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Wednesday, April 15, 2009

Cold-Activated Brown Fat (Brown Adipose Tissue) in Healthy Men Burns Calories!

Another good reason for living near San Francisco, which always seem to keep us in the cold. If that is not enough, we can always go to Alaska, I have a friend in Barrow!
Why all these praise of the cold climes? According to three preliminary studies published Wednesday in the New England Journal of Medicine, Cold could activate these brown fat to burn and keep us lean and mean fighting machines that we are supposed to be! But again the research shows it is easier for healthy men to loose weight!

The preliminary studies included 24 healthy men;
10 who were lean (body-mass index [BMI] [the weight in kilograms divided by the square of the height in meters], <25).
14 who were overweight or obese (BMI, =25)
Under thermoneutral conditions (22°C) and during mild cold exposure (16°C). Putative brown-adipose-tissue activity was determined with the use of integrated 18F-fluorodeoxyglucose positron-emission tomography and computed tomography.
Body composition and energy expenditure were measured with the use of dual-energy x-ray absorptiometry and indirect calorimetry.
Results Brown-adipose-tissue activity was observed in 23 of the 24 subjects (96%) during cold exposure but not under thermoneutral conditions. The activity was significantly lower in the overweight or obese subjects than in the lean subjects (P=0.007). BMI and percentage of body fat both had significant negative correlations with brown adipose tissue, whereas resting metabolic rate had a significant positive correlation.

The researchers concluded that the percentage of young men with brown adipose tissue is higher than previously thought, but its activity is lower in men who are overweight or obese. Brown adipose tissue could be metabolically important in men, and may make it a target for the treatment of obesity.
New England Journal of Medicine

Monday, April 13, 2009

Aurora Health Care To Twitter Live Surgery

Aurora Health Care will be the first Wisconsin hospital to broadcast a live surgery via Twitter on 4/16/09 starting at 8AM.
You can get more info at Aurora Health care and follow them on twitter

Thursday, April 09, 2009

Federal Government Takes Health Care Open Source With Connect Project

Connect Community Portal News Release regarding the Connect project that we reported earlier. Like most of the health care, management and implementation software has been very proprietary and closed source. The open source nature will aid in bringing the various sources together and easier to comply with standards in health care.
Following is the news relase in its entiety ;

Federal Health Architecture Delivers Free, Scalable Solution Helping Organizations Tie Health IT Systems into the NHIN

The Federal Health Architecture is making software available as a first step to help public and private health information technology systems communicate to the Nationwide Health Information Network (NHIN), a federal initiative to facilitate the electronic exchange of health information. The Federal Health Architecture, an E-Gov initiative led by the Office of the National Coordinator for Health Information Technology (ONC), is making this free software, called CONNECT, and supporting documentation available at [www.connectopensource.org].

The ONC has facilitated development of the NHIN, which will tie together health information exchanges, integrated delivery networks, pharmacies, government health facilities and payors, labs, providers, private payors and other stakeholders into a "network of networks." The NHIN provides a mechanism for previously disconnected systems and exchanges to connect to each other and share data. The NHIN uses interoperability standards recognized by the Secretary of Health and Human Services, as well as public and private sector specifications, participation agreements and policies. To enable health information exchanges over the NHIN, the ONC is working to develop the necessary governance processes and legal framework for participation in the network.

"This software will strengthen our health systems' ability to share data electronically and provide a wide range of benefits to citizens," said Robert Kolodner, M.D., National Coordinator for Health Information Technology. "Benefits include up-to-date records available at the point of care; enhanced population health screening; and being able to collect case research faster to facilitate disability claims, as demonstrated by transfers of information already underway between the Social Security Administration and MedVirginia, a regional health information organization."

The CONNECT software is the outcome of a 2008 decision by more than 20 federal agencies to connect their health IT systems to the NHIN. Rather than individually building software required to make this possible, the federal agencies, through the Federal Health Architecture, created CONNECT. This shared software solution can be used by each agency within its own environment. CONNECT implements the core services defined by the NHIN including standards for security to protect health information when it is exchanged with other trusted health organizations.

The agencies built CONNECT using open source components, and will make it available under an open source license in order to encourage innovation and to keep costs low. CONNECT will be available to the entire health care industry, which is expected to speed NHIN adoption among health care organizations.

"Federal agencies accomplished something remarkable in developing CONNECT. They looked beyond their individual needs to the needs of the group as a whole, and they collectively built a solution that provides benefit to all involved much faster and at a significantly reduced cost than if they had worked independently," said Dr. Kolodner. "Not only did the agencies deliver a valuable product for use in the federal government, CONNECT is now an option for any public or private sector organization that wants to use the solution in the future to tie into the Nationwide Health Information Network when it goes into full production."

