If there’s one thing you can almost guarantee gets Apple execs frustrated, it’s seeing Samsung’s name high on the list of suppliers for iPhone components. Now, according to new reports, the Cupertino company is looking to change that in a significant way. While the iPhone 8 may be dependent on Samsung Display for the OLED screen it’s expected to debut in Apple’s smartphone range, the groundwork is in place to wean future iPhones off their Samsung dependence. Story TimelineThese iPhone 8 pictures show display on in high resolutioniPhone 8 launch on time but there’s still bad news warns analystThe 2018 iPhone supplier war has an unexpected victor As with chip design and more, Apple’s answer to the supplier problem is to throw money at it. Specifically, according to an ETNews report, that means research and development into its own flexible OLED technologies. Apple, so the rumors suggest, has set up its own 2.5G OLED line in Taiwan. It’s believed to be using a chemical vapor deposition (CVD) machine supplied by South Korea’s Sunic System, a competitor to the Canon Tokki machines that have been a mainstay of OLED production for some time. The Japanese hardware has also proved to be a limiting factor of its own, with Canon Tokki’s production of the machines relatively low. Currently, most find their way to Samsung Display’s lines. The goal for Apple, it’s said, isn’t to go into display production itself. Instead, the company is believed to be looking into how OLED panel manufacture can be improved upon, with those skills then potentially shared with manufacturers other than Samsung Display. By broadening the number of companies able to produce high-quality OLED, it could ease its reliance on a single vendor. It would also give Apple an opportunity to experiment with new technologies of its own. According to insiders, it has already been looking at rigid OLED production, but is now using the new hardware to explore flexible OLED. That doesn’t necessarily mean an iPhone or iPad with a bendable display, mind; the panel technology is also used to wrap screens around the body of a device, much like Samsung’s Galaxy S8 display curves around its sides. It’s not the first time we’ve heard chatter of Apple’s moves to oust Samsung Display from its top spot. At the start of July, rumors of a potentially sizable investment by the iPhone-maker into LG Display began to circulate. The goal, so the leaks suggested, was to bring the manufacturer’s new OLED line up to speed more rapidly, but with Apple the sole beneficiary of the components as it shores up its supply chain ahead of predicted greater display demand.Currently, although several vendors are apparently vying for a contract to supply OLED to Apple, Samsung Display is believed to be the only one that can meet the company’s demands. Even if that didn’t involve a deal with one of its arch rivals, that reliance on a single component manufacturer is a considerable weak spot in the supply chain. Previous iPhone launches have been hamstrung by production bottlenecks from a shortage of parts, something Apple is unsurprisingly keen to avoid. “We can lower the reliance of certain panel makers,” an unnamed industry insider told ETNews, “and by sharing technology with second-tier suppliers in terms of strategy, we will be able to raise production levels in a short period of time.” Other sources pointed to the potential for OLED technology in future augmented reality hardware. Apple is rumored to be working on a set of AR glasses, which would be able to overlay digital information atop a view of the real-world. Even if the OLED rumors are true, of course, none of Apple’s work in R&D will be in time for the iPhone 8 this year – or, most likely, for the 2018 iPhone. The company is rumored to be planning a wholesale shift to OLED in its smartphones in 2018, presuming it can secure sufficient supply.
The BenQ TK800 projector offers 8.3 million pixels thanks in part to XPR technology. This particular model has a 0.47-inch single-DMD DLP resulting in an overall compact projector body, one that will fit well in most modern homes. The 4K resolution offers much better image quality at 100-inches versus a Full HD projector, however.This projector features an optical lens system comprised of 7 elements in 4 groups, as well as low-dispersion coatings to deal with chromatic aberration; this helps keep clarity levels high. BenQ says its projector screen offers a high level of color vividness in ambient light conditions, the idea being that you can use the projector in regular daytime settings versus having to use black-out curtains.As well, this model offers a 120Hz refresh rate to deal with image blurs, plus 92-percent Rec. 709 color space for excellent color performance. BenQ packs its own Auto HDR Color Rendition into the TK800 to help ensure the contrast range and brightness levels deliver a proper HDR experience.AdChoices广告As mentioned, this model offers a dedicated Football Mode with a Football Sound Mode for immersive game audio and a color picture tweaked for such events. There’s also a more generic Sport Mode that ensures the picture has realistic skin tones, vivid reds, balanced blues/greens, and “warm wood tones,” the company says.Meanwhile, the projector’s built-in 5w speaker is joined by a resonant sound chamber and improved quality that includes higher highs and deeper bass. Other features include Auto Keystone, 1.2x zoom, and a 10,000 hours lamp life with Economic Mode. The model launches next month for $1,499 USD. BenQ has launched another 4K projector for home entertainment setups, the TK800. This model sports High Dynamic Range support in addition to 4K resolution, as well as special modes designed specifically for sports and football fans. With this model, users can project a 100″ or greater Ultra HD picture on their wall or projector screen with 3,000 lumens for ample brightness.
