News 4/1/10

Verizon Wireless

New iPhone for Verizon Wireless? According to a Wall Street Journal report, Apple plans to begin producing a CDMA version of the iPhone later this year. While the vast majority of the world uses the GSM standard currently supported by the iPhone, Verizon Wireless, Sprint Nextel Corp. and a handful of cellular operators in countries including South Korea and Japan operate on CDMA. Does this signal the end of AT&T’s exclusivity – which is largely credited for making AT&T the dominant smartphone leader? According to comScore Inc., AT&T has over 43% of all U.S. smart-phone customers, compared with 23% for Verizon.

iPad Release

iPad in stores this Saturday at 9am. If my survey is any indication of interest, I suggest you arrive early if you hope to get one this weekend.

PayFlex announces first mobile app for HSAs and FSAs. PayFlex Mobile will allow consumers to access and act on all elements of their personalized healthcare financial benefits including Health Savings Accounts (HSAs), Flexible Spending Accounts, (FSAs), and Health Reimbursement Arrangements (HRAs) from anywhere and at anytime. PayFlex Systems USA, Inc., an employee benefits program administrator, is piloting the application with several large customers and expects to release it to its general customer base this summer.

HMAA

Hawaii Medical Assurance Association launches free iPhone app to help members find docs. The app gives users the names of participating providers, maps, phone numbers and access to HMAA’s Web site to find information about the insurer’s nearly 6,000 mainland doctors, clinics and more.

janet-dillione-siemens-medical-ceo

Nuance appoints Janet Dillione, Former CEO of Siemens Health Services, to lead Nuance’s healthcare business. As Executive Vice President and General Manager of Nuance’s Healthcare business, Ms. Dillione will lead Nuance’s efforts to transform the way healthcare organizations document, share and utilize clinical information. Ms. Dillione will report to Paul Ricci, Nuance’s chairman and CEO.

In an abysmal week for news, I couldn’t help but point out the following:  NHIN won’t funnel information to CIA: Blumenthal. In an article published by Modern Healthcare, Dr. David Blumenthal, head of HHS’ Office of the National Coordinator for Health Information Technology, is credited for the following quote during a March 24th meeting of the Health IT Standards Committee:

“The other thing I wanted to clarify—it didn’t come up here, but it’s been circulating in the blogosphere—has to do with some speculation about whether NIEM [National Information Exchange Model] is some kind of Trojan horse for government control over health information… That is, because it is a government-developed mechanism for generating standards and implementation specifications, might it make it easier for health information to be transmitted, or might it make it inevitable that it is transmittable to the Department of Justice, the Department of Homeland Security, the CIA, the NSA—I don’t know where else. And the answer to that question is absolutely no… I just want to say that for the record, absolutely no. And the Office of the National Coordinator would not participate in a standards development process that led to that.”

I find this quote hilarious. First, anyone who thinks the NHIN is some kind of elaborate data-mining exercise for the benefit of the CIA, NSA, DoJ, etc… is just a little too far out in left field for my liking. Such a conspiracy would require far too much coordination and organization – which we know our various national clandestine organizations do not possess. After all, isn’t the problem that there’s already too much information to wade-through?

My second reason for finding the quote hilarious – the NHIN is an elaborate data-mining exercise funded by the national government. Of course it will be used by every government agency that can get its hands on it. We’re talking about many of the same people that have no problem tapping telephone lines and eavesdropping on cell phone conversations. I find it extraordinarily inadvisable for Dr. Blumenthal to be making such pronouncements. It’s naive and only adds fuel to the fire. Besides, the data incursions will almost certainly not happen on Dr. Blumenthal’s watch. The NHIN’s just not that useful yet.

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