The Department of Defense, the Department of Veterans Affairs, the Social Security Administration (SSA), the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, the Indian Health Service, and the National Cancer Institute have tested and demonstrated CONNECT's ability to share data among one another and with private sector organizations. In February 2009, the CONNECT software gateway was used for the first time in a limited production environment when the SSA began receiving live patient data from MedVirginia through the NHIN.

"Delivering CONNECT has been an enormous project, and we still have a lot of work to do to move us to large-scale production usage. But with the support of the federal agencies and industry, we can accomplish the lofty health IT goals set at the national level," commented the Federal Health Architecture's program director Vish Sankaran.

Private and public sector organizations can download CONNECT and use it for their connectivity needs. As with other open source solutions, organizations are encouraged to modify and expand the capabilities of the software. Although the download is free, an organization opting to use the solution should be aware it will be responsible for costs associated with its implementation and maintenance within its own environment.
More information about HHS health information technology activities is available at http://www.hhs.gov/healthit.

URL: http://www.hhs.gov/news/press/2009pres/04/20090406a.html

Wednesday, April 08, 2009

Drop Your Belly Fat In Four Ways And Be A Pear Shaped Woman

If you want to be a pear shaped woman, (small waist, big hips and thighs) which is generally regarded as healthier then I got some pointers for you. USA News, On Women column has a nice and simple article giving you information how to be a pear shaped woman.
With pointers to various data sources and studies, you are told to;
1. Exercise.
2. Be a mindful eater.
3. Get adequate amounts of sleep.
4. Reduce stress.
So follow the link below to get more information and simple instruction as to how to follow the above for directives.
On Women

Monday, April 06, 2009

Google Health Rx network Adds CVS/pharmacy To The List

Google CVS Partnership
Google Pharmacy partners network has now added CVS/pharmacy as a partner, providing capability for more than 100 million members to access their prescription history online and import it into their Google Health Account.
CVS is not the only pharmacy that is working with Google Rx Network, Walgreens, Longs Drugs, CVS /Caremark, Meijer, Drugfair, RX America, Medco and Rx.com are also partners. This network will help to improve patient safety, reduce medical errors, and increase efficiencies in health care. This network allows everyone to have a list of all their medications in one place, Google Health Network, from all the pharmacies you shop and your doctor, pharmacist and other care providers will be able to see the list and avoid costly medical and medicine mistakes.
Follow the link for more information and instructions as how to get your prescription records online securely. Google Health is marching forward to make and keep all of us healthy, easier.

Official Google Blog: CVS joins Google Health Rx network: millions can access medication records online

Thursday, April 02, 2009

The ICD-10 Transition: Valuable Lessons Learned by Early Converts

ICD-10 At HIMMS Conference;
Healthcare providers embarking on ICD-10 conversion can benefit from lessons learned by early adopters. Gain perspective from a leading expert on ICD-10 and one of the largest US healthcare organizations.


  • Review the premise of ICD-10
  • Describe the intricacies of related legislation
  • Discuss requirements of distinct implementation phases
  • Illustrate the impact assessment process
Press Release;

CHICAGO (April 5, 2009) – As an expert on ICD-10 issues, Dr. Joe Nicholson, Chief Medical Officer for Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Oklahoma (BCBSOK) is set to present at the 2009 HIMSS conference on Sunday, April 5, 2009. Dr. Nicholson will explain how he has helped the country’s fourth largest health insurer, Health Care Service Corporation, prepare for the massive overhaul in diagnosis coding, billing and claims at its BCBSOK plan as well as its Blue Cross and Blue Shield plans in Illinois, New Mexico and Texas.

Nicholson will be accompanied by Mark Williams, director of client services for PricewaterhouseCoopers. The two speakers will provide background information on ICD-9 and update conference attendees on the controversy surrounding the adoption of ICD-10. In addition, they will discuss the benefits of a transition and the challenges for providers, payers, pharma companies and others.

WHO: Dr. Joe Nicholson, CMO for Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Oklahoma
Mark Williams, Director of Client Services for PricewaterhouseCoopers.
WHAT: “The ICD-10 Transition: Valuable Lessons Learned by Early Converts”
WHEN: 9:45am-10:45am
WHERE: HIMSS Conference (April 5, 2009) Chicago, IL (www.himssconference.org)
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HIPAA Security Compliance Remains Low Among Health Care Providers.