Google’s going to present themselves as a responsible force for good at Google IO 2018. They’ll be rolling with a message that centers on not just the responsible handling of data, but the measured, reasonable use of smart devices. They’re going to do this in several ways – one of which is with the concept “Federated Learning.” Story TimelineGoogle IO 2017: what to watch for and howGoogle IO 2018 dates revealedGoogle IO 2018 events schedule released: Device Future Teasing ABOVE: “Making every phone smarter with Federated Learning” as published by Google on May 7th, 2018, less than 24 hours before the official start of Google IO 2018. We’re expecting a collection of similar re-brandings and new initiatives throughout the week.The concept here is not new. Google’s been working with this kind of data flow for years. Without it, they’d have been unable to create the top-notch voice recognition models they have now for Google Assistant. They’d have Search Results that aren’t nearly as well curated as they are today. AdChoices广告In short: without Federated Data (in one form or another), Google would have had to have done all this work on their own, one case at a time. And the results wouldn’t be nearly as good as they are today. If you’d like to see all the data Google has on you – straight from you, not necessarily all used for Federated Data-like programs – have a peek at Google TakeoutThe big deal this week is making the most of Google’s current position on privacy and responsible usage of data. Google has the opportunity to pull ahead of the competition in Facebook, Apple, Microsoft, and Amazon in this realm, and it’s quite likely they’ll take the chance in more ways than one. According to Google, there’s a good way to make your smartphone smarter without giving up your privacy. In the very recent past, Facebook’s suffered in a very public way due to their shocking lack of oversight when it comes to personal data and sharing without reasonable consent. Google’s Federated Learning concept is such that your smartphone can benefit from the data of countless other smartphones without the submission of personal data.
Story TimelineGoogle Assistant interpreter mode just went live on smart speakersGoogle Assistant button is coming to more phones, like it or notGoogle Assistant is invading Android Messages next Google began updating their voice match phone unlock system with a more modern Google Assistant assisted system starting this week. This is coming into full effect on devices, now – but was first initiated with the release of the Google Pixel 3 and Pixel 3 XL. Voice Match was released several years ago as a feature for unlocking smartphones (and as a general part of voice recognition.) This simple system will be updated this year on all Android smartphones. The update does not get rid of Voice Match on all Android devices altogether. Instead, the system is getting a big update with Google Assistant at the lock screen level. The device will still recognize the voice of the user. The difference is, the phone won’t instantly unlock. Instead of a full unlock, a recognized voice at the lock screen provides the user with several options. They can learn information about any of the following items, all attached to a specific user’s personal Google account. This system can also access less user-specific features like a timer or the phone’s built-in clock app (to change your alarm in the morning, if you do such a thing.)Lock Screen Voice Match Google Assistant features and info:• Alarm Clock• Appointments• Contact Information• Emails from Gmail• Flight Information (and your ticket QR-code)• Flight Check-in• Google Calendar Entries• Hotel booking• Memory aids• Reminders access• Shopping lists• Timer• Traffic UpdatesUsers will need to opt-in to use this system. Google is promoting this new system as being Assistant in your lockscreen “even without unlocking your phone.” This system should be rolling out to all devices with Android 9.0 Pie or higher in the very near future. Some users – non-Pixel users – have already seen the update on their devices this week. If you’ve got Pie, but not update, wait a day or two. If you still don’t have an update, just wait longer, and cross your fingers harder than you did before.
Withings Move looks like an ordinary analog watch, but it packs hidden tech to track the wearer’s activities and sleeping habits. The device is targeted at consumers who want something inexpensive that will blend in with their outfit and jewelry rather than stand out as an obvious connected watch.This new tracker features a 38mm frame with three dials: two for time and one to visualize user activity progression in a range from zero to 100. More detailed information is available in the Health Mate app, but the progression figure enables users to see an approximation of how far they’ve progressed by looking at the watch.Despite its simple design, Withings says Move features ‘advanced’ tracking features, including the ability to automatically detect four common activities: running, swimming, walking, and cycling. In addition to automatically detecting and recording these actions, Withings Move allows users to choose an on-demand workout mode for recording specific sessions.AdChoices广告Joining the activity tracking features is sleep tracking, which monitors the user’s sleep patterns and basic information like duration, depth, and quality. The watch will use a vibration alarm to wake users up during the most optimal time and provide a Sleep Score based on the data it acquires on the user.The watch itself is water-resistant and offers up to 18 months battery life. The wearable is available to purchase from Withings in five color options (coral, black, mint, mint & black, yellow gold, and sea blue) for $69.95 USD. During CES 2019, Withings introduced Move, an entry-level fitness tracker with an analog watch and simple design. Though the device was detailed at that time, Withings said it wouldn’t start shipping until early February, which didn’t happen. Now, nearly two months past its initial deadline, Withings has started shipping its Move wearable. Story TimelineWithings Steel HR Sport Review: Analog style with a smart heartWithings Pulse HR fitness tracker boasts big battery lifeWithings Move analog watch, Move ECG, BPM Core land on CES 2019
