HealthLeaders Media IT - April 1, 2008 | Introducing the Fool-Proof Computer
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Introducing the Fool-Proof Computer
Gary Baldwin, Technology Editor

Ha! I got you with an April Fools' headline, now, didn't I? I just couldn't resist an age-old media tradition and use today as the basis for some outlandish humor. Even some otherwise serious publications get in on the act. Do you recall Sidd Finch, the pitcher who could throw a 168-mile-per-hour fastball? Sports Illustrated parlayed Finch into a national sensation in the 1980s. And some decades earlier, the stodgy New York Times ran a photo of a man flying by his own lung power. [Read More]
April 1, 2008
Editor's Picks
Stolen government laptop held patient data
A government laptop computer containing sensitive medical information on 2,500 patients enrolled in a National Institutes of Health study was stolen in February, potentially exposing seven years worth of clinical trial data, including names, medical diagnoses and details of the patients' heart scans. The information was not encrypted, in violation of the government's data-security policy. Meanwhile, a health plan reveals how it exposed patient data for several weeks. In this case, the breach was an open invitation for identity theft, as names, addresses and Social Security numbers were inadvertently revealed. My column last week identified some recent efforts that weaken privacy requirements. These stories demonstrate how the privacy issue is not to be taken lightly. It just makes me wonder, what was all this critical data doing on a laptop in the first place? And to what extent is the Social Security number serving as the universal patient identifier? [Read More]

Drug updates via e-mail: Just what the doctor ordered
The nonprofit iHealth Alliance is launching an online network that will e-mail alerts to doctors about safety concerns surrounding prescription drugs, notices from pharmaceutical companies about warnings and label changes. The alerts will be focused by specialty, and will be limited almost exclusively to alerts that drug makers send out in what are often known as "Dear Doctor" letters: significant drug-label changes, warnings and recalls. To avoid inbox overload, the service will group messages by specialty. That feature, I'm sure, will play out favorably among physicians. [Read More]

Nevada medical board may add details to doctors' records on Web
After a hepatitis C outbreak at the Endoscopy Center of Southern Nevada, the Nevada Board of Medical Examiners will again consider a plan to add more information about doctors' records on its Web site. In 2004, the board pledged to revamp its Web site to give the public more information about doctors. But a year later, the board removed malpractice settlement and judgment information from doctors' online records and voted against other recommendations for improving the site. We're seeing a national trend in which more and more quality information is being posted online. As long as the information is accurate, I think this is a step in the right direction (see story below on Angie's List). The only problem with posting malpractice settlements, however, is that patients may not always understand the dynamics of how the industry works. Some physicians settle, even when they think they are right. "Objective" data on such a contentious area as medical malpractice is hard to come by. [Read More]

Angie's List will rate healthcare industry
Everyone, it seems, is getting into the quality ratings game these days. [Read More]
Tech Headlines
Japan tests cell phone as healthcare tool
Computerworld - March 31, 2008

Netherlands firm implements Algerian e-health program
Hospital Information Technology Europe - March 31, 2008

San Francisco General foundation wins grant for computer upgrades
San Francisco Business Times - March 31, 2008
Events & Product News
National health records network to hook up with Google, Microsoft

Telemedicine event slated
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From HealthLeaders Magazine
HealthLeaders March 2008Your Hospital, the Entrepreneur
Forget those fixed-income investments. Many organizations are funding early-stage healthcare ventures that can yield not only healthy financial returns, but also improved efficiencies and better quality care. [Read More]
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