The deadline for compliance with the HIPAA Security Rule came and went more than a year ago, Only certain percentage have been implemented in practice. Of all the payers responded to the U.S. Healthcare Industry HIPAA Summer 2006 Survey, only 80% have implemented the security standards. But the providers were even less and only 56% have implemented the requrements. Even among the respondents claiming full compliance with the Security Rule, were at lost when questioned about if whether they had implemented key security standards.
"Our findings from the summer 2006, and the previous HIPAA surveys, have provided strategic insight into both the benefits and challenges of compliance," said Lisa Gallagher, HIMSS director of privacy and security. "Many of the HIPAA-required standards have been met, but this recent research identified what respondents consider as the 'red flags' of compliance -- especially in the Security and Privacy Rules."
You can read the complete article at Advance, a leading national health information magazine
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Elsevier's Article 2.0 Contest Winners Announced.

Elsevier, a leading global healthcare and scientific publisher, has announced the winners in the Elsevier Article 2.0 Contest ( http://www.article20.elsevier.com), a competition challenging individuals to develop creative and useful solutions for rendering journal articles on the web. The contest attracted interest from contestants across the globe with submissions including web, mobile and desktop applications. The panel of seven distinguished judges, drawn from academia, publishing, policymaking and media, considered how each application improved on the existing online presentation of research articles. Special attention was paid to contestants' ability to 'think outside of the box' as well as ease of use and the overall quality of the application.

The $4,000 first prize was awarded to Inigo Surguy whose idea demonstrated how Web 1.0, Web 2.0 and Web 3.0/Semantic Web approaches can be combined to add value to article content. His application enhances content navigation, facilitating commentary on specific paragraphs, and assertions about the article and its contents.

The $2,000 second prize was awarded to Jacek R. Ambroziak. His mobile application enables reading Elsevier articles on an Android Smartphone. Stuart Chalk, the $1000 third prize winner, submitted an idea operating on the premise that research articles are inherently non-linear and that researchers view articles in a random fashion, depending on their interests.

"It is exciting to see the article beginning to emerge as a real digital artefact, using XML to create more than just an enhancement of the print version, and addressing the problems of different digital distribution channels like mobile for the first time," remarked David R. Worlock, Chief Research Fellow, Outsell Inc., and one of the seven Article 2.0 Contest Judges, " But these are just the first steps in what will ultimately be a complete redesign of scholarly communication in the networks."

The panel of Article 2.0 judges also included: Alan Darnell, Manager of the Scholars Portal Project; Dave Kellogg, Chief Executive Officer of MarkLogic; Dr. Donald Lindberg, Director of the National Library of Medicine; Jill O'Neil, Director, Planning and Communication, National Federation of Abstracting and Information Services; Andrew Perry, Postdoctoral Researcher of the University of Melbourne; and Rafael Sidi, Vice President of Product Management, ScienceDirect, Elsevier.

"The Article 2.0 Contest has been another opportunity for Elsevier to collaborate with researchers and developers by providing the building blocks to achieve innovative outcomes", said Darin McBeath, Director of Disruptive Technologies, based in Cincinnati, Ohio.

This initiative reflects Elsevier's goal of getting closer to customers and delivering innovative online tools to increase productivity. Another key innovation contest, The Elsevier Grand Challenge: Knowledge Enhancement in the Life Sciences (http://www.elseviergrandchallenge.com) will be announcing its Grand prize winners from among four finalists at the Experimental Biology Meeting (http://www.eb2009.org) on April 21st. These winners promise new ways of enhancing deep value in scientific content. Over the course of the past year, the Grand Challenge has invited members of the scientific community to describe and prototype tools to improve the interpretation and identification of meaning in online journals and text databases relating to the life sciences.

About Elsevier

Elsevier is a world-leading publisher of scientific, technical and medical information products and services. Working in partnership with the global science and health communities, Elsevier's 7,000 employees in over 70 offices worldwide publish more than 2,000 journals and 1,900 new books per year, in addition to offering a suite of innovative electronic products, such as ScienceDirect (http://www.sciencedirect.com/), MD Consult ( http://www.mdconsult.com/), Scopus (http://www.info.scopus.com/), bibliographic databases, and online reference works.

Elsevier (http://www.elsevier.com/) is a global business headquartered in Amsterdam, The Netherlands and has offices worldwide. Elsevier is part of Reed Elsevier Group plc (http://www.reedelsevier.com/), a world-leading publisher and information provider. Operating in the science and medical, legal, education and business-to-business sectors, Reed Elsevier provides high-quality and flexible information solutions to users, with increasing emphasis on the Internet as a means of delivery. Reed Elsevier's ticker symbols are REN (Euronext Amsterdam), REL (London Stock Exchange), RUK and ENL (New York Stock Exchange).

