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Posted By Amanda Guerrero
March 1, 2013

Nintendo WiiPlaying video games might not be a complete waste of time – at least according to a study published in the online journal PLOS ONE. Researchers at the University of Rome in Italy found that training laparoscopic surgeons using on a Nintendo Wii™, in addition to their standard learning, could be “helpful, inexpensive and entertaining.”

For the study, the university’s Department of Surgical Science worked with 42 first and second year post-graduate residents, all specializing in general, vascular or endoscopic surgery. The participants were tested on a laparoscopic simulator in order to evaluate their performance on certain parameters. They were then randomly placed in one of two groups. One group received additional training with the Nintendo Wii™, and the other did not.

Training included playing Wii™ Sports Tennis, Wii™ Table Tennis and Battle. The games were chosen because they require high demands of:

  • Hand-eye coordination
  • Depth perception
  • Movement precision
  • 3D visualization

Surgical residents in the Wii™ group received training on the video game console five days a week for an hour each day. After four weeks, the participants underwent another testing session on the laparoscopic simulator. When results from the first session were compared to those of the second, researchers found that residents receiving training with the Wii™ showed greater improvement, particularly in performance metrics such as “economy of instruments movements” and “efficient cautery.”

With the study showing such positive results, other resident training programs around the world could notice and start implementing Wii™ training at their own facilities.

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Posted By Amanda Guerrero
January 31, 2013

EHR Health Information ExchangeWith the help of the United States’ first cancer reporting model, which sends patients’ electronic health record (EHR) data to the Kentucky Cancer Registry in real time, researchers now have access to timely medical data and statistics that can help spot cancer-related trends more quickly than ever before. According to a statement by Eric Durbin, the director of Cancer Informatics at the Kentucky Cancer Registry, “[The] project is laying the groundwork for electronic reporting not only in Kentucky but across the United States.”

The reporting module, which officially launched in October of last year, is a collaboration between the Kentucky Health Information Exchange, Regional Extension Center and Cancer Registry, and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). It was funded through the CDC as part of the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act (ARRA) Comparative Effectiveness Research activity, due to its ability to improve population health through disease surveillance efforts.

The database is made possible through the use of health information exchange (HIE), which allows for the secure transfer of clinical data between EHR systems and government databases. Many states are working on developing standard health information exchanges that allow providers to share data with government agencies at all levels, as well as other physicians using different EHRs. The ultimate goal is to have a national interoperable network facilitating health information exchange between providers and agencies in different states.

HIE is likely be an important tool for healthcare providers looking to participate in Meaningful Use stage 2 next year.

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Posted By Amanda Guerrero
December 12, 2012

Doctor using EMR softwarePrimary care providers (PCP) have implemented electronic medical record software at a higher rate than many other physician specialties, with 69 percent of providers using EMR software in 2012 compared with just 46 percent in 2009. The fact that EMR adoption rates have doubled in a three year period shows that PCPs understand the value of the software in improving care delivery and reducing costs. However, there are still improvements to be made. According to a Commonwealth Fund survey of primary care doctors in ten different countries, many providers still complain about not getting patient data on time from hospitals and specialists, hindering their ability to provide comprehensive care.

For the survey, researchers polled general internists, family practice physicians and pediatricians in the following countries: Australia, Canada, France, Germany, the Netherlands, New Zealand, Norway, Switzerland, the United Kingdom, and the United States.

Results were then compared to data collected from a similar survey in 2009. What researchers found is that, despite more doctors using EMR software, most physicians do not receive timely access to patient data after they are seen by a specialist, nor are they informed by a hospital when a patient of theirs is discharged.

Physicians in Switzerland were most likely to receive information from specialists when needed (27 percent), while those in the Netherlands were least likely to (1 percent). The U.S. landed in the middle of the spectrum and tied with Canada with 11 percent of doctors receiving timely access to patient information. “Lack of integration between primary care, specialty care, and hospitals can put patients at risk and result in duplicative care, particularly for patients with complex chronic illnesses,” said the paper published about the study in the journal Health Affairs.