The most recent frustration for Model 3 reservation holders came in February of this year. Multiple people in line to order the all-electric car, Tesla’s most affordable to-date, were informed by email that their window had been pushed back. Even some who had placed their reservation – and a $1,000 deposit – on day one were told that they now should expect it only at the end of the year or early in 2019. At the time, Tesla described the change as an “adjustment” to the delivery schedule. Now, pressed by CBS, CEO Elon Musk has a new description. In an interview, he downplayed the delay, calling it a “time shift” instead. “It’s a six- to nine-month time shift,” Musk argued, insisting that reservation holders would eventually get a car. “That’s literally it, and three of those months have already passed.”According to Musk, there have been some cancellations of Model 3 reservations, a fact that he says is down to timescales. People “just needed a car” he said, “and we didn’t have a car for them.” One significant factor in that may well be US tax credits.Right now, Tesla buyers qualify for a full $7,500 in federal tax credits when they get a new EV. However that credit begins to phase out when a manufacturer passes 200,000 cars sold in the US. Even with Model 3 production delays – sorry, “time shifts” – that milestone is still expected to be hit later in 2018, as it’s based on all the EVs an automaker produces, rather than on a per-model basis. So far, the government is yet to reveal what, exactly, it plans to do about those credits post-200k vehicles. One possibility is that the amount of tax credit buyers could expect would be halved. Others have suggested that the current administration might change the process altogether, though given the EPA’s moves to weaken regulations on traditional internal combustion engine vehicles that seems less likely. It could, however, be an incentive for Model 3 reservation holders to jump ship, particularly if they’re waiting for the most affordable version of the car as was initially promised. Although on paper the Tesla starts from $35,000, in reality the automaker is currently only producing a considerably more expensive version. Those who convert their reservations into orders now are required to buy a car with the 310 mile range extended battery and premium cabin upgrades, priced from $49,000. Wait around for the $35k version, however, and you might well find the tax credit situation has changed in the meantime, and not in your favor. Earlier this month, Musk said that the dual motor Model 3 – which will feature all-wheel drive, something many would-be buyers have been waiting for – would begin production in July 2018. That came on the tail end of Tesla admitting it had missed its self-imposed production goals for Q1 2018, making 9,766 Model 3 in the three month period. Elon Musk may be sleeping on the Tesla factory floor to get Model 3 production on track, but he’s still finding time to think up new entries in his CEO lexicon. It’s fair to say that building a new car isn’t an easy process, something Tesla has now discovered several times, but Musk remains reluctant to call it a delay.
BMW has announced the new updated X1 sports activity vehicle. The ride has promised fuel consumption of 6.8 – 4.1 l/100km working out to between 41.5 and 68.9 mpg imp. The X1 has a new look with changes front and rear with each of the model variants offering a standalone visual presence. That means the xLine, Sport Line, and M sport series all look a bit different. The X1 sDrive16d version can be had with a six-speed manual or 7-speed dual-clutch. One of the top-performing models in the range is the X1 xDrive25i with a 231hp engine with an 8-speed Steptronic transmission. It can reach 62 mph in 6.5 seconds. The X1 line has 16 engine and transmission options.Most of those engine options are unlikely to come to the States. A version of the new X1 will be offered in a plug-in hybrid. The plug-in hybrid will land in March 2020 and promises a 9.7 kWh battery and the ability to go up to 31 miles on electricity alone. Pricing is unannounced at this time. The BMW X1 M Sport is billed as the most “athletic-looking” option with lowered M Sport suspension. M Sport version can also be had with BMW Individual High-gloss Shadow Line trim and M Aerodynamics package. The front of the revised X1 has a larger BMW grille, Adaptive LED headlights, LED fog lamps, and larger air intakes.The rear of the X1 has new stylistic features with a new inlay in the body-color rear apron that is of the main body color of the car. In Europe, the X1 will have a range of gas and diesel engine options with three and four-cylinder versions as mentioned. A BMW xDrive all-wheel-drive version is available. AdChoices广告
Android One phones come with better assurances of software updates but they don’t always bring some of the latest, let alone the best, smartphone features in the market. For the few OEMs that do ship them, Android One phones are often relegated to the midrange category. To some extent, the newly announced Xiaomi Mi A3 is now different except for the fact that it what the company touts as flagship-level cameras on it. All of that comes in a phone that starts at 249 EUR, around $280. The Xiaomi Mi A3 will be available from retailers in Europe but, as always, US consumers are left out of the party. If you just look at the core specs, you might walk away disappointed. The Snapdragon 665 mobile platform, after all, is no high-end chip and 4 GB of RAM is nothing astonishing these days. Even though the 6.088-inch AMOLED screen does have a tiny waterdrop notch, it resolution is simply passable.That said, there are five things that make the Mi A3 exceptional among its Android One peers. Three of those reasons are on its back, starting with the 48 megapixel main camera. That is joined by an 8 MP ultra wide angle camera and what is most likely a 2 megapixel depth sensor.The other key feature is the 32 megapixel “AI-equipped” front camera for selfies. This sensor merges four pixels into one to create a bright 8 megapixel photo. Finally, there’s an in-screen fingerprint scanner that’s often found only in premium phones.