Harvard Pilgrim Health Care Improve Provider Access Using CORE, Committee on Operating Rules for Information Exchange® Phase I and Phase II rules.

Washington, D.C. (April 2, 2009) − CAQH announced today that Harvard Pilgrim Health Care, Inc. (Harvard Pilgrim), a health plan serving one million members throughout New England, completed the testing process certifying its systems can exchange administrative data according to its Committee on Operating Rules for Information Exchange® (CORE) Phase I and Phase II rules.

By implementing both phases of CORE rules, 28,000 Harvard Pilgrim providers now have access to a significantly expanded set of consistent patient administrative information in response to electronic inquiries – data critical to initiating and completing the healthcare payment cycle.

“Implementing CORE allows us to further Harvard Pilgrim’s commitment to administrative simplification and better meet the administrative data needs of our network providers. This while advancing industry interoperability through the connectivity rules developed by the initiative,” said John Kelly, Director for eBusiness Architecture. “Harvard Pilgrim believes that CORE is an essential tool for improving electronic data exchange. In particular, the connectivity rules will open the door to broad-based, B2B integration of the Provider-Payer process community. We encourage other health plans to become certified to use the rules.”

The first organization to become CORE Phase II-certified, Harvard Pilgrim completed testing for both sets of rules during a single integrated process – also a first for the initiative. The health plan joins Aetna, Aultcare, Blue Cross and Blue Shield of North Carolina, BlueCross BlueShield of Tennessee, Health Net, WellPoint and nearly 30 other organizations that are CORE Phase I-certified. CORE-certified health plans cover more than 70 million or one-third of U.S. commercially insured lives.

CAQH launched CORE to create an all-payer solution that enables provider access to patient coverage information before or at the time of service using the electronic system of their choice. The organization has brought together more than 100 industry stakeholders to collaborate on a multi-phase set of uniform business rules to achieve that goal. To date, CORE has created and promulgated two phases of rules.

The CORE Phase I and II rules cover the exchange of data on patient eligibility and benefits, patient financial liability for service types, patient deductibles/co-pays, patient accumulators, claims status, and patient identification information. The rules, which complement Federal health IT efforts, also provide specific requirements for electronic connectivity. Both the data content and connectivity rules have been recognized by the government-funded Healthcare Information Technology Standards Panel (HITSP) for use in national interoperability standards.

Moreover, in anticipation of the industry responding to a federal regulatory move from HIPAA Version 4010 to Version 5010, the CORE Phase I and Phase II rules incorporate many of the features found in the X12 5010 TR3s to address the common information needs for patient eligibility.

More than 30 organizations are committed to Phase II certification by the end of 2009 or the first quarter of 2010.

CORE participants have begun the process to develop Phase III rules, which focus on improving the electronic exchange of additional administrative transactions, such as prior authorization and remittance advice.

About CAQH
CAQH, a nonprofit alliance of health plans and trade associations, serves as a catalyst for healthcare industry collaboration on initiatives that simplify and streamline healthcare administration. CAQH solutions help promote quality interactions between plans, providers and other stakeholders, reduce costs and frustrations associated with healthcare administration, facilitate administrative healthcare information exchange and encourage administrative and clinical data integration. Visit www.caqh.org for more information.

About Harvard Pilgrim Health Care
Harvard Pilgrim is a not-for-profit health plan that provides a variety of health benefit options and funding arrangements to more than one million members in Massachusetts, Maine and New Hampshire. According to a joint ranking by U.S.News & World Report and the National Committee for Quality Assurance (NCQA), Harvard Pilgrim is a top commercial health plan in America, for the fourth consecutive year. Health Plans, Inc., a Harvard Pilgrim subsidiary offers employers health, dental and short-term disability benefits through self-insured plans in Maine, Massachusetts and New Hampshire. For more information, please visit www.harvardpilgrim.org.

# # #

Chris McNamara
(202) 778-3271

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Pfizer Inc halts Sutent Drug Study With Advanced Breast Cancer Patients.

NEW YORK--(BUSINESS WIRE)--Pfizer Inc today announced the discontinuation of one of its Phase 3 studies based on statistical assessment for futility: the SUN 1107 Phase 3 study of Sutent® (sunitinib malate) in advanced breast cancer. SUN 1107 evaluated single-agent sunitinib versus single-agent capecitabine for the treatment of a broad range of patients with advanced breast cancer after failure of standard treatment. An independent Data Monitoring Committee (DMC) found that even if the trial had been allowed to continue, treatment with single-agent sunitinib would be unable to demonstrate a statistically significant improvement in the primary endpoint of progression-free survival (PFS) compared to single-agent capecitabine in the study population. Data from this trial are currently being analyzed.