As far as receiving notification from a hospital following a patient’s discharge, the average for the ten countries was 36 percent. The U.S. fell below the international average, with only 26 percent of physicians reporting that they always receive notification of discharge from hospitals.

This shows that there is still a lot of progress to be made with regards to the U.S. healthcare industry’s goal toward greater care coordination and patient-centered care. While EMR software can help physicians meet this goal, there are still some barriers, such as a lack of interoperability between electronic medical record systems. Vendors and health IT technicians will need to continue working on this flaw to ensure that the electronic exchange of patient information becomes an everyday occurrence.

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Posted By Amanda Guerrero
December 6, 2012

Brad Pitt medical collections TV seriesThe debt collection industry isn’t necessarily glamorous – yet, it caught the interest of Hollywood megastar Brad Pitt. Pitt’s production company, Plan B, is reportedly developing a TV series for HBO, tentatively called “Paper.” The show will center on the life of a single dad and ex-cocaine dealer trying to change his life around and stay out of prison by going into the debt collection business.

It likely won’t be medical collections the drama centers on, however, as a description of the show on Variety.com says that the main character will find that debt collection is just as cutthroat of a business as the one he’s trying to get away from.

The idea for the hour-long series comes from “Pay Up,” an essay by Jake Halpern that was featured in the New Yorker in 2010. The essay provides a glimpse into the life of an ex-con in Buffalo, NY who owns a small debt collection agency and works to recovers payday loans in order to provide for his five children.

The name for the TV series also comes from Halpern’s essay, which talks about “paper” – a term used in the collection industry to refer to debt that loan agencies and credit card companies have failed to collect on. These debts, ranging from medical collections to loans, are sold to collection agencies for cheap – and they are not usually easy to recover.

There is no official start date for the TV show yet, but it is known that Wells Tower is writing the project, and Pitt will be co-executive producing.

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Posted By Health News Watch
November 2, 2012

physical therapy in minnesotaThe bacteria and various fungi that caused the recent meningitis outbreak in the United States has been found and confirmed in recalled products from the New England Compounding Center, said the U.S. Food and Drug Administration on Thursday.

According to the Associated Press, federal regulators said they found bacteria in three separate batches of drugs supplied by the company to physical therapy MN centers throughout the eastern United States. The clinical significance of these findings isn’t clear as the strains of bacteria found in the samples have rarely been linked to human diseases, FDA said in a statement.

Ten different kinds of bacteria were detected in the drugs, including eight in separate lots of betamethasone, a corticosteroid used to relieve severe itching, and two more types of bacteria found in a batch of cardioplegia solution used to stop the heart during surgery.

In response to the outbreak, Ameridose, LLC, based in Westborough, MA, is voluntarily recalling all of its products from the market after reports of the medications being made in unsterile conditions.

According to reports, the fungal meningitis outbreak occurred after the steroid injections (methylprednisolone acetate) made by NECC were given to people with back pain. The outbreak strain has now infected some 386 people in the U.S. NECC recalled all its products on October 6, 2012.

“Somehow, the New England Compounding Center fell into a regulatory black hole, until it caused the worst public health disaster in our country in recent memory,” said U.S. Rep. Ed Markey to the Associated Press.

After a potential outbreak spread to the west, physical therapy in Minnesota experts have been unsettled when the CDC released lab results that found two new types of fungi in the contaminated injection steroids linked to infections in the ongoing outbreak.

CDC found that the same fungus that caused most of the meningitis and joint infections in outbreak was also found in unopened vials of the drug, methylprednisolone.

All but two of 54 infections confirmed by CDC labs as of Oct. 22 were caused by Exserohilum rostrum, a fungus typically found in the environment. That same fungus was found in two lots of unopened vials of methylprednisolone acetate recalled by the now-shuttered New England Compounding Center on Sept. 26.

