He’s got an idea for home­less vets,

Modern Healthcare - - NEWS -

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.

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