Better Living Through Technology
Even though the details are still being worked out in Congress, it looks likely that health reform will be written into legislation this year. Exactly when new health reforms will be implemented and accessible to consumers, and how they will impact people is not well understood. A new consumer poll suggests that some Americans could be delaying health insurance coverage while waiting for health reform. Overall, the research shows that there is considerable variation in people’s expectations for health reform and many expectations do not match up with the proposals being debated in Congress. For example, many people surveyed believe the new health reforms will be implemented and accessible within 12 months of legislation being passed, yet in reality key elements of the bill may not be effective until 2014. The mean dollar amount that Americans polled expect to pay for a government-provided health insurance option is $121 per month.
In a different but related topic, I find it interesting that the availability of pet health insurance is now becoming so commonplace that it is the third most requested employee benefit. Major corporations like Home Depot, Blockbuster Video, and many others now offer pet health insurance to their employees. There are not just a handful of pet insurance companies out there either. Google “pet health insurance” and you will see what I mean. It behooves one to do some research before buying a policy because the same variables and options apply as in shopping for your own health insurance: Exclusions for pre-existing conditions, preventive care versus long-term care coverage, prescription coverage, coverage while away from home, lifetime maximum coverage, deductibles and co-payments, and preauthorization for treatment, among others. Some policies will only cover pets under a certain age. Many insurers let you opt out of routine care coverage so you can just have coverage that lets you be prepared for your pet’s unexpected health issues. Pet insurance shopping tips and feedback from consumers can be found at about.com.
Now that I am working in the medical documentation field, I am following the progression of adoption of use of electronic health records (EHRs) and personal health records (PHRs) with interest. With the latest in health information technology also available now to veterinarian facilities, it is no wonder a new industry for companies who provide pet PHRs is emerging. MyPetsFile.com is one such vendor. Similar to human PHRs, users can enter information manually or have their pet’s data uploaded by the veterinarian from their office. The data uploaded by the veterinarian cannot be altered, but additional information such as diet and exercise can be entered by the owner. Their service also includes an emergency card that vets can swipe to upload the animal’s medical records so owners don’t have to worry about recollecting prescription or immunization information when away from home. This is still the early adoption stage for HIT among veterinarians. The system only works if vets have electronic data and are willing to share it.
In other articles of interest in this first TMIS eNewsletter of 2010, pharmaceutical medical information call centers are finding their services less in demand as information age users discover it is easier than ever to get product information from websites or weblogs. Medline, the leading provider of examination gloves in the US, offers a “Generation Pink” exam glove with a portion of the profit going to the National Breast Cancer Foundation. Also in time for the new year, security predictions, things to watch, and technology trends are here. Social networking sites are expected to become one of the most important vectors of infection in 2010, along with spam and phishing attempts aimed at their users. Many of the trends cited in “100 Things to Watch in 2010" are consequences of the Great Recession and others point to the ways industries are redefining themselves to survive or to fully leverage accelerating demographic, political, and economic power shifts. Customers in this economy will be more discerning and demanding than ever. Businesses will have no choice but to empower customer-facing workers with mobility to differentiate on service and create competitive advantage.
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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Health Care Reform: New Consumer Poll Suggests Some Could Be Delaying Coverage
Mountain View, California
When given a choice between waiting for health reform legislation to pass or researching and seeking health insurance coverage immediately, 24% of adults surveyed would choose to wait before seeking coverage if they lost their coverage today, according to a new poll. Of those that were uninsured, more than two-in-five (44%) would choose to wait for reform legislation to pass before seeking coverage. Among the insured, one in five (21%) would wait, if they lost their coverage today.
The poll, conducted in December 2009 by Opinion Research Corporation and sponsored by eHealth, Inc., reveals public perceptions about health care reform as Americans wait for reform legislation to make its way through Congress. "This study reflects what we are hearing from people every day," said Gary Lauer, president and CEO of eHealth, Inc. "While waiting for health insurance reform, some Americans are unsure what to do about their health coverage needs today. We believe health reform will happen and that it may hold promise for a better system, but consumers shouldn't risk going without coverage. Until reform is written into law and becomes effective, Americans need to know that there are already a number of viable health insurance options in the non-group market for individuals and families today."
Pet Health Insurance Market Expected to Reach Over $650 Million by 2010
Jericho, New York
Social Media Ventures, Inc. has announced that its social networking site for pet enthusiasts, PetsPlaces.com will now offer pet health insurance, one of the fastest growing services in the booming pet industry. Americans currently spend $51 billion annually on their pets as reported in a BusinessWeek story. Veterinary Care ranks as one of the largest expenses, which the American Veterinary Association reports costs pet owners more than $18 billion annually. In addition, The American Animal Hospital Association reported that 73 percent of pet owners are willing to go into debt to pay for their pet's medical expenses.
Pet insurance is an increasingly popular way for pet owners to mitigate these medical expenses. According to a CNBC report, Pet health insurance is the third most requested employee benefit. To meet this growing demand, major corporations like Home Depot and Blockbuster Video now offer employees pet health insurance. "Pet health insurance is one of the fastest growing subsets of the booming pet market," said Robert W. Thayer, CEO of Social Media Ventures, Inc. "We are very excited to now offer pet health insurance to our social networking site for pet enthusiasts, PetsPlaces.com." The pet health insurance is made available through an affiliate program provided to Social Media Ventures for PetPlaces.com.
Information Age Forces Strategic Shifts in Medical Information Call Centers, According to New Cutting Edge Information Report
Triangle Park, North Carolina
Pharmaceutical medical information call centers face challenging times ahead. Most call center leaders find their call loads decreasing as the information age makes it easier for doctors and patients to find product information on websites or via weblogs. Furthermore, the increasing prevalence of medical science liaisons imparting medically based information on physicians is starting to encroach upon the tasks once handled only by medical information call centers.