Nearly 14,000 people in 23 states may have received injections of the tainted drugs. The greatest risk of stroke, death or other problems is in the first six weeks after the injections, the CDC has said. For most patients who got the shots, that means that the danger will be largely over by next week, health officials have said.

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Guillermo
 
Posted By Guillermo
October 24, 2012

Legal Web Experts Logo

October 24, 2012 (San Diego, CA) – Legal website design specialist Legal Web Experts is announcing its leading design, custom programming, and marketing services in Latin America and Canada. Legal Web Experts has recently launched a new site for Latino legal marketing (http://www.legalwebexperts.com/ESP/) and also offers services in French.

The Legal Web Experts Spanish website was officially launched on September 10, 2012. The new site is part of an expansion initiative by Legal Web Experts’ parent company, internet marketing agency New Wave Web and Marketing, which launched its own Spanish-language website the same day as well as a Spanish site for its other subsidiary Medical Web Experts. The Latino and French-focused site follows the company’s commitment to help Hispanic and French law firms expand their client bases, engage users and succeed in the digital age.

With nearly ten years of experience in custom programming and web design, Legal Web Experts has put together a completely bilingual website design and marketing team to tackle a variety of Hispanic and French legal marketing services – including translation services in French and Spanish; bilingual website design; Hispanic and French internet marketing; search-engine-friendly design; Hispanic and French custom logo design; Latino legal marketing, French legal marketing; Latino and French market analysis services, and more.

By offering a unique approach for each client, the company is able to consider each client’s needs, budget and overall goals to guarantee successful results. “We find there is less competition for Spanish keywords than English keywords in the United States, so the costs of getting to the top of Google are lower. That, combined with the same conversion rate, leads us to experience a higher ROI,” says John Deutsch, President and CEO of New Wave Web and Marketing.

About Legal Web Experts 
Legal Web Experts was founded in 2003 by John Deutsch as a subsidiary of New Wave Enterprises LLC. Specializing in providing web solutions for law firms, Legal Web Experts aims to provide customers with highly effective websites and time-tested internet marketing services that meet each client’s specific needs and budget. For more information, visit http://www.legalwebexperts.com/.

Contact:

Guillermo Piñon
Legal Web Experts 
619-446-6348

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Posted By Amanda Guerrero
October 11, 2012

A new reality TV series will pit a team of rogue debt collectors against unsuspecting debtors. Will patients in medical collections meet Hale Storm’s fury?

Producers are currently trying to find a network for “Dead Beat Busters,” a reality TV show thought up by Hale Storm, who also stars in the Science Channel series “JUNKies.” For “Dead Beat Busters,” Storm and two other guys (his “muscle”) will confront debtors to try to get them to pay up.

“Did you ever work all week on a job and when it is time to collect your pay check, your boss is no where to be found? Do friends owe you money, from back in the day and you still haven’t seen a dollar from him/her? Did you recently hire someone to do a job, instead they took the money and ran? Leaving you broke and with no work to show for it… Look no further,” says a message on deadbeatbusters.com. If so, the website advertises a number people can call: 1-855-DBEAT-38. With medical collections agencies receiving bad press recently as a result of aggressive collections tactics, can a TV show of this nature be good for the collections industry?

Like a lot of things on reality TV, we’re sure a fair share of the action on “Dead Beat Busters” is going to be staged. How else will producers get around the Fair Debt Collection Practices Act and out debtors on TV? Real or not, putting something like this on TV will do nothing to improve the image of real collectors, most of whom don’t deserve the bad rap.

A few interesting things to note:

  • Storm and his crew are going to drive around in a hearse.
  • The license plate on the hearse will read “PAYUPNOW.”
  • According to an article on NYDailyNews.com, Storm says he thought up the idea for the show with revenge in mind. “I’ve probably lost a half-million dollars in the forty years I’ve had my sign business,” said Storm. “People look for any excuse not to pay you. I know I’m not alone and it has to end.”

