West Virginia has begun preparing for the new provisions of the Affordable Care Act that will kick in next year with an online survey for the state’s health care practitioners.
The West Virginia Health Information Network’s online tool asks medical providers to answer a readiness survey about their ability to connect to a centralized data exchange, according to a release from the organization.
Centralized data exchanges are a key but controversial aspect of the law, often called Obamacare, and some state governors have announced they will opt out of the exchange program.
The results of the survey will give WVHIN information about the providers’ organizations and how the Health Information Exchange could benefit the various kinds of care, the release said.
Currently, important patient health information is often fragmented, residing in different electronic health record systems that do not communicate with each other. West Virginia’s exchange allows patient health information to be shared seamlessly and securely across disparate EHR systems.
The survey “is the starting point for providers interested in becoming a participant in the WVHIN’s Health Information Exchange,” Amber Nary, WVHIN business development manager, said in the release. “The survey helps the WVHIN understand the providers’ connectivity goals, baseline their EHR system capability to connect to the WVHIN and to gather general information about their organization."
The new online survey was developed at no cost to the West Virginia Health Information Network through the state’s self-funded electronic government program.
Posted on Feb 01, 2013 at 9:39 AM0 comments
Computer manufacturer NCS Technologies has announced its rugged, short-depth Bunker XRV-5241 server designed for tight spaces and harsh conditions on land or at sea.
The Bunker XRV-5241 is built for rugged service, from tactical military deployments to civilian emergency response and outdoor construction and transportation, the company said in an announcement. The server has a 1U form factor and meets all relevant military performance specifications, including MIL-STD-810G, MIL-S-901D and MIL-STD-167 environmental, shock and vibration requirements.
"This equipment, in a transit case, will likely be parachuted into service in tactical deployments," said John Callahan, director of marketing at NCS Technologies, in an interview with IDG News Service. The Bunker XRV-5241 can withstand a free-fall drop of around 1 meter, but for parachute deployment it needs to be packaged into the case for additional protection, IDG added.
The server's 18-inch depth enables it to fit into tight spaces, such as those found in shipboard rack environments. The redundant hot-swappable AC/DC power supplies mean the server can be deployed in land, air and sea operations with the switch of a power supply module. Low voltage kits are also available for high temperature environments, the company said.
Bunker XRV-5241 is designed for quick and easy maintenance in the field and is equipped with an enhanced KVM over LAN feature for remote appliance management.
The server is priced starting at $3,699, according to the IDG report.
Posted on Jan 31, 2013 at 9:39 AM0 comments
Stung by employee excesses at a Las Vegas conference last year, the General Services Administration is taking steps through online education to prevent a recurrence by its workers and those of other agencies as well.
GSA has announced a series of travel training courses with the assistance of D.C.-based Blackboard aimed at teaching federal workers how to behave while on travel status, reported Government Executive.
The agency is using the “big mistake we had in the last year,” when conference attendees ran up a government bill of more than $800,000, to help all federal workers learn behavior standards away from the office, Lauren Concklin, a GSA marketing analyst, was quoted as saying.
The goal of the virtual training is to reduce travel excesses – such as the activities by Secret Service agents in a Cartegena, Colombia, hotel last spring – and help agencies realize efficiencies and savings.
Among the courses GSA is offering is a basic primer on travel regulations that covers such topics as transportation, per diem and miscellaneous expense allowances. Another course will provide instruction in how to plan, coordinate and execute conferences in accordance with, among others, the Federal Travel Regulation, Executive Directives and the Government Accountability Office.
The GSA program will include a new tracking feature so that completed courses automatically will be updated into an employee’s personal file, Concklin said.
The first course was scheduled to begin in January with others to follow in February.
Posted on Jan 30, 2013 at 9:39 AM0 comments
The Transportation Security Agency is looking to search and analyze large streams of data from multiple sources as part of its investigations. TSA has awarded a contract to Nuix Inc., a company with a data processing engine it claims is capable of sifting through “a virtually unlimited quantity of unstructured data” at speeds comparable to common Internet search.
The big data company said its “server-based and mobile investigations software” was chosen by a branch of TSA’s Information Assurance & Cyber Security Division, which crunches “digital evidence” for the agency’s Inspections, Federal Air Marshals and Chief Counsel’s offices, among others.
The system would be used for rapid analysis of large amounts of data during investigations and electronic discovery operations. TSA wanted a system that could process more than 1.5T per day on a single server and 500G per day on a mobile workstation.
It also needed to search and analyze Microsoft SharePoint data, network file shares and all common forensic image formats.
“Federal, state and local agencies are clearly facing big data challenges — they have a huge backlog of time-sensitive cases and need a scalable technology that works fast enough to help them catch up,” Peter Morse, who heads Nuix’s public sector division, said in a release.
The Nuix contract was awarded as TSA is pursuing other technologies to beef up its analytics war chest. In January, it posted a call for market research for the “possible expansion of expedited aviation physical screening initiatives.”
In the research solicitation, TSA said it was “particularly interested in techniques … to use non-governmental data elements to generate an assessment of the risk to the aviation transportation system that may be posed by a specific individual, and to communicate the identity of persons who have successfully passed this risk based assessment" to TSA.
Requirements of the system include gathering the information necessary to prescreen “potentially large numbers of potential enrollees and safeguarding the personal information from loss or disclosure,” according to the research request.
Posted on Jan 24, 2013 at 9:39 AM0 comments
California, always in the forefront of avant-garde health fads, has a new San Francisco treat, this one aided by hometown tech company Yelp, a provider of online reviews and directories.
San Francisco Mayor Ed Lee last week announced a partnership with Yelp to link the city's restaurant health score data with the Yelp restaurant review website, according to GovTech.
Yelp and tech teams from San Francisco and New York created the Local Inspector Value-Entry Specification (LIVES) software for city health departments and other inspection officials to upload health inspection scores to the Yelp database.
The process has started with some San Francisco restaurants’ health inspection scores available online, with health scores for the rest of the city’s restaurants expected to be posted within the next couple of weeks, said Jay Nath, the city's chief innovation officer, in an announcement from the city. Data from New York City is expected to be added in coming weeks and Philadelphia and other cities could follow, he said.
“By making often hard-to-find government information more widely available to innovative companies like Yelp, we can make government more transparent and improve public health outcomes for our residents through the power of technology,” Lee said in a prepared statement. The mayor also chairs the U.S. Conference of Mayors Technology and Innovation Task Force.
Lee and Yelp want the restaurant health ratings system eventually to become part of the LIVES nationwide open data standard that will be open to all cities on a voluntary basis.
Posted on Jan 23, 2013 at 9:39 AM0 comments