“We are disappointed with these results given the previous findings that suggested sunitinib may provide benefit for patients with this difficult-to-treat cancer,” said Dr. Mace Rothenberg, senior vice president of Clinical Development and Medical Affairs for Pfizer’s Oncology Business Unit. “In ongoing studies, we remain committed to evaluating sunitinib in advanced breast cancer and are continuing to study sunitinib in different populations and with different regimens.”

Pfizer has notified clinical trial investigators involved in the study and regulatory agencies of these findings. The Company encourages investigators to determine the best course of action for their individual patients.

The company is continuing to evaluate sunitinib as a single-agent and in combination with standard-of-care chemotherapy in specific patient populations with advanced breast cancer through three additional Phase 3 and two Phase 2 trials.

Sunitinib is currently approved for both gastrointestinal stromal tumor (GIST) after disease progression on or intolerance to imatinib mesylate, and advanced / metastatic renal cell carcinoma (RCC) based on efficacy and safety data from large, randomized Phase 3 clinical trials. Sunitinib has played an important role in reshaping the treatment landscape for these two difficult-to-treat cancers. To date, more than 58,000 patients globally have been treated with sunitinib in the clinical setting and in clinical trials.

Sunitinib Clinical Research Program

Pfizer Oncology is committed to helping to improve the lives of breast cancer patients and is dedicated to further developing agents for the treatment of patients in the advanced breast cancer setting – a patient population with significant unmet medical needs.

Pfizer is also continuing to study the role of sunitinib in the treatment of various other solid tumors including advanced non-small cell lung cancer, advanced colorectal cancer, advanced hepatocellular carcinoma and advanced hormone-refractory prostate cancer, in Phase 3 trials.

Healthcare professionals who are interested in learning more about sunitinib trials that are open for enrollment can visit the SUN program web site at www.suntrials.com. Patients with questions should contact their treating physician.

About Advanced Breast Cancer

Breast cancer is the most common cancer and the leading cause of cancer-related death among women globally. Compared to early stage breast cancer, effective therapy for advanced breast cancer, which includes inoperable locally advanced and metastatic disease, remains a clinical challenge in the oncology community. Additional treatment options are desperately needed to address this continuing unmet medical need.

About Sutent® (sunitinib malate)

Sutent is an oral multi-kinase inhibitor approved for the treatment of GIST after disease progression on or intolerance to imatinib mesylate and advanced / metastatic RCC.

Sutent works by blocking multiple molecular targets implicated in the growth, proliferation and spread of cancer. Two important Sutent targets, vascular endothelial growth factor receptor (VEGFR) and platelet-derived growth factor receptor (PDGFR), are expressed by many types of solid tumors and are thought to play a crucial role in angiogenesis, the process by which tumors acquire blood vessels, oxygen and nutrients needed for growth. Sutent also inhibits other targets important to tumor growth, including KIT, FLT3 and RET.

Important Sutent® (sunitinib malate) Safety Information

Women of childbearing age who are (or become) pregnant during therapy should be informed of the potential for fetal harm while on Sutent.

Decreases in left ventricular ejection fraction (LVEF) to below the lower limit of normal (LLN) have been observed. Patients with concomitant cardiac conditions should be carefully monitored for clinical signs and symptoms of congestive heart failure.

Patients should be monitored for hypertension and treated as needed with standard antihypertensive therapy. Complete blood counts (CBCs) with platelet count and serum chemistries should be performed at the beginning of each treatment cycle for patients receiving treatment with Sutent.

The most common adverse reactions in GIST and RCC clinical trials were fatigue, asthenia, diarrhea, nausea, mucositis/stomatitis, vomiting, dyspepsia, abdominal pain, constipation, hypertension, rash, hand-foot syndrome, skin discoloration, altered taste, anorexia and bleeding.

For more information on Sutent and Pfizer Oncology, including full prescribing information for Sutent (sunitinib malate), please visit www.pfizer.com.

DISCLOSURE NOTICE: The information contained in this release is as of April 2. Pfizer assumes no obligation to update any forward-looking statements contained in this release as the result of new information or future events or developments.

This release contains forward-looking information about certain potential additional indications for Sutent, including their potential benefits, that involves substantial risks and uncertainties. Such risks and uncertainties include, among other things, the uncertainties inherent in research and development; decisions by regulatory authorities regarding whether and when to approve any supplemental drug applications that may be filed for additional indications for Sutent as well as their decisions regarding labeling and other matters that could affect the availability or commercial potential of any such additional indications; and competitive developments.