“Community discussions can sometimes take unexpected turns, and this is one of those,” said a Canonical representative this afternoon. They suggested that after they’d released Ubuntu 18.04 LTS, they’d had “extensive threads on the Ubuntu-devel list, and “consulted Valve in detail on the topic.” They didn’t see any issues with the changes they were about to make with Ubuntu 20.04. Clearly someone forgot to speak up.They’re not suggesting there’ll never be an end to 32-bit libraries – that’ll end some day. But they are, now, saying that 32-bit doesn’t need to end just yet. “It should stay possible to run old applications on newer versions of Ubuntu.” Story TimelineSteam Spring Cleaning event offers badges for playing forgotten gamesAlpha Protocol removed from Steam: Sega’s got the reason whySteam to drop support for Ubuntu but Linux users shouldn’t panic yet Respect to @ubuntu for making a good call.— GamingOnLinux (@gamingonlinux) June 24, 2019 Due in part to the feedback given to the group over the weekend and because of their connections with Valve, Canonical did an about-face today. They’ve suggested that feedback from gamers, Ubuntu Studio, and the WINE community led them to change their plan and will “build selected 32-bit i386 packages for Ubuntu 19.10 and 20.04 LTS. Whether this will change Valve’s future with Ubuntu Steam, we’ll see. They did make clear the risk this continued to contain – that of a developer community spread more and more thin. With fewer people working on each different iteration of Ubuntu, there’s greater chance that software vulnerabilities become major venues for hacker attack. “You’ve heart about Spectre and Meltdown – many of the mitigations for those attacks are unavailable to 32-bit systems.”AdChoices广告They’ve also meant to make clear that it’d always been their intention to allow users to run 32-bit applications on 64-bit Ubuntu, and that their kernels allowed for that to happen. But again, whether that’ll mean Steam continues to be supported for Ubuntu in the near future – that’s a different question altogether. We’ll let you know what we know when we know it, as soon as possible!
Think Tank Urges New Federal Office To Simplify Health Insurance Administration This is part of the KHN Morning Briefing, a summary of health policy coverage from major news organizations. Sign up for an email subscription. Health insurers, however, raise concerns and suggest other parts of health economy must also be considered.The Hill: Report: Simplifying Office Tasks Could Save Health System $40 BillionStreamlining administrative procedures in healthcare would save the system some $40 billion per year, according to a new report from the Center for American Progress. The liberal-leaning think tank said major savings could come from three key areas: integrating administrative rules and systems; coordinating similar processes; and creating a new federal office designed to simplify the logistics of healthcare (Baker, 6/11).CQ HealthBeat: CAP Call For Administrative Savings Office Draws Lukewarm Insurer ResponseBut in response, America’s Health Insurance Plans President Karen Ignagni said: Not so fast. … Ignagni emphasized that “all stakeholders,” not just insurers, need to be part of the discussion about how to produce administrative savings (Reichard, 6/11).
This is part of the KHN Morning Briefing, a summary of health policy coverage from major news organizations. Sign up for an email subscription. Supreme Court Justices Seek Administration Views In Medical Device Case Reuters: Justices Seek Obama Administration Views In Medical Device CaseThe Supreme Court on Monday sought the legal views of the Obama administration in a medical device manufacturer’s appeal of a ruling that the company can be sued by a man who was left paralyzed after using one of its products (Hurley, 10/7).
This is part of the KHN Morning Briefing, a summary of health policy coverage from major news organizations. Sign up for an email subscription. Sylvia Mathews Burwell: Obama’s Likely Choice To Take Over The HHS Top Spot Burwell is currently the director of the White House Office of Management and Budget. Her experience includes budget oversight for the major entitlement programs, like Medicare and Medicaid. The New York Times: Budget Chief Is Obama’s Choice As New Health SecretaryOn Friday, President Obama is to nominate Ms. Burwell, currently director of the White House Office of Management and Budget, to take over one of the largest and most unwieldy parts of the federal bureaucracy as secretary of health and human services. If confirmed, Ms. Burwell would replace Kathleen Sebelius, who is resigning (Shear, 4/10).The Washington Post’s Wonkblog: Meet The Nominee To Lead HHSSylvia Mathews Burwell is about to become the biggest name in health care after news broke Thursday night that she will be the nominee to replace the resigning Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius. … Burwell has extensive administration experience that includes budget oversight for major entitlement programs, like Medicare and Medicaid. Last summer, Burwell and White House chief of staff Denis McDonough led negotiations with a group of Senate Republicans who hoped to forge a grand bargain with the administration to raise taxes and rein in spending on health and retirement programs (Millman, 4/10).Politico: Sylvia Mathews Burwell’s Next MarathonIntentionally or not, Burwell, who served every single day of the Clinton administration, now finds herself facing another test of endurance and determination: replacing Kathleen Sebelius as secretary of Health and Human Services, the department responsible for implementing Obamacare, in a midterm election year (White and Epstein, 4/10).The Wall Street Journal: Who Is Sylvia Burwell, HHS Secretary Sebelius’ Expected ReplacementMs. Burwell, a veteran of the Clinton White House and Treasury Department who has held senior roles at the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation and the Walmart Foundation, will face close scrutiny because the agency she has been tapped to run oversees some of the most polarizing and expensive parts of the federal budget. A senior administration official said Ms. Burwell, 48 years old, was the only person Mr. Obama considered, saying he placed a premium on her management skills, which was one thing he wanted in Mrs. Sebelius’ replacement (Paletta, 4/10).Politico: Sylvia Mathews Burwell’s Hurdles Burwell is going to have to make fast allies on Capitol Hill, but don’t count on outgoing Secretary Kathleen Sebelius to leave her any pointers. The former Kansas governor didn’t have any public friends within the GOP — a problem stemming from the intense politics around Obamacare and Republicans’ feelings that the secretary didn’t try to work with them (Haberkorn, 4/10).
