Health, a healthcare system that serves the Baltimore and Washington region, and Chicago-based Allscripts, developer of electronic health records. Allscripts will be first to connect with HealthVault with its eRx Now, the Web-based electronic prescribing solution offered at no cost to physicians across the country as part of the National ePrescribing Patient Initiative, or NEPSI.

HealthVault lets patients of eRx NOW physician users receive an electronic copy of their medication history, conditions, and allergies, which they can then transfer to their own personal health record or other HealthVault-enabled consumer health application. Frank Opelka, MD, CEO of LSU Healthcare Network in New Orleans, said HealthVault was one more reason why doctors “should run, not walk to embrace electronic prescribing through NEPSI and, on a broader scale, electronic health records.”“What we are really talking about is connecting healthcare,” said Tullman. “It’s not enough to have good software, it’s got to be connected.”

Source: HealthcareItNews

Wednesday, October 3, 2007

Well this something comfortable to fly in....

Off EHR news but can't resist to put...its intersting......

Even though the Aeroscraft dwarfs the largest commercial airliners, it requires less net space on the ground than any plane because it doesn't need a runway. The airship takes off and lands like a helicopter: straight up and down. The Flying Luxury HotelTomorrow's cruise ship will sail through the air, not the waterBy Joshua Tompkins

LIFTOFF!On a pressurized plane, windows like these would explode outward . The Aeroscraft does not fly high enough to need pressurization.

This is not a Blimp. It's a sort of flying Queen Mary 2 that could change the way you think about air travel. It's the Aeroscraft, and when it's completed, it will ferry pampered passengers across continents and oceans as they stroll leisurely about the one-acre cabin or relax in their well-appointed staterooms.

Unlike its dirigible ancestors, the Aeroscraft is not lighter than air. Its 14 million cubic feet of helium hoist only two thirds of the craft's weight. The rigid and surprisingly aerodynamic body—driven by huge rearward propellers—generates enough additional lift to keep the behemoth and its 400-ton payload aloft while cruising. During takeoff and landing, six turbofan jet engines push the ship up or ease its descent.

This two-football-fields-long concept airship is the brainchild of Igor Pasternak, whose privately-funded California firm, Worldwide Aeros Corporation, is in the early stages of developing a prototype and expects to have one completed by 2010. Pasternak says several cruise ship companies have expressed interest in the project, and for good reason: The craft would have a range of several thousand miles and, with an estimated top speed of 174 mph, could traverse the continental U.S. in about 18 hours. During the flight, passengers would peer at national landmarks just 8,000 feet below or, if they weren't captivated by the view, the cavernous interior would easily accommodate such amenities as luxury staterooms, restaurants, even a casino.

To minimize noise, the aft-mounted propellers will be electric, powered by a renewable source such as hydrogen fuel cells. A sophisticated buoyancy-management system will serve the same purpose as trim on an airplane, allowing for precise adjustments in flight dynamics to compensate for outside conditions and passenger movement.

The automated system will draw outside air into compartments throughout the ship and compress it to manage onboard weight.

The company envisions a cargo-carrying version that could deliver a store's worth of merchandise from a centralized distribution center straight to a Wal-Mart parking lot or, because the helium-filled craft will float, a year's worth of supplies to an offshore oil rig. "You can land on the snow, you can land on the water," Pasternak says. "It's a new vision of what can be done in the air."


Long-range travel for passengers who are more concerned with the journey than the destination

Dimensions (feet): 165 h x 244 w x 647 l
Max Speed: 174 mph
Range: 6,000 miles
Capacity: 250 passengers

Tuesday, October 2, 2007

So much for standardization :Study pokes holes in NPI data

A recent study of standardized provider identification numbers released by the federal government calls into question the accuracy of the data associated with those numbers. Some 19.7 percent of the business addresses associated with National Provider Identifiers are invalid because physicians have moved, retired or are deceased, according to a recent audit by SK&A Information Services.

SK&A is an Irvine, Calif. -based company that sells a product that provides telephone-verified NPI numbers. It conducted a phone survey of nearly 7,000 providers to assess the accuracy of the numbers, said Mike Green, vice president of products and research for the company. Each provider in the country is expected to have an NPI that will serve as a unique identifier, replacing legacy provider numbers that payer organizations have assigned to providers. NPIs eventually will be required on all claims forms. Nearly 1.8 million NPIs have been issued, SK&A contends. .

The company contends that NPI data is as much as 28 months old, because the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services began issued standardized NPIs in May 2005. Its research also shows that 68 percent of the NPI numbers were assigned more than eight months ago. SK&A contends that the average age of an NPI is 13.2 months. The government originally had set May 23 for when it would require NPI use on claims forms, but in April developed a contingency plan to delay implementation of NPIs as long as one year. NPIs were supposed to be available from the federal government in mid-summer, but the government delayed release of NPIs until September to give providers time to correct information associated with their NPIs. NPI and associated data is critical to the industry; optional data fields associated with the NPI contain legacy provider identification numbers, which payers can use to link existing data in their information systems with the new NPIs.

SK&A is continuing its study of NPI data released by the government to see if other anomolies show up, said Jack Schember, the company’s director of marketing. “This study on NPI data quality highlights the challenges that healthcare payers and marketers will face when trying to accurately match or link their provider legacy information to the new federally mandated NPI number,” said Dave Escalante, President and COO of SK&A Information Services Inc.

source: Healthcare IT News

InfoLogix buys systems integrator Healthcare Informatics Associates

HATBORO, PA - InfoLogix, which provides mobile enterprise technology for the healthcare and commercial industries, has acquired Healthcare Informatics Associates, a privately held management and consulting firm and systems integrator. The companies did not reveal the terms of the acquisition deal.

InfoLogix began to trade on the Nasdaq under the symbol IFLG on Sept. 24. Today’s stock price range was $3.62-$3.75. HIA is privately held. The acquisition of Seattle-based HIA cements InfoLogix’s position as a ‘single source’ provider for healthcare mobility technology, according to InfoLogix executives. Analysts forecast the market for healthcare consulting will exceed $30 billion by 2010. HIA will operate within the InfoLogix organization as the company’s healthcare consulting and systems integration service line. Mary Ann Bartley, HIA founder and executive vice president, will be joining InfoLogix as executive vice president of Healthcare Consulting Services. Gerry Bartley, president and CEO of HIA, will be joining InfoLogix as executive vice president and managing director of Healthcare Consulting Services. “We are very excited to be joining InfoLogix and see great synergies between our companies because of our outstanding consultants, our mutual premier clients and InfoLogix’s cutting edge solutions for the healthcare market,” said Bartley.

InfoLogix’s customer base now includes more than 20 percent of all hospitals in the United States, according to the company. “More than 1,400 hospitals rely on InfoLogix as their enterprise mobility partner, and we believe the addition of HIA will enable us to expand the strategic value of our current and future customer relationships,” said David Gulian, president and CEO of InfoLogix. “InfoLogix’s expertise in healthcare mobility solutions, together with HIA’s combination of IT and clinical experience, provides us with exceptional depth to directly address the core business issues of hospitals across North America as a premier management consultant and systems integrator.”

source: Healthcare IT News