A further list and description of risks and uncertainties can be found in Pfizer’s Annual Report on Form 10-K for the fiscal year ended December 31, 2008 and in its reports on Form 10-Q and Form 8-K.


Pfizer Inc
Jack Cox, 212-733-5017
Jennifer Davis, 212-733-0717

Permalink: http://mediaroom.pfizer.com/news/pfizer/20090402005273/en
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INTEL, GE Joins To Develop And Market Innovative Technologies for Independent Living and Chronic Disease Management

FAIRFIELD, Conn. and SANTA CLARA, Calif. April 2, 2009 – GE (NYSE:GE) and Intel Corporation (NASDAQ: INTC) announced today an alliance to market and develop home-based health technologies that will help seniors live independently and patients with chronic conditions manage their care from the comfort of their home or wherever they choose.

GE Healthcare will sell and market the Intel® Health Guide, a care management tool designed for healthcare professionals who manage patients with chronic conditions. With the dramatic increase of people with chronic conditions and an aging population there is a need to extend care from the hospital to the home. GE Healthcare and Intel are helping to address these pressing issues. The market for telehealth and home health monitoring is predicted to grow from $3 billion in 2009 to an estimated $7.7 billion by 20121.

GE Chairman of the Board and CEO Jeff Immelt and Intel President and CEO Paul Otellini announced the alliance today, along with an investment of more than $250 million over the next five years for the research and product development of home-based health technologies. Key elements of the announcement include:

  • Global product research and development alliance: GE Healthcare and Intel will work together, combining their complementary skill sets and extensive research resources to accelerate the innovation and commercialization of next-generation home health technologies. Both companies also plan to expand their current development programs in home health and independent living technologies to include new areas such as fall prevention, medication compliance, sleep apnea, cardiovascular disease, diabetes and personal wellness monitoring. The combination of Intel's leading capabilities in ethnographic research and technology development combined with GE's world-class expertise and global distribution strengths in healthcare IT, electronic medical records, critical care and passive monitoring is a strong strategic fit.
  • Commercial business agreement: GE Healthcare will sell and market the Intel Health Guide, a personal health system, in the United States. GE Healthcare's capabilities in disease management, and its distribution reach in the healthcare sector will help drive understanding of the benefits of this innovative technology, which includes patients' self-monitoring of health status and a direct communications channel to healthcare professionals.

Immelt said, "Improving healthcare accessibility and reducing costs are essential to economic recovery and growth. We think this partnership offers the potential to lower costs by keeping people out of hospitals while giving health professionals the data they need to deliver the best possible care. Intel and GE share a vision to use technology to bring effective healthcare into millions of homes and to improve the lives of seniors and people with chronic illness. Together we can deliver innovative products to serve this rapidly growing market."

Otellini commented, "Most of the healthcare discussions today focus on the integration of more technology into traditional healthcare settings. While those investments are necessary and will create a more efficient healthcare system, it is not sufficient to meet the growing needs that are about to impact a system that is already at a saturation point. The GE and Intel partnership will not only help seniors and the chronically ill, but will also take a giant step forward in changing how healthcare is delivered."

GE and Intel are currently active in patient monitoring and home health, with well-recognized brands and strong sector expertise:

  • GE Quiet Care™ is a remote passive activity and behavioral monitoring system for seniors, alerting caregivers to changes that may signal potential health issues or emergency situations such as a fall or emerging health problem. It is used primarily in assisted living facilities across the United States. GE Healthcare also brings significant capabilities in the development of products for critical care patient monitoring, cardiac diagnostics, home respiratory care, and healthcare IT such as electronic medical records and clinical decisions support.
  • The Intel Health Guide is a comprehensive personal health system combining an in-home patient device with an online interface to allow clinicians monitor patients in their homes and manage care remotely. The Health Guide includes vital sign collection, patient reminders and communications tools such as video conferencing and alerts. Intel also brings its world-class know-how in the development of user-friendly interfaces for high technology products and tools for online cognitive assessment and social interaction, all of which will be vital to the design of easy to use home-based health products.

Both companies recently announced their involvement in externally funded independent living and home health research programs; GE Healthcare is leading a consortium of private and public sector organizations in a $5 million three-year home health research program funded by the Hungarian government. Intel and the Irish Development Agency have established a $30 million TRIL Centre (Technology Research for Independent Living), bringing together world-class industry and academic experts to research independent living technologies.