This is part of the KHN Morning Briefing, a summary of health policy coverage from major news organizations. Sign up for an email subscription. GOP Report Finds Two-Thirds Of Enrollees Have Paid Premiums The Obama administration questioned the accuracy of the numbers, saying they do not reflect reports from insurance companies themselves, most of which have indicated that 80 to 90 percent of enrollees have paid up.The New York Times: Not All Health Care Premiums Are Paid Up, House Panel SaysA House committee said Wednesday that only two-thirds of people signing up for private health insurance in the federal exchange had paid their premiums by April 15. Without payment, consumers will not have coverage. The Obama administration questioned the accuracy of the numbers, but provided none of its own. Republican leaders of the panel, the House Committee on Energy and Commerce, said they had obtained the data from all insurance companies participating in the federal marketplace (Pear, 4/30).The Wall Street Journal: Report: Two-Thirds of Insurance Exchange Enrollees Paid PremiumsAround two-thirds of people who had picked insurance plans through HealthCare.gov paid their first month’s premium by April 15, according to a report released Wednesday by Republican lawmakers using data from insurers. The GOP-led House Energy and Commerce Committee asked for payment data from 160 health plans selling policies in the Affordable Care Act’s federal insurance exchange. The committee’s leaders said that responses showed that across the 36 states served by the federal exchange, 67% of people who had finished the sign-up process had made the premium payment to insurers and had been enrolled in coverage as of April 15 (Radnofsky and Mathews, 4/30).The Associated Press: GOP: Health Signups LaggingHouse Republicans issued a report Wednesday saying that one-third of people who signed up for health insurance through new federal exchanges hadn’t paid their first month’s premium as of mid-April, which could undermine the Obama administration’s claims of robust enrollment under the new health law (4/30).CBS News: Many Obamacare Enrollees Haven’t Paid Their Premiums Yet – Why Not?Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius said as much herself: “You are not fully enrolled [in Obamacare] until you pay your premium.” Yet data collected by the Republican-led House Energy and Commerce Committee shows that as of April 15, just 67 percent of enrollees in the federally-run Obamacare marketplace had paid their first month’s premiums. There are a variety of factors that explain why more than 30 percent of enrollees have yet to pay (Condon, 5/1). Fox News: House GOP: Just 67 Percent Of Federal ObamaCare Enrollees Have Paid PremiumsJust 67 percent of Americans who purchased insurance through federal-facility ObamaCare exchanges have paid their premiums, according to information insurers participating in the program gave to Congress. The information was compiled by the GOP-led House Committee on Energy and Commerce, as Americans wait to learn enrollment details from the Obama administration, two weeks after the April 15 enrollment deadline. However, Aaron Albright, a spokesman for the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services, said Wednesday night, “These claims are based on only about half of the approximately 300 issuers in the federally-facilitated marketplace and they do not match up with public comments from insurance companies themselves, most of which indicate that 80 to 90 percent of enrollees have paid their premium. Additionally, given the significant surge in enrollments at the end of March, it stands to reason that not all enrollees would have paid by the date of this so-called report since many people’s bills were not even due yet” (4/30). CQ HealthBeat: With Eyes on Health Law, Appropriators Aim to Block Census ChangesHouse appropriators would block a planned change to the Census Bureau’s questions on health insurance, amid GOP concerns that it could mask the effects of the health care law on the insured population.The draft fiscal 2015 spending bill for the Commerce Department, Justice Department, and science agencies would instruct the Census Bureau to continue using the same health insurance questions it has used in previous years for its annual population survey. The House Appropriations Commerce-Justice-Science Subcommittee approved the bill Wednesday (Ethridge, 4/30). Meanwhile, Republicans plan to focus on health law criticisms in confirmation hearings of the president’s nominee to head HHS -Reuters: Republicans To Push Anti-Obamacare Message In U.S. Senate HearingsRepublicans are relishing the chance to use confirmation hearings for Sylvia Mathews Burwell, President Barack Obama’s nominee as U.S. health secretary, to re-energize their election-year attacks on his signature healthcare initiative. Republicans, who are seeking to take control of the Senate in the Nov. 4 congressional elections, view a pair of Senate hearings for Burwell as their best chance to put a spotlight on Obamacare since the program’s botched rollout in October (Morgan, 5/1).
‘Pattern Of Errors’ Plagues Military Medicine This is part of the KHN Morning Briefing, a summary of health policy coverage from major news organizations. Sign up for an email subscription. The New York Times’ investigation finds that on several important measures, the military system “has consistently had higher than expected rates of harm and complications.”The New York Times: In Military Care, A Pattern Of Errors But Not ScrutinyThe Zeppa case is emblematic of persistent lapses in protecting patients that emerged from an examination by The New York Times of the nation’s military hospitals, the hub of a sprawling medical network — entirely separate from the scandal-plagued veterans system — that cares for the 1.6 million active-duty service members and their families. … From 2011 to 2013, medical workers reported 239 unexpected deaths, but only 100 inquiries were forwarded to the Pentagon’s patient-safety center, where analysts recommend how to improve care. Cases involving permanent harm often remained unexamined as well. At the same time, by several measures considered crucial barometers of patient safety, the military system has consistently had higher than expected rates of harm and complications in two central parts of its business — maternity care and surgery (LaFraniere and Lehren, 6/28).