Producers are currently trying to find a network for the TV series, which means it isn’t a done deal quite yet. Whether or not the show gets picked up, here’s to hoping that innocent people’s debts don’t get exploited for Storm and company’s benefit.

Have you heard any other incredulous stories about medical collections or debtors getting taken advantage of? Share them with us.

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Marie
 
Posted By Marie
October 2, 2012

Though the lack of a free universal healthcare system in the United States is a cause for criticism for some, for others it’s a fair and justifiable way to save hardworking American taxpayers from being indirectly strapped with other peoples’ medical debt.  Opponents of universal healthcare often argue that there IS a way to receive free care with a guarantee not to be turned away: visiting a hospital emergency room.Emergency roomas and healthcare debt

While there’s a high degree of truth the widely-held idea that a person cannot legally be denied care at an emergency room facility, there’s also a high degree of misinterpretation.  There are a number of factors at play in determining whether a person can receive care at an emergency department without being able to pay – and the fact that they were unable to pay does not mean that they’re not going to wind up dealing with healthcare debt collection.


What is really means to be “guaranteed” emergency care

Yes, it’s true that legally – in certain situations – a person cannot be turned away from an emergency room because of an inability to pay.  However, there are restrictions on what conditions can be treated by an ER doctor as well as which conditions are allowed to be turned away due to the patient’s lack of financial resources.  Conditions that cannot be turned away include only

  1. Acute medical conditions that would cause death, serious harm, or serious organ damage if not treated immediately.
  2. Labor in pregnant women.

For example, a person with a severe bowel-obstructing colonic tumor can’t be turned away to have the tumor removed as an emergency procedure after it has become a life-threatening problem.  However, the care necessary to cure their cancer would never be covered – and by the time the tumor is at this serious a stage, the patient is not likely to survive cancer treatment anyway.

Someone IS paying – even if it’s not the patient

The healthcare provided for patients with emergency conditions DOES cost something, and hospitals need to rely on medical collections in order to keep financing patient care.  According to a study by the American Hospital Association, hospitals in the United States lost over forty billion dollars in 2012 due to unpaid patient medical debt.  Hospitals, just like any other company or organization, need financing to run – and since United States taxes don’t cover their expenses (the way taxes and government money fund hospitals in countries with universal healthcare systems), they need to get money from patients in order to run.  A law covering emergency care doesn’t erase hospital debt or offer security for patients; it simply transfers debt.

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Posted By Tim Ruben
October 1, 2012

solar panel san diegoCalifornia’s state subsidy program made to encourage the sale and use of solar panels will likely disappear for San Diego solar panel owners by the end of this year, while in Southwest Riverside County it will be around until 2013.

The California Solar Initiative, launched in 2007, provided a declining scale of subsidies to people who bought solar panels for their homes or businesses.

“We all of us need to applaud the designers of the California Solar Initiative program,” Walker Wright, director of government affairs for SunRun, a solar company, told the North County Times. “It truly is the ultimate success story of the design of a solar program that is thinking ahead.”

The creators of the California Solar Initiative originally wanted the program to last through 2016, but California’s solar-panel purchases far outpaced predictions and the program will be forced to end early than expected. But industry experts say the program has helped the San Diego solar market grow to the point where it can stand on it’s own, without state subsidies.

The California Solar Initiative allocated its funds for the commercial and residential sectors. The subsidy began at $2.50 per installed watt, or $12,500 for a typical 5-kilowatt home installation. As residential solar purchases accelerated, the program’s subsidy dropped through a series of 10 levels.

The end of the program is not expect to hurt solar sales, installers and program officials said. For Southern California Edison, the subsidy for residential customers is at level 8, or 35 cents a watt, which would pay $1,750 for a 5-kilowatt system. Edison’s program lags both SDG&E and Pacific Gas & Electric Co.

According to industry experts, solar panel costs have fallen faster than the subsidy diminished. One homeowner told the newspaper, he installed a 6-kilowatt system on his house in 2007, when the program launched. His panels cost $9.32 a watt, or $55,000 for his 6-kilowatt system, and he received a $2.50 a watt subsidy, or $15,000. His cost was $40,000. As of this week, his company would install an equivalent system for $5.40 a watt, or $32,400, and no state subsidy.