In the United States the Federal Interagency Forum on Aging-Related Statistics forecast that by 2030, approximately 71.5 million people will be 65 and older, representing nearly 20 percent of the total U.S. population – up from 37 million Americans in 2006. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, chronic diseases such as heart disease, diabetes and hypertension kill more than 1.7 million Americans per year, and are responsible for 7 of every 10 deaths in the U.S.

Learn more about the Intel and GE Healthcare Alliance on the press kit at www.intel.com/pressroom/kits/healthcare/ge_alliance.

Union International Food Co. (Uncle Chen and Lian How Brand) Dry Spice Product Recalled

The FDA announced that Union International Food Co.'s dry spice products were being recalled as part of an ongoing salmonella probe.
Recallr: Uncle Chen and Lian How Brand Dry Spice Product (Union International Food Co.) Recall
Save as Draft

House passes the bill to give FDA authority over tobacco products, tobacco ads and sales

Image from Corpwatch
The House of Representatives passed a bill with a 298-to-112 House vote today (02 April 2009) to give the FDA, (Food and Drug Administration) the power and control to regulate the advertising and sale of cigarettes, cigars and other tobacco products in the United States.
The Family Smoking Prevention and Tobacco Control Act, will now face the Senate for approval, and if approved will give the FDA power to restrict the marketing of tobacco in it's current form.
Cigarette and tobacco producer, Philip Morris supports the legislation, but other big tobacco companies and senators from tobacco farming states like North Carolina, oppose it.

President Obama is a strong supporter of the legislation according to the Office of Management and Budget in the new administration’s first official statement on the issue.

“Cigarette smoking is the leading preventable cause of death in the United States and is a contributing factor to scores of diseases and conditions inflicting misery upon millions of our citizens, Further, tobacco use is a major factor driving the increasing costs of health care in the U.S. and accounts for over a hundred billion dollars annually in financial costs to the economy.”
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Prostate Cancer Kills More Men Than Any Other Disease.

The development of a PSA (prostate-specific antigen) blood test, which was developed to help to put this disease behind by early diagnosis seem to be failling and over diagnosis and Over treatments have become common. But the deaths from the prostate cancer has not come down enough to condone the costs and after effects, according to two independent studies conducted in Unites States and in Europe.
Read more at Boston.com also be aware of popups!

Rehospitalizations among Medicare beneficiaries are prevalent and costly.

Quantity VS Quality In Medicare Fee-for-Service Program,
According to a study conducted by researchers (
Stephen F. Jencks, M.D., M.P.H., Mark V. Williams, M.D., and Eric A. Coleman, M.D., M.P.H.) regarding Reducing rates of rehospitalization has shown that hospitals go for Quantity vs Quality (they prefer quantity) because Medicare pays the same for each hospital stay.
The Researchers went through the medical records from 2003-2004 and the following abstracted results does not give g good picture. (Link to complete publication by New England Journal of Medicine at the end of the post). The cost of unplanned visits was 17.4 Billion in 2004.
Almost one fifth (19.6%) of the 11,855,702 Medicare beneficiaries who had been discharged from a hospital were rehospitalized within 30 days, and 34.0% were rehospitalized within 90 days; 67.1% of patients who had been discharged with medical conditions and 51.5% of those who had been discharged after surgical procedures were rehospitalized or died within the first year after discharge. In the case of 50.2% of the patients who were rehospitalized within 30 days after a medical discharge to the community, there was no bill for a visit to a physician's office between the time of discharge and rehospitalization. Among patients who were rehospitalized within 30 days after a surgical discharge, 70.5% were rehospitalized for a medical condition. We estimate that about 10% of rehospitalizations were likely to have been planned. The average stay of rehospitalized patients was 0.6 day longer than that of patients in the same diagnosis-related group whose most recent hospitalization had been at least 6 months previously. We estimate that the cost to Medicare of unplanned rehospitalizations in 2004 was $17.4 billion."

New England Journal of Medicine

AMA And Elsevier Partner To Publish 2010 ICD-9-CM and HCPCS Coding Reference Books

CHICAGO and ST. LOUIS, Missouri, March 31 /PRNewswire/ --

Two of the biggest names in health care publishing, the American Medical Association (AMA) and Elsevier have announced an exclusive agreement to co-publish International Classification of Diseases, Ninth Revision, Clinical Modification (ICD-9-CM) and Healthcare Common Procedure Coding System (HCPCS) manuals by Carol J. Buck, beginning with the 2010 editions, in fall 2009.

"It's important that coders at every step of their careers, from training through professional practice, have the tools they need to code confidently and accurately," said author Carol J. Buck. "With AMA and Elsevier as partners, these books will reach more coding professionals than ever before."