Health News Florida: Prominent Cardiologist Sued For Fraud By DOJ One of the top Medicare billers in the country, Central Florida cardiologist Asad Qamar, is the target of two lawsuits accusing him of systematic Medicare fraud, including padding bills and performing unnecessary procedures. The U.S. Department of Justice’s civil division has joined in the whistleblowers’ cases on behalf of Medicare and Medicaid taxpayers. (Gentry, 1/7) It may have been unsurprising to learn that the government is suing Dr. Asad Qamar for fraud, regardless of the merits of the case. The Florida cardiologist was outed in the national media last year as Medicare’s second-highest-paid physician. … But billing the federal healthcare program for unusually high sums isn’t by itself an indication of fraud, experts say, and the new trove of payment information isn’t enough to inspire a lawsuit against a highly paid doctor.The data could, however, bolster cases that whistle-blowers bring to lawyers based on other sources of information. (Schencker, 1/7) Feds Use Physician Pay Data To Probe Fraud Modern Healthcare reports on how the data made public last year can help the government prosecute health care fraud. Two federal lawsuits filed against a Florida cardiologist offer examples. This is part of the KHN Morning Briefing, a summary of health policy coverage from major news organizations. Sign up for an email subscription. Modern Healthcare: Medicare Doc Pay Data Can Bolster Fraud Cases, Lawyers Say
Zenefits was reportedly one of the fastest-growing companies in Silicon Valley, a region famous for giving birth to companies that undergo tremendous growth spurts. The startup, which distributes free administrative software to businesses and works as a health insurance broker, was dealt a serious blow last fall when a BuzzFeed News investigation revealed that the company had not been obtaining licenses necessary to sell insurance in individual states. … Zenefits is just the latest example of a high-flying startup trying to revolutionize the health-care space, only to discover along the way that Silicon Valley’s philosophy of disruptive innovation can be more difficult to apply to health care than in the digital world. (Johnson, 2/9) The New York Times: Taming Drug Prices By Pulling Back The Curtain Online Americans have come to rely on their smartphones to help them do seemingly everything, like hailing a taxi and comparing prices of dog food. But when it comes to buying prescription drugs, consumers still find the process maddeningly antiquated. Now, a few entrepreneurs say they are aiming to fundamentally change the way people buy drugs, bringing the industry into the digital age by disclosing the lowest prices for generic prescriptions to allow comparison-shopping. (Thomas, 2/9) The Washington Post’s Wonkblog: What The Turmoil At Zenefits Reveals About Silicon Valley’s Big Problem With Health Care This is part of the KHN Morning Briefing, a summary of health policy coverage from major news organizations. Sign up for an email subscription. Grail, a healthcare firm developing a blood test for early cancer detection, named former Google X Senior Vice President Jeff Huber as its CEO Wednesday. Huber said he wants to apply his experience building large-scale data systems to improve the gene sequencing technology used by Grail to detect cancerous material in patients who show no symptoms of the disease. (Todd, 2/10) New Digital Ventures Let Consumers Comparison Shop To Find Lowest Drug Prices GoodRx and Blink Health want to utilize technology to let patients find the cheapest generic options available. In other health IT news, The Washington Post examines how the problems at Zenefits reflect the larger disconnect when Silicon Valley startups try to revolutionize the health care industry, and a former Google executive is tapped to lead a cancer diagnostics firm. Reuters: Former Google Executive To Lead Cancer Diagnostics Firm
If small businesses want to be successful, they should stop complaining about taxes and focus on this instead Kevin Carmichael: A BDC study suggests the difference between leading entrepreneurs and mediocre ones has everything to do with productivity, not tax rates The objective of BDC’s study is to inspire executives to try harder, rather than get bogged down in excuses.Andre Forget/QMI Agency advertisement The most surprising aspect of BDC’s work for many will be how little Canada’s smaller companies actually export.Thanks to the national obsession over what U.S. President Donald Trump might do to the North American Free Trade Agreement, you probably will have heard Foreign Affairs Minister Chrystia Freeland describe Canada as a “trading nation.”However, few smaller companies would even notice if Trump blew up NAFTA, as only about 10 per cent of them sell their products abroad. And that’s a big reason so many of them muddle along. Overall, about 20 per cent of high-performing enterprises export, but 100 per cent of companies in that group with sales between $10 million and $100 million export. Leading companies also tend to earn sales from more than one international market, and many make more money abroad than they do at home.Ramdev said he hoped his company could ultimately be something of a “Canadian brand ambassador.”He has an advantage in India because it’s his country. But he was surprised to discover that investors care at least as much about where Sweat Free Apparel is based. They aren’t used to seeing North American and European companies seeking backing, and they are keen to do deals with them, Ramdev said.“Western companies in general have a high value proposition,” he said. “What I see is a lot of startups focused on the U.S. What I would love to see is for them to be a little more risky.”• Email: email@example.com | Twitter: Kevin Carmichael Sponsored By: Reddit Join the conversation → Email Twitter Share this storyIf small businesses want to be successful, they should stop complaining about taxes and focus on this instead Tumblr Pinterest Google+ LinkedIn Comment I’ve interviewed plenty of dreamers over the years, but none had a mission like that of Chanakya Ramdev, a recently minted engineer from the University of Waterloo.