Computer users fight to save Windows XP

Fans of the six-year-old Windows XP operating system slated for retirement in June have recently been plastering the Internet with blog posts, cartoons and petitions in an attempt to stop Microsoft from phasing it out, the Associated Press reports. Such fans trumpet its superiority to Windows Vista—Microsoft's latest PC operating system that last January was greeted with lukewarm reviews. Specifically, some users complain “about Vista's hefty hardware requirements, its less-than-peppy performance, occasional incompatibility with other programs and devices and frequent, irritating security pop-up windows,” according to the AP. For more information: the Save XP Petition is at http://weblog.infoworld.com/save-xp/ and Microsoft's Windows support timeline is at http://support.microsoft.com/gp/lifepolicy (Mintz, AP/Yahoo! News, 4/14/08).

Safety-net clinics can benefit from shared EHR networks, report finds

A new report released by the California HealthCare Foundation (CHCF) suggests that community and public health clinics should collaborate to acquire and maintain an electronic health record (EHR) network to boost adoption of the systems, Government Health IT reports. Prepared by Manatt Health Solutions, the report indicates that EHR networks can be more advantageous for safety-net clinics than EHR systems purchased individually. Specifically, CHCF defines an EHR network “as an information technology partnership focused on community clinics and health centers that provides services to support the adoption of EHRs and other applications.” Noting that clinic networks share a common mission and aim to serve particular patient populations, the report authors suggest that EHR systems, as well as related requirements and training, can be adapted to meet the agencies' specific needs. The report acknowledges, however, that implementing an EHR network may seem more expensive despite economies of scale because the implementation is much more involved than typical vendor-customer relationships (Ferris, Government Health IT, 4/11/08; CHCF report, April 2008).

MySpace launches in South Korea, predicts success

MySpace's CEO on Tuesday announced that its U.S. networking Web site will launch and subsequently thrive in the South Korean market because it pays more attention to local culture than its competitors, the Associated Press reports. Specifically, he noted the Korean-language site includes a new feature called a "Minilog," which is way for Korean youths to jot down everyday thoughts and feelings in a few hundred characters. The feature also has options to personalize stamps and backgrounds to resemble different types of notebook paper. The AP reports, however, that MySpace will likely face stiff competition from local social-networking sites such as Cyworld “in a market that has typically shunned U.S. online services popular elsewhere in the world” (Kim, AP/Yahoo! News, 4/15/08).

Microsoft acquires Danger software maker

Microsoft recently completed its purchase of cellphone software maker Danger Inc. for an undisclosed price, the Puget Sound Business Journal reports. Specifically, Danger makes software that enables users to use Web browsing, instant messaging, games, social networking, web e-mail and multimedia on their handsets. According to officials, Microsoft will incorporate Danger into its new premium mobile experiences subsidiary (Puget Sound Business Journal, 4/15/08).

Indiana college, Dell partner for IT deal

Indiana-based Ivy Tech Community College has formed a three-year partnership with Dell Inc. to help lower the cost of information technology (IT) at Ivy Tech's 23 campuses, Business First of Louisville reports. Under the agreement, the schools will receive discounted pricing on laptop and desktop computers, enabling Ivy Tech to save roughly $1.3 million annually, according to a news release. In addition to purchases for the classroom, Ivy Tech faculty, staff and students also will receive discounts on personal computers (Business First of Louisville, 4/14/08).

Medical groups join call for Web child privacy protections

A coalition of medical groups and children's advocates on Friday called for guidelines that would prevent marketers from tracking the online behavior of minors, arguing that many adolescents divulge more information than they realize and do not understand Web sites' privacy policies, the Los Angeles Times reports. The American Academy of Pediatrics and American Psychological Association were among the groups asking the U.S. Federal Trade Commission to issue rules barring the Internet industry from profiling adolescents' Web activities, including monitoring their site visits and posted interests on social networking sites such as MySpace and Facebook (Menn/Semuels, Los Angeles Times, 4/12/08).

