This month let me share some news articles I found of interest. The first is from a Connecticut Better Business Bureau News Release on "Robocalls" by Howard Schwartz, Executive Communications Director. The second is an article by Evan Steele, the CEO of SRSsoft in the publication of EMR Straight Talk featuring A Health Information Exchange disconnect. I hope you find both informative.
You might find it interesting to note that there is an important difference between a "robocaller" which randomly dials numbers indiscriminately and usually plays a recorded introduction - and an automatically-dialed recorded call for a sales pitch. In my opinion, both are equally annoying.
In this case, technology is not our friend. While the FTC has used its enforcement authority to stop companies that have made billions of auto-dialed calls, even they acknowledge that there has been a significant increase in these calls in recent years due to technology. Criminals can generate calls from anywhere in the world and falsify caller ID technology to cover their steps.
The FTC is hosting a public summit on the issue on October 18, 2012 for consumer groups, legitimate industry, technology experts and policymakers in an effort to develop solutions to put an end to the rapid rise in robocalls.
What can we, as consumers, do about this?
- Put your number on the Do Not Call registry at www.donotcall.gov.
- Keep your number to yourself. Divulging your telephone number to a retailer, financial institution or other business is a tacit invitation for them to call the number or sell it.
- Hang up right away. These calls typically begin with a second or two of silence. There is nothing to gain from speaking with these people.
- Ask your telephone provider if they have free blocking services. (Providing the number displayed on Caller ID is legitimate.)
- Do not press 1 to "get yourself off the list". Pressing a number actually confirms that you responded and you are likely to receive more calls.
- File a complaint with the FTC.
The Federal Trade Commission's website states it is gathering evidence to act upon the illegal calls. Here is hoping that efforts such as the public summit on October 18 will continue to provide technological solutions to stop these illegal calls.
You can find the entire article written by Howard Schwartz, Executive Communications Director in the Connecticut BBB News Release dated July 23, 2012.
A Health Information Exchange Disconnect
Health Information Exchanges have been in the news with much being written about the problems that HIE's face. The most common challenges are attributed to funding, business sustainability and insufficient EHR penetration. What Evan Steele discusses in his article he feels is an even bigger shortcoming.
Interoperability plays an increasingly important role in the healthcare industry. Expectations are already being placed on many physicians regarding clinical data exchange. Still, standards and formats do not always allow vendors to accept clinical data in the current standard format. (CCD - Continuity of Care Document)
Once again, the physicians are bearing the brunt of this situation. They are implementing EHR's and expected to participate in the HIE and to exchange data by the end of this year. However, their respective vendors will have to maintain multiple standards to satisfy all of the various participants, which will lead to physicians incurring higher costs.
Higher physicians costs will undoubtedly be passed on to their patients.
Find the entire article written by Evan Steele, CEO of SRSsoft in EMR Straight Talk, written July 23, 2012.
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