“I want to eradicate sweat stains from this planet,” Ramdev told me on a WhatsApp call from Ludhiana, a city of about two million people in Punjab, India last month.Ramdev introduced himself to me a few years ago at one of Waterloo’s many tech jamborees.He stood out because his business plan had nothing to do with a smartphone. Ramdev, who is Indian, was working on an undershirt that would allow armpit sweat to escape into the air, rather than simply absorb into the material.After graduation last year, he returned home to scout textile mills that he could trust with his innovation and help him expand beyond t-shirts to a full range of men’s office wear. He also kept costs down by advertising on social media instead of launching a pricey print or television campaign. He’s currently raising money and hopes to start exporting to equatorial countries within a year. Any revenue will flow back to Canada, where Ramdev’s company is incorporated and the place where he plans to continue research and development.Most startups fail, so those profits may never come.Or Ramdev’s Sweat Free Apparel could become the next Gildan Activewear Inc., the Montreal-based t-shirt maker that reported sales of almost $3 billion in 2017. It wouldn’t be the riskiest bet, as his approach to business aligns with what a new study by Business Development Canada suggests is the difference between leading entrepreneurs and mediocre ones.BDC economists analyzed data from more than 900,000 Canadian companies with annual revenue of less than $100 million to separate “high-performing” smaller companies from the pack. To make the cut, a firm’s sales and profit margins needed to be growing faster than the median in its industry and it had to rank in the top 25 per cent in either variable.Only four per cent of the firms satisfied those criteria, a little low by international standards, but not terribly so, according to Pierre Cleroux, the Crown lender’s chief economist.The objective of the study is to inspire executives to try harder, rather than get bogged down in excuses, such as elevated tax rates, the most common lament of the small-business lobby.High performers are considerably more productive than their peers, generating about $133,000 in sales per employee compared with about $65,000 in the weaker cohort. But productivity pays: The median profit margin among leading companies is 20 per cent, compared with a mere three per cent in the weaker group.In a perfect world, business taxes would be lower, Cleroux said in an interview. However, we Canadians are living in a politically divided world in which at least as many voters favour higher business taxes as oppose them, so the country’s tax structure isn’t going to change that much.Policy matters, but so does entrepreneurial wherewithal. Remember that the next time the Canadian Federation of Independent Business suggests some politician is wrecking the economy. The CFIB could be right. But Canada’s smaller companies invest half as much per worker as their counterparts in the United States. Differences in tax rates could explain some of the difference, but so could a gulf in ambition.So all those laggards should be asking themselves what it takes to join the high-performing group. BDC’s analysis shows those companies are more efficient and work hard to keep costs down. That leaves them with less debt and more cash with which to invest, increase their employees’ salaries and seek new export markets.“That’s the recipe, rather than complaining about taxes,” said Cleroux.BDC’s analysis shows high-performing companies are more efficient and work hard to keep costs down. That leaves them with less debt and more cash with which to invest What you need to know about passing the family cottage to the next generation Featured Stories Facebook More Recommended For YouMDA Awarded Canadian Government Contract to Deliver Search and Rescue Repeaters for SatellitesSingapore-based company is buying the biggest shipping container terminal in eastern CanadaInagene Diagnostics Inc. Announces New CEOPRECIOUS-Gold drops as bets fade for big Fed rate cut fade; eyes on trade talks’John Wick 3′ dethrones ‘Avengers: Endgame’ with $57 million 0 Comments May 8, 201812:01 AM EDTLast UpdatedMay 8, 20189:15 AM EDT Filed under News Economy ← Previous Next →
Sponsored By: Getty Images The New York Times Niki Kitsantonis The Greek Health Ministry set up a committee of mental health experts in November to prepare awareness campaigns, as well as plans to train general practitioners to better detect depression and other mental health issues. In the meantime, the health system’s struggles to address the problem are evident.At Evangelismos, one of the capital’s largest state hospitals, dozens of patients were being treated in the corridors of the psychiatric ward during a visit in April, “an unacceptable situation,” the Council of Europe’s anti-torture committee said in a report published in June.In the summer, the hospital’s workers’ union complained to a prosecutor that the clinic was accommodating twice the maximum capacity, with foldout beds set up in corridors and in doctors’ offices.“It’s like a stable,” said Dr. Ilias Sioras, president of the union, adding that people in all states — “catatonic and psychotic” — were being treated in the same space. IMF sees Greek economy accelerating in 2019 Striking Greek school teachers shut down traffic in Athens Greece is recovering but its taxpayers face years of pain Dromokaiteio Psychiatric Hospital in Athens is also overcrowded, with admissions up 12.3 per cent in 2017 and staff members regularly staging strikes denouncing the conditions. And at Dafni, the Attica Psychiatric Hospital, which takes only very serious cases, “the impact of the economic crisis is reflected in the admissions,” said the director, Spiridoula Kalantzi, citing a 9.6 per cent increase in 2017.The Council of Europe report noted that “unemployed persons, bankrupt businessmen, or parents who have no means of taking care of or feeding their children” were among new admissions to psychiatric units, most age 40 and older with no previous signs of mental illness.The Health Ministry ran a pilot program at hospitals in Athens last year aimed at ensuring all areas of the capital have at least one psychiatric hospital or clinic operating as a walk-in center at any given time, helping admissions to “stabilize” at Dafni and Dromokaiteio last year. Three new clinics opened in Greek hospitals in 2018, the ministry said, and there are plans for 16 more.In the meantime, much of the burden falls to Greece’s three main psychiatric hospitals — Dafni, Dromokaiteio, and the Psychiatric Hospital of Thessaloniki — which in addition to providing health care fills the void left by cuts to social services.