In 2011, solar leases made up 76 percent of all installs in SDG&E territory and 82 percent of installs in Edison territory. Also, new factors have come into play in the solar industry. Experts say third-party-owned solar leases have taken the market from traditional solar installations.

Solar companies in San Diego county say they are not worried about losing the subsidy. Many find the extensive paperwork necessary to apply for government help, too complicated and tedious, for the small amount of money it supplies.
Under a traditional solar deal, a homeowner purchases solar panels and then is paid back when their panels produce more power than they use. The payback is typically around 7 years, Gordon said.

Yet many point to the data and oversight that come with the program application as one of the California Solar Initiative’s strengths. The California Public Utilities Commission, which regulates utilities and the program, is considering extending the program by making some administrative changes. Preserving the database is one of the key arguments for finding a way to keep the program up and running, even at low levels of subsidy.

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Marie
 
Posted By Marie
September 17, 2012

Electronic medical record systems provider Cyramedx parters with HSTSeptember 17, 2012 (Miami, FL) – Electronic health record systems provider Mountain Medical Technologies, Inc. – developer of CyramedX™, one of the country’s leading ASC EHR systems – is announcing a new partnership with practice management software company HST.  By integrating CyramedX™ EHR with HSTpathways™, the new union is able to produce the most advanced enterprise solution for ASCs currently on the market.

CyramedX™ ASC EHR (formerly offered through SourceMedical as SourcePlus EHR) is a highly functional and extremely successful EHR system designed for implementation at ambulatory surgery centers.  HIPAA-compliant for 2011/2012, it is known as one of the easiest and quickest systems to deploy with regards to implementation and training.

“[The HST] product is easy-to-use,” says Philip Keane, CEO of Mountain Medical Technologies, Inc.  “It’s cutting-edge, and the deployment and training that we provide give excellent support where the client is key.  Our companies are almost identical in their respective business styles and philosophies and have a similar level of commitment.”

New products provided by Mountain Medical Technologies, Inc. and HST will be available as either a true cloud or a client-server solution.  The union looks to provide the ASC market with a range of new, highly customizable options for practices interested in implementing EHR as well as improving business management and office functions with a high-end practice management system.

 

About CyramedX
CyramedX is a 2011/2012 HIPAA-compliant and ONC-ATCB certified EHR system.   Developed by Mountain Medical Technologies, Inc., its unique 3D graphic user interface replicates the look and feel of a traditional paper system – allowing practices to preserve their current workflows without disruption to staff or patient throughput.  Claiming that “if you can use an ATM, you can use CyramedX,” users appreciate its easy implementation and training process resulting in an extremely higher than average user retention rate of over 90%.  Combined with HST Pathways Practice Management System, CyramedX™ provides all of the management tools required to improve office functionality, increase practice revenue, and decrease overhead.  Visit http://www.cyramedx.com/ for more information.

About HST
HSTpathways™, the flagship practice management software system offered by healthcare IT developer HST, is recognized for its ability to enable ambulatory surgery centers streamline and improve the business aspects of their medical clinics.  Solutions offered by HSTpathways™ include patient accounting and collections, accounts receivable (A/R) control, workflow management, claims and statement processing, scheduling, supply chain and informatics management, and a range of other functional tools. HST is well respected for its strong and complete management reports and data mining features.  Visit http://www.hstpathways.com/ for more information.

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ABOUT US
The mission of New Wave Enterprises has and will always be very simple: deliver a quality custom solution to every client within budget. Founded in 2003 by John Deutsch the company was originally known as New Wave Marketing.
 
We then incorporated under New Wave Enterprises LLC. Around this same time we founded Medical Web Experts and Legal Web Experts as subsidiaries. We pride ourselves on staying true to our ethics by being honest and fair to our clients.
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