The newest report from pharmaceutical business intelligence leader Cutting Edge Information, "Evolving Medical Information Call Centers through Performance Measurement and Process Improvement," available at www.MedicalInformationCallCenters.com, aims to help medical information leaders deal with the changing environment.
Medline Launches New 'Generation Pink Exam Glove Featuring Patented 3G Technology With Greater Flexibility and Protection
As part of its ongoing campaign to raise breast cancer awareness, Medline Industries, Inc., the nation's largest privately held manufacturer and distributor of medical supplies, today announced the launch of its "Generation Pink" powder-free synthetic exam glove. To aide the awareness effort, Medline will donate $1.00 to the National Breast Cancer Foundation for each case of the new pink glove purchased during the month of October, national Breast Cancer Awareness Month.
The new Generation Pink exam glove features Medline's patented third generation technology, an advanced polymer formulation that offers outstanding sensitivity with a unique softness and flexibility. "The new Generation Pink glove is not only a tangible symbol of our ongoing commitment to breast cancer awareness and research, but our customers will also be showing their support every time they wear them," said Tripp Amdur, president of Medline's Glove Division. "At the same time, Generation Pink's patented third generation synthetic technology provides healthcare workers with the tactile sensitivity, fit and barrier protection that enables facilities to go latex-free."
Top Security Predictions for 2010: Threats to Social Networking Sites, Operating Systems, and Cloud Computing Technologies Are Predicted to Increase; Botnets Will Remain Popular in 2010
Botnets, malicious applications and social networking malware are all threats to look out for in 2010, according to BitDefender. BitDefender, an award-winning provider of innovative anti-malware security solutions, also predicts that in 2010 cybercriminals will target operating systems, mobile devices and enterprise technologies such as cloud computing.
"2009 saw a wide range of security threats aiming at both end-users and at corporate networks," said Catalin Cosoi, BitDefender's senior anti-spam researcher. "The Conficker worm took a dramatic surge and managed to stay one of the top three global threats during 2009. Although not entirely dangerous, its spreading mechanisms and its resistance to detection may be regarded as the cornerstone of the upcoming breeds of highly destructive malware."
BitDefender's 2010 security predictions include:
Spam sent by botnets will be at the core of malware threats in 2010. We will also see some distributed denial of service attacks, as proof of concepts for the future or possible customers of the botnets. If a client wants to rent a botnet, but he is not sure of the capabilities of the network, he might want to see a demonstration of power.
The majority of malicious applications are oriented towards illicit financial gain. BitDefender estimates that 2010 will bring an increased amount of malware, especially adware applications and rogue antivirus software. More complex malware, such as rootkit-based file infectors and worms relying on multiple vectors of infection (e-mail, instant messaging and peer-to-peer protocols) are also expected to increase.
100 Things to Watch in 2010: Annual List Includes Energy Dieting, "Nutrition Washing," Slow Communication
New York, New York
JWT, the world's best-known marketing communications brand has released its list of 100 Things to Watch in 2010. "Many of the items on our list reflect broader shifts we've been following, from growing awareness and action around health and wellness and the environment to warp-speed developments in technology," says Ann Mack, director of trendspotting at JWT. "Our list also shows how accelerating demographic, political and economic power shifts are manifesting in our everyday lives. And it points to the way industries are redefining or reinventing themselves to survive or to fully leverage these power shifts."
This year, many of JWT's Things to Watch reflect repercussions of the Great Recession, from "energy dieting" to "luxury goes East" to "trip bundling." The people on the list -- from pop culture, sports, politics and other sectors -- have the potential to drive or shape trends in the near future.
Antenna's 10 Mobile Technology Trends for 2010: The Cloud, Torrents of Apps and Endless Stream of Devices Will Fuel Mobile
Antenna Software, delivering real business mobility to the world's most demanding enterprises, announced today the 10 mobile technology trends that will most impact the market in 2010. With the "consumerization of the enterprise" in full swing, the mobile market is now experiencing a rapid proliferation of mobile devices, software and applications in the enterprise. While this increasingly diverse technology landscape may present some management challenges, it will likely be offset by the unprecedented opportunities and choices available for satisfying business requirements and driving innovation.
To help enterprises stay ahead of the mobility curve in 2010, Antenna has identified the following key industry trends to consider when defining their mobile and IT strategy:
1) The Big Productivity Squeeze: Smart companies have proven that mobility allows them to run lean, and also helps to increase worker productivity and improve customer satisfaction at every touch point in the field. Because of this, many experts believe the mobility market is poised for double-digit growth at a time when overall IT spending is predicted to remain flat to marginally down over the next 12-18 months. According to IDC's Worldwide Mobile Middleware 2009-2013 Forecast and 2008 Vendor Shares (Doc # 219186) from July 2009, the mobile middleware market is expected to grow from $853.8 million in 2008 to $1.6 billion in 2013, at a CAGR of 13.6 percent.
2) Left to Their Own Devices: Forward-looking IT departments will stop fretting over personally liable devices and embrace them as a potential means to improved user satisfaction, higher adoption, better productivity and lower costs. In the long run, many will realize it is not feasible to standardize on just one device platform. The iPhone has taken the enterprise by storm and we believe the same will be true for Android and other future devices.
3) App Stores Ready for Business: There are thousands of apps in consumer app stores today, but only a fraction are relevant for the enterprise. Moreover, businesses want to be able to vet and control their mobile enterprise applications, as well as deploy and provision them in a highly secure, reliable and manageable fashion. Company branded and controlled app stores will enable enterprises to do just that, easily accommodating a wide range of users on multiple and varied devices.
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