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Submission + - Upcoming Nasa Announcement 1

to_kallon writes: Following yesterday's story on an upcoming December 2 announcement from Nasa regarding extra-terrestrial life I came across articles at The Sun and MailOnline. In a press conference scheduled for tomorrow evening, researchers will unveil the discovery of the incredible microbe — which substitutes arsenic for phosphorus to sustain its growth — in a lake in California. Astrobiologist Dr Lewis Dartnell, of the Centre for Planetary Sciences in London, said yesterday: "This is exciting. If these organisms use arsenic in their metabolism, it demonstrates that there are other forms of life to those we knew of."

Comment Watered-down quality results? (Score 1) 398

I read the linked Harvard study (I know, unprecedented!). I found the measurements a little misleading -- and I'd appreciate any contrary opinions on this. The degree of computerization was measured by taking the number of electronic systems that the hospital uses and dividing it by 24 (the total number of computer systems they measured). These computer systems included things like "patient billing", "staff scheduling", and "materials management". Not that those things are unimportant in and of themselves, but when we count those towards being a "computerized" hospital, it tends to water down the importance of other computer systems. For example, a hospital that uses a computer to make their nurse schedules and credit collection is considered as computerized as a hospital that uses computerized physician order entry (CPOE) and electronic medical records (EMR). I don't think you can group those two together and say they belong in the same category when analyzing quality of healthcare at a hospital.
The study actually presents a sub-analysis of quality measures for hospital that use CPOE and EMR and shows that there are significant quality improvements when these systems are used. I think that when we talk about computerizing hospital processes, these are the systems that we consider -- not whether HR uses computers for payroll. I think it is a little disengenuous for the conclusions of this study (and reporting thereof) to state that there is no relationship between computerization and quality of care.
Disclaimer: Without CPOE and EMR, I would be unemployed :)

Comment Baloney (Score 2, Interesting) 398

I worked on an EHR procurement process for the last several years and, yes, there's a LOT of crapware out there, but I have seen systems deployed that were almost entirely reliant on the input of the actual front-line providers and they'd sooner saw off their own arms than go back to paper records.

"They should start working now to have all records be electronic, X-rays, MRIs, personal history, etc. should be in formats that can be directly shared between doctors."

They already do. It's called HL7. It's been around for twenty years. Teleradiology is nothing terribly new anymore either.

As for "having a doctor or nurse putting in billing codes," look, if they're worth half their salt, they can already rattle off the ICD9/10 codes with sufficient accuracy from memory that it's actually faster than scribbling the condition on paper.

Yes, even GOOD systems can fail if deployed poorly. ITFA they admitted "we sucked when we used paper, then we went to computers and lo-and-behold, we still sucked just as badly, almost precisely so, ergo, we're pretty sure it was the computer's fault." This is a typical case of bad management pointing the finger at the technology to cover their own incompetence. I'm sure when they were on paper they blamed the f'ing pencils.


Why Is Connectivity So Cheap In Stockholm? 443

lpress writes "Symmetric, 100 Mbps service in Stockholm, costs $11/month. Conditions in every city are different, but part of the explanation for the low cost is that the city owns a municipal fiber network reaching every block. They lease network access to anyone who would like to offer service. The ISPs, including incumbent telephone and cable companies, compete on an equal footing."

Submission + - IBM Works to Host the Internet

to_kallon writes: We'll hand it to IBM's researchers. They think big — really big. Like holy-crap-what-have-you-done big.
The Register shares details of an IBM research paper which has recently come to light: [The] research paper that shows IBM working on a computing system capable "of hosting the entire internet as an application." This mega system relies on a re-tooled version of IBM's Blue Gene supercomputers.
"We hypothesize that for a large class of web-scale workloads the Blue Gene/P platform is an order of magnitude more efficient to purchase and operate than the commodity clusters in use today," the IBM researchers wrote.
A typical configuration would include four 850MHz PowerPC cores arranged in a system-on-a-chip model with built-in memory and interconnect controllers. You can take 32 of these "nodes" and pop them onto a card. Then you have 16 of those cards slot into a midplane. Each server rack has two midplanes, leaving you with 1024 nodes and 2TB of memory. In theory, you can connect up to 16,384 racks, providing up to 67.1m cores with 32PB of memory. That'll get some work done.

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