Winter Issue January 2008
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Better Living Through Technology

Charlie’s son loves the fact that his elderly father is cheerfully and independently living in his own home. It bothers him that Charlie can no longer drive, and when his father’s doctors want Charlie to come by their clinic several times a week to do routine tests for monitoring his health, it creates a worrisome distraction for his busy construction worker son. This is the scenario presented in the short video presented by the University of Florida’s Smart House, a research facility dedicated to utilizing open standard wireless technology to assist the elderly to maximize their independence and maintain a high quality of life. “A smarter world for Charlie,” demonstrates how new device-driven technology can change lives for the better in the context of healthcare delivery for the elderly. Ultimately, Charlie is able to send his blood pressure readings to his doctor by means of a digital device that generated the data and stores it in a standardized format that can be read by a wide range of healthcare providers via Web-based assessment and monitoring consoles. Similar devices also generate blood glucose readings by diabetic patients. Such solutions are not only used to register events such as an unacceptable jump in blood pressure, but also to tie into the overall picture of a person’s healthcare and fitness. The continuous collection and monitoring of outpatient vital signs, medications, lab results and physical activity can enable collaborative assessment and treatment, providing first responders with accurate, long-term and immediate patient history.

Another innovative company is really taking personalized healthcare to the next level. Healthy Footsteps is an on-line health tracking system that delivers daily prompts via email or text message reminding them to input relevant information or things like mood, nutrition, sleep, stressors, exercise and medication into a daily journal. It can take as little as five minutes a day to generate a weekly report that a person can print out and share with their physician or medical professional. This allows a patient to maximize their doctor’s visits and provide a more complete picture of the patient’s health.

On a different subject, the congressionally mandated switch to all-digital broadcast is set for February 17, 2009. I was relieved to find out that since we already subscribe to digital cable service, we can continue to use our ancient TV set without needing to buy a new set or any new equipment. While we may be among the holdouts, recent research is projecting as many as one third of non-HDTV households are considering purchasing a new HDTV in the next six months. In the midst of this relatively no brainer marketing blitz a battle is raging between Blu-ray and HD DVD media formats (home movie rental) whose winner is yet to prevail among those desiring to view high-definition discs on their TV sets.

Speaking of services driven by the desire to view pictures in stunning high definition clarity, AmbienceVisuals.com provides paintings, photography and high definition video art via download and you can create art playlists just like you currently do with music playlists. .

Also, a new product by eStarling gives a twist on the ability of users of social networking sites to send and receive photos outside the confines of the Internet with the use of a special 8-inch Wi-Fi digital picture frame. There are no subscription fees. There is no cost to email photos to or from eStarling frames. The only cost is for the frame itself. Each frame has its own unique email address so that photos can be received and automatically displayed from computers or mobile phones almost immediately.

I am grateful to be in a collaborative business with many talented and skilled professionals. Additional feedback and recommendations for our products and services at TM Information Services are always welcome.

- Mary M. McLaughlin


From the Front Page of TMIS News
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Click on links below to view Full Stories.

Improved Patient Healthcare Delivery as Working Example of Powerful New Device-Driven Business Architecture
Gainesville, Florida

In today's world, we expect most devices to provide a single function at a given time, and that's the end of it. In a healthcare clinic, for example, a blood-pressure monitor displays one reading and stops. But what if, at a consumer's direction, devices that are important to our daily lives could function continuously, automatically sending vital information to those who could use it to deliver new and valuable services? In such a world, a new panorama of consumer-centric enterprises could emerge.

The fact is, for a wide range of devices and functions, this world is now within our grasp. That's because the University of Florida  and IBM  have introduced new, groundbreaking technology that provides a "roadmap" for extending the functionality of all kinds of devices -- wireless or wired, near or far. Using the power of open standards in the embedded-device and IT domains, open communities and alliances, this technology will enable automatically recognized devices to send the information they register to authorized third parties, such as specialized healthcare providers. This information, in turn, can help enterprises in many industries understand their customers' needs in real-time -- once or on an ongoing basis -- and help them in specially tailored, continually evolving ways. In the Healthcare Industry, the positive implications for the infirmed and elderly are substantial.

As a means of demonstrating the power of this new device-driven model, UF and IBM have prototyped cutting edge, device-driven patient-monitoring services at the University's highly publicized "Gator Tech Smart House" laboratory in Gainesville, FL. Smart House was originally designed as a stand-alone research facility for the development of wireless sensor technologies to assist the elderly in maximizing their independence and maintaining a high quality of life.
Full Story

Personalized Health Care Tracking to the Next Level with Innovative Free Online Tools
New York, New York

By merging ordinary technology such as cell phones and personal computers with sophisticated web-based applications, Mosaic Health Solutions has created a breakthrough online health tracking system that allows users to more effectively and efficiently manage their personal health. Called Healthy Footsteps, the interactive program requires just minutes a day, but generates a lifetime of benefits including better medication compliance, accurate tracking of symptoms, ongoing reminders of physician treatment recommendations, weekly printouts for physicians that help improve communication and increase effectiveness of office visits, big picture reports that allow participants to view progress over time, and much more.

