He’s got an idea for homeless vets,
The Veterans Affairs Department is asking for help from a rock star as well as the Housing and Urban Development Department to promote the creation of a new mobile information technology application to benefit homeless veterans.
Deputy Secretary of Veterans Affairs W. Scott Gould was joined by HUD Secretary Shaun Donovan and rock band leader Jon Bon Jovi in a telephone news briefing to launch what they are calling Project REACH, or Real-time Electronic Access for Caregivers and the Homeless.
The aim of the project is to launch a federal competition to induce software developers to come up with “a user-friendly application that provides real-time information” to “assist service providers in aiding homeless veterans and others in need locate available shelters, meals and care,” according to a news release. There will be five $10,000 semifinal prize winners and a $25,000 grand-prize winner. More information about the contest is available at reach the homeless.challenge.gov.
Speaking from Soul Kitchen, the Jon Bon Jovi Soul Foundation’s restaurant for the needy in Red Bank, N.J., the rocker said the idea for the application competition came during a conversation he had with former White House Chief Technology Officer Aneesh Chopra. The New Jerseyborn rocker, who serves on the White House Council for Community Solutions, explained that after a patron of the restaurant had lingered there longer than usual, staff realized the man had nowhere else to go.
“It led us to the Internet,” Bon Jovi recalled. Sure enough, a local shelter had a Web page, but “what it didn’t inform us of was the hours and the bed availabilities.” While some people who are homeless are working and may have access to a cellphone, others do not, he said, but, “they’re coming to places like the Soul Kitchen or going to health services” where there are persons with Internet and mobile device access and “some people like me who want to help.”
Docs behaving badly, online edition
“One does not place anything into cyberspace one would not wish to have stenciled large on the skin of the Met Life blimp,” was the advice offered by Chicago radio journalist Dave Mcbride in a March 2002 letter to Chicago media columnist Robert Feder. Ten years later, it’s a lesson that is still going unheeded by some doctors.
According to a research letter published in the Journal of the American Medical Association, most state medical licensing boards have reported cases of “physician violations of online professionalism,” and some of these violations have resulted in serious disciplinary actions such as license revocation or suspension.
Researchers from the University of California at San Francisco, Washington D.C. Veterans Affairs Medical Center, Yale School of Medicine and others surveyed directors from licensing boards across the U.S. and its territories in a study funded by the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation and the Veterans Affairs Department.
Inappropriate online patient communication or sexual misconduct was reported by 33 boards (69%) of those responding. Also, 30 boards (63%) reported cases of inappropriate practices such as Internet prescribing for patients they did not have an established clinical relation- ship with; and 29 boards (60%) reported cases of online misrepresentation of credentials.
“Our findings highlight the need to promote physician understanding and self-monitoring of online professionalism and to create consensus-driven, broadly disseminated principles to guide physicians toward high-integrity interactions online,” the authors concluded.
An army of doctors
Outliers, we must confess, loves trivia and factoids. So we were fascinated to run across a Bloomberg story with a rather startling statistic: The National Health Service in the United Kingdom is the world’s fourth-largest employer, behind only the Chinese Army, Indian Railways and Wal-mart Stores.
Sort of gives you an image of NHS doctors in the trenches in a battle with the Chinese Army. Or Wal-mart. You know some of those greeters have some kind of retail combat experience.
But a little research (and we do mean a little) turned up yet more statistics, via the Economist, that say the U.S. Defense Department is the world’s largest employer, based on 2010 data. Take that Chinese Army! Our armed friends in China rank only No. 2, according to the Economist, with Wal-mart at No. 3. The NHS has the No. 6 spot, with 1.4 million workers, tying with the Indian railroad.
We’re not sure which of the stats are most reliable, or how the data were parsed and interpreted, which could explain the discrepancies. Outliers is just glad to have some ammunition on hand the next time the subject comes up.
Bon Jovi is giving his support to a hightech challenge to help homeless vets.
Bad behavior in cyberspace? Some docs learn the hard way why that’s like advertising on a blimp.