“Apart from the psychiatric cases, we have social cases, too,” said Dr. Nektarios Drakonakis of Dafni. “People come, they say, ‘I don’t have a home, I don’t have papers, I don’t have relatives, I don’t have anywhere to go.’”A 2016 law providing free access to health care for uninsured patients has been an invaluable safety net, said Kalantzi, the Dafni director.“When the delirium begins, many lose control of their finances, and then lose their insurance,” she said.But the spike in demand for psychological and psychiatric help coincided with dwindling staff levels and slashed budgets. Annual state spending on mental health was halved over 2011 and 2012, and it has been trimmed further each year since then. Austerity measures required hiring freezes, even as hundreds of workers retired.“I’m on my own, I don’t have anyone under me to help me,” said Dr. Christos Tsopelas at Dafni, adding that two doctors typically treat 35 to 40 patients, and that there was a severe shortage of nurses.A nurse at a halfway house died during a night shift recently, and 12 patients were alone until the morning, he said.Volunteers like Anna do their best to fill the gaps. Theodoros Megaloeconomou, a psychiatrist and former clinic director at Dafni, works at two centers in Athens, helping all sorts of people, many unemployed or in debt.“Many just come for the medication,” he said, noting that use of antidepressants had doubled since before the crisis.Even if the Greek government manages to address weaknesses in the health care system, health experts note that the main reasons behind the mental health crisis are very much alive.“As long as there is unemployment, insecurity and debt, the products of the financial crisis, this problem will not go away,” said Sioras, the union leader. “I fear it will get worse.” Email Facebook Getty Images advertisement More Suicide rates in Greece remain relatively low for Europe, with five suicides per 100,000 people compared with a regionwide average of 15.4, according to World Health Organization data for 2016, the most recent available. The rate of increase is high, however. It spiked from 3.3 per 100,000 to 5 between 2010 to 2016.The highest annual increase came in 2015, the year strikes and social upheaval reached a climax as Greece’s leftist-led government wrangled with the country’s international creditors over the terms of a third bailout.The suicide rate then dropped in 2016 and 2017, police figures show, only to rise again in the first 10 months of 2018, according to police figures that also show that suicides among those ages 22 and under more than doubled.Many suicides in Greece go unreported because of the Orthodox Church’s reluctance to provide burial services to those who take their own lives, although the church’s stance is changing, nongovernmental organizations say.A senior citizen leans against the door of a closed bank as he queues up to collect his pension outside a National Bank of Greece branch in Athens, in 2015. Christopher Furlong/Getty Images Comment ATHENS, Greece — Greece’s decade-long economic crisis has taken a heavy toll: Hundreds of thousands of jobs were lost, incomes were slashed and taxes were raised. Hopes for the future were dashed.For Anna, 68, the crisis had particularly devastating consequences. Her husband, a retired bus driver, killed himself in a park two years ago at age 66 after a series of pension cuts deepened his despair.“He kept saying, ‘I’ve worked so many years. What will I have to show for it? How are we going to live?’” said Anna, who asked that her full name not be published to protect her family’s privacy. After two years of therapy, she now volunteers to help others struggling with mental health issues.Slogans on a wall in central Athens, in 2018. Share this storyNine years after the Greek debt crisis began, an alarming toll continues Tumblr Pinterest Google+ LinkedIn Depression and suicide rates rose alarmingly during the Greek debt crisis, health experts and studies say, as the country’s creditors imposed strict austerity measures that cut wages, increased taxes and undermined the ability of health services to respond to a crisis within a crisis.“Mental health has deteriorated significantly in Greece, with depression being particularly widespread, as a result of the economic crisis,” Dunja Mijatovic, the Council of Europe’s commissioner for human rights, said in a November report. That has led to overcrowding at psychiatric hospitals and clinics and a 40 per cent increase in suicides from 2010 to 2015, the report said.For those fighting the problems on the ground, the trend does not seem to be abating. The mental health organization Klimaka reported a 30 per cent rise in calls to its suicide hotline last year, and a comparable rise in visits to its day center.“The financial crisis has increased people’s vulnerability to suicide,” said Kyriakos Katsadoros, Klimaka’s director. “Some even ask about euthanasia.”Health workers during a general strike in Athens in 2017. Annual state spending on mental health was halved in 2012, and it has been trimmed further each year since then. Recommended For YouIEA does not expect ‘huge increase’ in crude prices – executive directorMiner Acacia agrees to increased buyout offer from BarrickFour companies vie for Pakistan LNG’s multi-year import tender’Fear’ and ‘favor’ chill newsroom at storied Japanese paperAsia stocks firm as Fed props up rate cut expectations Nine years after the Greek debt crisis began, an alarming toll continues This is what a decade-long economic crisis does to people 21 Comments A woman walks past graffiti outside the Athens’ Academy in 2012. For almost a decade the people of Greece have lived with unemployment, insecurity and debt.Getty Images What you need to know about passing the family cottage to the next generation Join the conversation → Featured Stories Reddit February 5, 20196:00 AM ESTLast UpdatedFebruary 5, 20196:00 AM EST Filed under News Economy Twitter ← Previous Next →