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Category Archives: Health Care

The Fax Is Not Yet Obsolete

The Atlantic – Law and medicine still rely on the device. Maybe they shouldn’t. An Object Lesson.

“…Fax, once at the forefront of communications technologies but now in deep decline, has persisted in many industries. Law-enforcement agencies remain heavily reliant on fax for routine operations, such as bail postings and return of public-records requests. Health care, too, runs largely on fax. Despite attempts to replace it, a mix of regulatory confusion, digital-security concerns, and stubbornness has kept fax machines droning around the world… Doctors rely heavily on faxes in both routine and high-stakes situations. According to Vox, one industry analyst estimates that 75 percent all of all medical communications still happen by fax. Occasionally, news outlets describe this phenomenon, mostly as human-interest stories: “Medical Students Flummoxed by Fax Machines” or “Med Students Are Puzzled When Forced to Use This Ancient Technology.” Despite confusion and frustration, though, the business of faxing continues on. Part of this has to do with an interpretation of a clause in HIPAA, a U.S. health-privacy law, which requires health providers to take reasonable steps to safeguard patient information. Because this rule explicitly mentions fax and not email, some providers interpret the law to mean that records must go by fax.

That habit dies hard. A start-up called PatientBank, which allowed users to share and receive medical records digitally, shut down in January, partly because weaning hospitals from fax proved too difficult. Paul Fletcher-Hill, a PatientBank co-founder, told me that one reason hospitals cited for their continued dependency was security: Many believed that hacking computer systems were easier to hack than fax machines—and that computer hacks were more damaging…”

Report – US Has Spent Six Trillion Dollars on Wars That Killed Half a Million People Since 9/11

Brown University’s Watson Institute for International and Public Affairs, November 14, 2018 – “Following the 9/11 terrorist attacks, the United States government has spent and obligated more than $5.9 trillion on wars in Iraq, Syria, Afghanistan, Pakistan, and other places around the world, according to the Costs of War Project. Written by Boston University Professor… Continue Reading

Time – 50 Best Inventions of 2018

“Every year, TIME highlights the Best Inventions that are making the world better, smarter and even a bit more fun. (See last year’s list here.) To assemble our 2018 list, we solicited nominations across a variety of categories from our editors and correspondents around the world, as well as through an online application process. Then… Continue Reading

Doctors express outrage after NRA tells them ‘to stay in their lane’

Washington Post: “At first, Judy Melinek didn’t know how to respond when she learned about a National Rifle Association tweet last week telling doctors who dared enter the gun debate “to stay in their lane.” But two days later, when the West Coast forensic pathologist was on her way to the morgue to examine the… Continue Reading

The Physical Activity Guidelines for Americans 2018

The Physical Activity Guidelines for Americans  – Katrina L. Piercy, PhD, RD; Richard P. Troiano, PhD; Rachel M. Ballard, MD, MPH; Susan A. Carlson, PhD, MPH; Janet E. Fulton, PhD; Deborah A. Galuska, PhD, MPH; Stephanie M. George, PhD, MPH; Richard D. Olson, MD, MPH “Importance – Approximately 80% of US adults and adolescents are insufficiently active. Physical activity fosters normal growth and development and can make people feel, function, and… Continue Reading

Facebook, Social Media May Add to Depression, Loneliness

University of Pennsylvania: “Facebook, Snapchat, and Instagram may not be great for personal well-being. The first experimental study examining use of multiple platforms shows a causal link between time spent on these social media and increased depression and loneliness. The link between the two has been talked about for years, but a causal connection had… Continue Reading

Why Doctors Hate Their Computers

The New Yorker – Digitization promises to make medical care easier and more efficient. But are screens coming between doctors and patients? “…More than ninety per cent of American hospitals have been computerized during the past decade, and more than half of Americans have their health information in the Epic system. Seventy thousand employees of… Continue Reading

Massive Project That’s Building a ‘Google Earth for Human Health’

SingularityHub: “In the medical study Hall of Fame, the Framingham Heart Study takes the throne. An ongoing project that’s spanned three generations and almost 70 years, the Heart study was an early attempt to track factors and behaviors that increase heart disease risks. Find and eliminate the culprits, lower a population’s chances of dying from… Continue Reading

Single-use plastics ban approved by European Parliament

Plastic Oceans: MEPs back EU ban on throwaway plastics by 2021 single-use cutlery, cotton buds, straws and stirrers to be banned from 2021  MEPs added oxo-plastics and certain polystyrenes  plastics where no alternatives available to be reduced by at least 25% by 2025  measures against cigarette filters and lost fishing gear     National reduction targets for… Continue Reading

Consumer Checkbook – Pet Insurance Review

Pet Insurance  Overview Articles & Advice “To assess the true value of pet insurance, we gathered premium quotes from nine plans, obtained price data showing what veterinarians actually charge for hundreds of services, and interviewed executives from nine leading insurers. We worked with the Purdue University College of Veterinary Medicine to develop a reasonable basket… Continue Reading

Google AI claims 99% accuracy in metastatic breast cancer detection

VentureBeat – “Metastatic tumors — cancerous cells which break away from their tissue of origin, travel through the body through the circulatory or lymph systems, and form new tumors in other parts of the body — are notoriously difficult to detect. A 2009 study of 102 breast cancer patients at two Boston health centers found… Continue Reading

Projections of white and black older adults without living kin in the United States, 2015 to 2060

Projections of white and black older adults without living kin in the United States, 2015 to 2060. Ashton M. Verdery and Rachel Margolis PNAS published ahead of print October 2, 2017 https://doi.org/10.1073/pnas.1710341114 “Family members provide the majority of social support for most older adults, but not all individuals have living family. Those without living close… Continue Reading