Currently, Healthy Footsteps is available for people coping with diagnoses that particularly benefit from daily tracking: depression, anxiety, panic attacks and diabetes. In addition, the Healthy Footsteps-MedNotices program provides daily medications reminders. Other conditions that will soon become part of the www.healthyfootsteps.com family include stress, insomnia, heart health, nutrition and wellness, fertility, chronic fatigue syndrome, allergies, osteoporosis, HIV and weight loss. Under development are specialty Healthy Footsteps programs for kids, teens and seniors that address conditions and issues reflecting their individual life stages. All programs are free, easily accessible on the Web, and privacy protected.
Full Story

HDTV Intenders to Significantly Impact High-Def DVD Battle
Dallas, Texas

According to research from The Diffusion Group, close to one-third of non-HDTV households are interested in purchasing a new HDTV in the next six months -- a very encouraging sign for HDTV manufacturers and, by relation, high-def DVD manufacturers. More interesting, perhaps, is that the same research found that the characteristics of these "HDTV Intenders" vary widely from those of current HDTV owners. HDTV Intenders tend to be younger, single, more ethnically diverse, and have lower annual household incomes than current HDTV owners -- in many respects more characteristic of mainstream consumers than the early adopters who today own an HDTV.

While this trend could in theory benefit either Blu-ray or HD DVD, the data suggests otherwise. Among HDTV Intenders who are likely to purchase a new high-def DVD player in the next six months, 43% prefer HD DVD, 27% prefer Blu-ray, and 30% are undecided.

"The strength of this preference and its correlation to mainstream attributes are notable," states Michael Greeson, president and principal analyst with The Diffusion Group. "Today's high-def DVD owner is likely an early adopter with a knack for power gaming; most certainly tech-sophisticates not at all mainstream in temperament. The next wave of buyers is comprised of early mass-market consumers, a much larger segment with a focus on practical considerations such as price. It is TDG's opinion that the format which can best address the needs of mainstream consumers will emerge as the winner of this format war."
Full Story

New Web 2.0 Site Brings World's Artists to Your HDTV
Laguna Beach, California


A revolutionary new website is poised to forever change the way people find and enjoy artwork. The site, www.AmbianceVisuals.com, utilizes artist submissions and professional curation to bring talented photographers, painters and video artists from around the world direct to your flat screen television in stunning High-Definition clarity.

As the world increasingly moves away from traditional canvas-and-frame art display and embraces the infinite flexibility of digital display, AmbianceVisuals.com has become a leading provider of "Art for Your Television" content. "Our new Web 2.0 site brings artists from across the globe straight to your fingertips," says Director of Production, Justin Thomas Ostensen. "Finding quality artwork for your home or office used to entail hours of searching galleries and significant expense. AmbianceVisuals.com allows you to explore a wide range of great artwork from the comfort of your home, then easily display it on your HDTV while you're relaxing or entertaining guests."

AmbianceVisuals.com offers a broad selection of "Art for Your Television" content, including DVDs, downloads and even a "Create Your Own Custom DVD" feature where you can curate your own art DVD. It's all part of the company's goal to make enjoying art easier and more flexible. "It's virtually impossible to fit all the art you love into one house or apartment," Ostensen says, "but with AmbianceVisuals.com, you can create DVDs with dozens of great artwork. Or you can download art and create Art Playlists on your favorite media player, which are just like Music Playlists, and allow you to enjoy ever-changing artwork for hours."
Full Story

Getting the Real Scoop on Health Care Through New Online Community
Eagan, Minnesota

Eighty percent of all U.S. adults -- more than 113 million people -- have gone online to seek out health care information. According to research commissioned by Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Minnesota, two-thirds of those surveyed said one of their most valued sources of health care information comes from friends, family or other people they trust. But surprisingly, these two important elements -- health care word-of-mouth and the Internet -- haven't been combined to the benefit of consumers. Until now.

There's a new online community devoted to letting consumers share their health care experiences. TheHealthcareScoop.com, a new website, is a forum for real health care stories from real people, covering everything from the waiting room to the emergency room. Consumers also can learn about strategies to deal with a new diagnosis and information about procedures or treatments.

Developed by Consumer Aware, TheHealthcareScoop.com is a free online resource available to all consumers. The site combines the power of the Internet and the trust of a shared community to allow health care consumers and health care providers to learn from one another's experiences, creating more transparency and bringing a greater consumer focus to the health care business.
Full Story

WebMD Launches Health Center for the 2008 Presidential Election

WebMD Health Corp. is the first health portal to provide comprehensive health coverage for the 2008 presidential election. WebMD's "Health Matters in the 2008 Election" center addresses where each presidential candidate stands on health care issues, as well as candid interviews with answers straight from the candidates and expert insights.

The WebMD election site offers a comparison of the candidates' platforms on many health care issues of interest to voters. The site clearly defines the key health care topics for voters, in language that is easy to understand. The WebMD election message board allows visitors to tell their health stories and weigh in on the candidates.

"Whether you are looking for candidates' positions on health insurance, technology or Medicare, WebMD covers the key health issues for the 2008 presidential election," said Wayne Gattinella, President and Chief Executive Officer, WebMD. "As the leading brand of health information, WebMD is committed to providing the health news that matters most to voters throughout the 2008 presidential election."

WebMD's 2008 presidential election coverage is located at http://www.webmd.com/election2008.
Full Story

eStarling Releases 8-Inch Wi-Fi Digital Picture Frame Targeting Active Socially Networked Generation

eStarling, Inc., a consumer technology company, has announced the introduction of its 8-inch eStarling Wi-Fi-enabled frame. The new frame from eStarling offers a number of unique features designed to enable users of social networking sites to send and share photos outside the confines of the Internet. The frame delivers the best photo viewing quality with a screen resolution of 800 x 600 pixels powered by a hardware-based image encoding technology.

"There are millions of photos being stored on web sites today, and now customers of those sites have an alternative to viewing those photos beyond their computers and cell phones," said Andrew Caffey, senior vice president of eStarling. "By using eStarling's API, these sites will easily integrate with eStarling's online web service, www.seeframe.com, letting users duplicate their online experiences for the first time with a connected wireless digital picture frame.".
Full Story


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