Healthcare Technology Featured Article

February 11, 2012

TMCnet Healthcare Week in Review

People could get advice on how to quit smoking or be tested for sexually transmitted diseases or even just attend a session on balancing their work and home lives at a large Brighton contact center. Last week, in the UK, five organizations came together to improve health education among employees at Domestic & General, according to a press release. In the US, the movement towards providing wellness centers goes back many years, its main focus also on “reducing employers' overall medical spending, reducing accidents, improving productivity, and improving return-to-work outcomes,” according to a story by Roberto Ceniceros at Business Insurance.

They haven’t been too happy together in a long time, but when it comes to health care and dollars, the Bipartisan Policy Center in Washington, founded by former Senate majority leaders, has decided to unite to recommend how federal dollars can “most effectively be used on health information technology initiatives.” The story reports that many of the recommendations are for initiatives already underway, although quite a few are just getting started. For instance, the center calls for “government and private purchasers and health plans to align incentives and payments with higher quality, care coordination and outcomes, enabled with I.T.,” part of the health care reform act signed by President Obama in 2009, the story relates.

Absolute Rights says that a recent survey found that almost all of us living in America will not have enough food, water and possibly power to survive a disaster, like the tornadoes in Joplin Missouri, flooding from Hurricane Irene, wildfires in Texas, and the combination of the earthquake, tsunami, and nuclear disaster in Fukoshima Japan, according to a press release at But even such seemingly minor events as hurricanes, blizzards, food shortages or economic troubles can bring us to our knees, Absolute Rights reports. The survey found that 91 percent of all Americans do not have survival kits, according to the press release, and that “there are more than 23 probable events that experts have identified that could knock out food supplies for 30 - 40 days.”

For quite a while now, we’ve been hearing how robots are revolutionizing surgery all across the world. Minimally invasive. Smaller incisions. Quicker recovery. But a new study has found that maybe, just maybe, patients might not be better off with the expensive machines, according to a story by Frederik Joelving at Reuters (News - Alert) Health. In the latest study, Joelving writes, researchers found the same complication rates among women treated for endometrial cancer whether a robot was used or not, despite the fact that robotic surgery “costs about $1,300 more than the low-tech approach, called laparoscopy, in addition to the upfront cost to the hospital of the machine itself.”

We all think our memories of what happened are accurate. But, not always. Now two medical education providers are joining together to launch SimView, a simulation tool, using combined video cameras, microphones and patient monitoring that captures video, audio, data logs, and patient responses, from training sessions to allow students to see what actually happened, not just what they think they remembered. The two companies are collaborating through a joint partnership, SimVentures.

Deborah DiSesa Hirsch is an award-winning health and technology writer who has worked for newspapers, magazines and IBM in her 20-year career. To read more of her articles, please visit her columnist page.

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