Physician here. Medicare/Medicaid is tied to really arcane and often inane rules. You must document X of this and Y of that and word it in a specific way to get paid. What you actually do for the patient does not always matter but the way you document it makes a big difference. EMR has made it easier to conform to the rules and makes sure you write notes that can be easily billed for. It has simplified documenting for things that are tedious to do on paper (like review of systems, and counseling).
thsoundman sends in a blog post from Rahul Sood, CTO of HP's gaming business, who claims there was once a project in development at Microsoft to let Xbox users compete against PC users playing the same game. According to Sood, the project was killed because the console players kept getting destroyed by their PC counterparts. He wrote, "Those of us who have been in the gaming business for over a decade know the real deal. You simply don't get the same level of detail or control as you do with a PC over a console. It's a real shame that Microsoft killed this — because had they kept it alive it might have actually increased the desire of game developers and gamers alike to continue developing and playing rich experiences on the PC, which would trickle down to the console as it has in the past."
An anonymous reader writes "Think you're a big gamer? According to a new study from market research firm NPD Group, to be considered among the real hardcore you'll need to play an average of 48.5 hours a week — nearly seven hours a day. This group of gamers is, on average, '29 years old, and — perhaps surprisingly — one-third of them are female. They're more likely to play on consoles than on the PC, and on average they've purchased 24 titles in the past three months — a bill that could easily run over a thousand dollars. But dedicated though they may be, the Extreme Gamers are just a small minority: a mere 4% of the US's 174-million-strong gaming public. '"
Administrators at England's Worthing Hospital are insisting that doctors say the magic word when writing orders for blood tests on weekends. If a doctor refuses to write "please" on the order, the test will be refused. From the article: "However, a doctor at the hospital said on condition of anonymity that he sees the policy as a money-saving measure that could prove dangerous for patients. 'I was shocked to come in on Sunday and find none of my bloods had been done from the night before because I'd not written "please,"' the doctor said. 'I had no results to guide treatment of patients. Myself and a senior nurse had to take the bloods ourselves, which added hours to our 12-hour shifts. This system puts patients' lives at risk. Doctors are wasting time doing the job of the technicians.'"
Eraesr writes "Apparently Valve boss Gabe Newell thinks the PS3 needs to be more of an open platform, drawing a comparison to Apple's Mac platform. In an interview with 5BY5.TV, he said he would like to see the PS3 be 'open like a Mac' instead of being 'more closed like a Gamecube.' 'Platform investments, like the Mac, are difficult because you have to be aware of what direction that platform is moving,' Newell said, referring to the firm's recent move onto Macs with its titles and distribution service Steam. 'We need to target platforms that do a better job of looking like where we want to be in a few years.'"
__roo writes "American researchers think they have found the answer to the question of why overhearing cell phone chats are annoying. According to scientists at Cornell University, when only half of the conversation is overheard, it drains more attention and concentration than when overhearing two people talking. According to one researcher, 'We have less control to move away our attention from half a conversation (or halfalogue) than when listening to a dialogue. Since halfalogues really are more distracting and you can't tune them out, this could explain why people are irritated.' Their study will be published in the journal Psychological Science."
Stoobalou writes "Sony says that it has no intention of reimbursing retailers if they offer users partial refunds for fat PS3s. Last week, the first PS3 user successfully secured a partial refund from Amazon UK as compensation for the removal of the ability to run Linux on the console. The user quoted European law in order to persuade the online retailer that the goods he had bought in good faith were no longer fit for his purposes because of the enforcement of firmware update 3.21, which meant that users who chose to keep the Other OS functionality would lose the ability to play the latest games or connect to the PlayStation Network."
Joe Helfrich writes "Ubisoft's Settlers 7 servers have been causing problems for over a week for users worldwide, and Australian gamers are hardly able to connect at all. 'The problem reportedly strikes after the game has already confirmed an active Internet connection, and prevents the user from playing even the single-player campaign, returning the error "server not available." But they are available, because other people are logged into them and merrily playing away.' Wonder how they're going to describe this one as an attack."
timothy writes "As places to study what happens to corpses, the Atlantic Ocean is both much larger and much more specialized than the famous 'body farm' in Knoxville, TN. But for all kinds of good reasons, sending human bodies into Davy Jones' locker just to see where they float and how they bloat is unpopular. Pigs don't pay taxes, and more importantly, they don't vote. So Canadian scientists have taken to using them as human-body proxies, to study what happens when creatures of similar size and hairlessness (aka, us) end up 86ed and in the drink."
Hugh Pickens writes "The LA Times reports that Orange County officials are locked in a legal battle with a couple accused of violating city ordinances for replacing the grass on their lawn with wood chips and drought-tolerant plants, reducing their water usage from 299,221 gallons in 2007 to 58,348 gallons in 2009. The dispute began two years ago, when Quan and Angelina Ha tore out the grass in their front yard. In drought-plagued Southern California, the couple said, the lush grass had been soaking up tens of thousands of gallons of water — and hundreds of dollars — each year. 'We've got a newborn, so we want to start worrying about her future,' said Quan Ha, an information technology manager for Kelley Blue Book. But city officials told the Has they were violating several city laws that require that 40% of residential yards to be landscaped predominantly with live plants. Last summer, the couple tried to appease the city by building a fence around the yard and planting drought-tolerant greenery — lavender, rosemary, horsetail, and pittosporum, among others. But according to the city, their landscaping still did not comply with city standards. At the end of January, the Has received a letter saying they had been charged with a misdemeanor violation and must appear in court. The couple could face a maximum penalty of six months in jail and a $1,000 fine for their grass-free, eco-friendly landscaping scheme. 'It's just funny that we pay our taxes to the city and the city is now prosecuting us with our own money,' says Quan Ha."
sonamchauhan writes "A Londoner helped his wife deliver their baby by Googling 'how to deliver a baby' on his mobile phone. From the article: 'Today proud Mr Smith said: "The midwife had checked Emma earlier in the day but contractions started up again at about 8pm so we called the midwife to come back. But then everything happened so quickly I realized Emma was going to give birth. I wasn't sure what I was going to do so I just looked up the instructions on the internet using my BlackBerry."'"