AMA/Elsevier 2010 ICD-9-CM books will be published in August 2009 in a variety of sizes, formats and prices to meet every need. They will feature exclusive Frank H. Netter anatomical artwork, extensive illustrations, color coded tables and annotations, as well as coding tips, notes and definitions. 2010 HCPCS, available in December 2009, will include many of the same features throughout. Both product lines will be supported by exclusive free companion Web sites offering access to the latest updates, coding tips and links to other valuable coding resources.

"Carol Buck's ICD-9-CM and HCPCS Professional and Standard editions are best-sellers in medical coding education," said Michael Ledbetter, Coding Publisher for Elsevier's Health Sciences Division. "We believe these books will fit perfectly with the AMA's commitment to making the very best ICD-9-CM and HCPCS products available to their physician members and customers in professional practice."

"The AMA saw an opportunity to bring this truly superior line of products to the health professionals we serve," said Robert A. Musacchio, AMA's senior vice president for Publishing and Business Services. "For years, Carol Buck's approach to ICD-9-CM and HCPCS has been respected by thousands of students and educators in medical coding, billing and reimbursement. We are proud to collaborate with Elsevier on such highly regarded coding resources."

Information on obtaining the Books can be found at: https://catalog.ama-assn.org/Catalog and http://www.us.elsevierhealth.com/specialty.jsp?lid=3&sid=440

American Academy of Professional Coders, Gets Ready For ICD-10 Implementation Plan

April 1st, 2009

Plan includes preparation, training and implementation guidance for payers and providers

In response to the Department of Health and Human Services’ (HHS’) final rule on the Oct. 1, 2013 implementation date for the new ICD-10-CM code system, the American Academy of Professional Coders (AAPC, www.aapc.com) announces a comprehensive, five-year ICD-10-CM training plan. The plan, which launches in September, is designed to guide providers, payers and coders through the implementation process step by step.

“Our comprehensive ICD-10 implementation plan is designed with the right approach and the right curriculum, coupled with the right timing for the trainings,” said Reed Pew, CEO and president of the AAPC. “The goal of this training program is to enable coders, administrators and others—whether in the provider or payer environment—to be well prepared and make such a clean transition that there is no interruption in payment flows.”

The plan is broken down by year (2009 – 2013) and includes a variety of delivery methods, such as Webinars, audio conferences, onsite training and national and regional conferences. A team of leading coding and ICD-10 experts developed the plan, which is broken into benchmarked steps.

As part of the implementation plan, the AAPC will provide its members with a “Personal Progress Tracker,” which gives members the ability to easily enter in personal progress with red, yellow and green lights that indicate whether the member is on schedule or not. More information, including the detailed plan and training program, is available on the AAPC’s Web site at http://www.aapc.com/ICD-10/training.aspx.

HHS’ final rule, announced in January, moved the implementation date from 2011 to 2013, allowing more time for training. The AAPC was instrumental in the final rule, with more than 60 percent of the comments submitted during the comment period coming from AAPC members.

Wednesday, April 01, 2009

Personal Health Records (PHRs), Google Health Is One Of The Choices.

Personal Health Records (PHRs)
I read in Google blog today that Google Health is participating with Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS), on a pilot program in Arizona and Utah. The program is for Medicare beneficiaries to bring their Medicare claims data into Google Health.
Medicare Claims data is much more complex than they appear in words of our mouths or brains. There are zillions of codes to follow, comparisons and recheck denials, all of these are important to both health care providers and to receivers.
So having these data online accessible from anywhere to people and entities that have rights to access the data is a great benefit.
I do not work with Healthcare itself but I do deal with healthcare data. I see the complexities, I help to resolve bottlenecks. As the author of the blog article I am reffering to explained, Medicare data carries a great wealth of data about health of medicare reciepants. Having access to this data, will be a great benefit to the people involved.
The Utah Arizona Pilot that Google Health is involved is a perfect way to find out the benefis of this information. The participants has a choice among four PHR vendors participating in the Medicare PHR Choice (Links are through CMS): Only traditional fee-for-service (FFS) Medicare beneficiaries with a primary residence in Arizona and Utah are eligible to participate in this pilot but there are more than one million eligibale people there.
Medicare will only be sending data to your Account (They will not access the data). Beneficiaries who participate in the pilot will still have access to data imported into their Google Health Accounts after the conclusion of the pilot and with the Google Health sharing feature, any beneficiary enrolled in this pilot can now share this data with family members and doctors in their care network.

Official Google Blog: Getting your Medicare records in Google Health


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