Massachusetts researchers tout new electronic public health reporting system

Researchers from Harvard Pilgrim Health Care, Harvard University Medical School, Atrius Health and the Massachusetts Department of Public Health have developed an electronic data tracking system designed to improve public health reporting, Healthcare IT News reports. Featured in the federal Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s (CDC) April 11 Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report, the Electronic Medical Record Support for Public Health (ESP) system launched as a test in January 2007 at Atrius Health, a multi-specialty physician group serving roughly 600,000 patients in Eastern Massachusetts. Specifically, ESP, created with a CDC Center of Excellence in Public Health Informatics grant, automatically scans electronic medical records to identify public health risks and electronically reports their details to the health department. Thus far, the program can detect seven infections including active tuberculosis; acute hepatitis A, B and C; Chlamydia; gonorrhoea; and pelvic inflammatory disease. Researchers note that ESP across one year helped report roughly 40 percent more cases of Chlamydia and 50 percent more cases of gonorrhoea, compared to traditional paper-based reporting efforts. In addition, ESP more accurately reported complete information such as noting whether the infected patient was pregnant and whether appropriate antibiotics were prescribed. In light of the findings, researchers suggest ESP can save time by automating paper-based surveillance tasks, as well as ensure more complete, timely and accurate disease reports (Pizzi, Healthcare IT News, 4/11/08; Harvard Medical School release, 4/10/08).

Electronic patient monitoring systems market slated to double by 2012

According to a market study by life sciences research firm Kalorama Information, electronic patient monitoring systems earned roughly $3.9 billion for manufacturers in 2007, and the market will likely more than double within the next five years, Healthcare IT News reports. The "High-Tech Patient Monitoring Systems" study notes that both an aging population and the shortage of health care workers are spurring development of systems to remotely monitor patients, process data and alert health care workers if problems arise. Other information underscored in the report: such systems can help reduce costs, better manage chronic conditions and limit patients’ hospital stays. Meanwhile, report authors suggest that the most useful patient monitoring systems are "intelligent" ones that can read data based on pre-programmed algorithms for specific conditions and automatically report abnormal readings to a health care worker or physician. One analyst for Kalorama adds that some systems can even incorporate built-in video and audio interfaces so patients and physicians can communicate (Pizzi, Healthcare IT News, 4/11/08).

AMD leader resigns with no plans for replacement

Chip maker Advanced Micro Devices (AMD) Inc. on Friday announced the resignation of Phil Hester, its chief technology officer and vice president, the The Business Review (Albany) reports. Hester's resignation comes as the chip maker struggles with tough competition from Intel Corp. and delays in the launch of new products, however the company has no plans to replace Hester, the Review reports. Meanwhile, reports released last week indicated AMD plans to cut its work force by 10 percent, as well as a larger decline in first quarter revenue than projected. AMD also recently announced plans to build a $3.2 billion chip plant in Luther Forest Technology Campus in Saratoga County, N.Y., and has until July 2009 to commit to the project and receive $1.2 billion in state incentives. According to AMD officials, the job cuts will not impact the Luther Forest project (The Business Review (Albany), 4/14/08).

Colorado tech leader outlines top 10 business infrastructure concerns

Jonathan Senger, CEO of Lakewood-based INITECH, which provides managed services and comprehensive technology solutions, writes in Friday’s Denver Business Journal about the top 10 largely overlooked technology infrastructure concerns among companies. He notes that, “while most onsite IT staff has the skill set to address and maintain a certain aspect of the network environment, most lack the multiple skill sets required to address the network infrastructure as a whole.” In no particular order, here are a few examples of the top 10 trouble spots companies routinely miss in technology infrastructure: Infrastructure standardization; Centralization business continuity and disaster recovery; Network security; Licensing and open-source alternatives; and Deployment of VoIP (Senger, Denver Business Journal, 4/11/08).

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