HealthLeaders Media IT - January 8, 2008 | Aetna Takes the Plunge
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Aetna Takes the Plunge
Gary Baldwin, Technology Editor

Buried in the blizzard of year-end holiday distractions was an announcement from Aetna that could prove, in hindsight, to be one of those watershed events. Just before Christmas (probably the least effective time to put out a press release), the insurance giant said it will pay for Web visit consultations to physicians in more than 30 specialties. Aetna has hooked up with RelayHealth, an online connectivity vendor that was acquired by another giant, McKesson, in June 2006. [Read More]
January 8, 2008
Editor's Picks
California data-breach law now covers medical information
A new California law expands the state's existing data-breach notification law to include unencrypted medical histories, information on mental or physical conditions, and medical treatments and diagnoses. Under the law, California residents must now be notified when their electronic medical information or health insurance information has been exposed. This law may help allay consumers' fears about online health information. But I'm not sure what it will do to help spur the adoption of the IT the industry needs. There is virtually no way to know who has gained inappropriate access to a paper medical record, whereas electronic systems usually include auditing trails. [Read More]

Technology cuts risk of surgical sponges
Here's a Chicago story on another use of RFID-enabled tracking, which I cover in the January issue of HealthLeaders magazine. In this instance, hospitals are keeping tabs on sponges, the most common foreign objects left behind in surgeries, according to several medical-device companies. Now, spiking costs are forcing providers to tighten surgical procedures aimed at making sure sponges are not left inside patients. Retrieving a sponge in a redo surgery can cost $50,000 or more, the Chicago Tribune notes. [Read More]

Make a mistake, and this mannequin dies
Massachusetts General Hospital and the Center for Integration of Medicine and Innovative Technology are teaming up to build a life-like "smart" patient dummy for the military. These patient simulators enable residents and interns to practice difficult procedures before facing the real thing in a clinical setting. [Read More]

Tech Headlines
i-Snake 'will transform surgery'
BBC News - December 8, 2008

Magnet hospitals rely on IT
Health Data Management - January 8, 2008
Events & Product News
Nurse's product battles germs

Allscripts acquires Extended Care Information Network
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  • Not Just 'Techies' Anymore

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  • IT Leaders Forum

    Regulations, Lack of Capital Hinder Technology Adoption: Only in healthcare do capable, well-intentioned individuals, groups, government entities and corporate organizations attempt to introduce major change without actively involving the industry participants, particularly practicing physicians, who are the pivotal players in the system, says contributor Robert Trinka. [Read More]
    Audio Feature

    Listen: Using the Web to Connect With Patients: Peter Goldschmidt, MD, founder of the Health Improvement Institute in Bethesda, MD, discusses the Web strategies of leading healthcare organizations.
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