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 Mitch Wagner
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Profile of Mitch Wagner

California Bureau Chief, Light Reading
News & Commentary Posts: 1161

Mitch Wagner is California bureau chief for Light Reading.

Articles by Mitch Wagner

'Beacon' Communities Need Track Record For Feds' IT Funds

12/17/2009
Communities will need a proven track record if they're looking to receive funding to become health IT "beacons" under a federal program to set up models of meaningful health information usage. Communities qualifying for inclusion in the program must demonstrate that they're already embracing e-health records an electronic health information sharing.

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Obama Allocating $600M To Health Centers

12/10/2009
President Barack Obama allocated almost $600 million to build community health centers and implement electronic medical records, part of the $787 billion stimulus bill. The White House framed the funding as means of adding jobs to the economy, and overhaul the nation's health system.

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Texas Hospital District Fires 16 For HIPAA Violations

12/2/2009
The Harris County Hospital District of Houston, Texas, fired 16 employees, accusing them of violating patient privacy laws by inappropriately accessing the records of a medical resident who'd been admitted to the hospital after she was shot in a grocery store parking lot.

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Taking Another Look At TweetDeck

12/2/2009
What Twitter client do you use? TweetDeck is a favorite of many people who use Twitter for professional purposes. I've been an enthusiastic user of Tweetie for the Mac since it came out more than seven months ago, because I love its powerful, simple, and easy-to-use interface. However, TweetDeck now supports Twitter features that Tweetie doesn't, so I figured I'd give TweetDeck another try. And I'm liking it.

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IT Is 'Pillar' Of White House Healthcare Strategy

12/1/2009
Healthcare IT adoption is one of four pillars on which the Obama administration is basing its healthcare strategy, and is key to containing costs, administration healthcare officials said. Healthcare IT should be combined with a budget-neutral healthcare reform bill, establishing a Medicare Commission to improve quality, and an excise tax on expensive private healthcare plans, all of which are included in the Senate healthcare reform bill.

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Is Wave A 'Concept Car' For Google?

11/30/2009
I'm wondering if Google Wave is like a concept car for Google. We'll never see it in production--but all of its features and capabilities will emerge in other products released by Google and other companies. Google Wave solves some very real business problems. But I think even Google will have trouble getting companies to adopt it.

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Are Healthcare IT Grants Worth The Hassle?

11/4/2009
While the U.S. American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009 (ARRA) promises big bucks to healthcare providers that implement effective IT solutions, healthcare providers wonder whether IT adoption is worth the effort. Speaking at a two-day hearing of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, healthcare providers said healthcare IT is a good idea in theory, but current proposals have many problems.

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E-Health Privacy Regulations Draw Congressional Fire

11/2/2009
The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services issued an interim final rule to beef up penalties for violations of the Health Insurance Portability and Accounting Act (HIPAA), as several Congressmen criticize the agency for leaving dangerous loopholes in the law.

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Hospitals Serving Poor Lag In Healthcare IT

10/26/2009
It's no surprise that hospitals which serve predominantly poor patients are lagging in implementing healthcare IT. However, it's a cause for concern that the federal stimulus program might not be up to the task of closing that gap, according to federally supported researchers.

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Health IT Metrics Taking Shape

10/21/2009
The U.S. will release a preliminary definition of "meaningful use"-- a key criterion for healthcare IT providers seeking federal stimulus funding -- in December.

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Boston Hospital Bans Facebook

10/15/2009
New England Baptist Hospital banned Facebook and other social media, citing privacy concerns over employees revealing too much information about patients in their online posts, and complaints about employees wasting time online. The ban will remain in place until the hospital can come up with a social media policy, according to reports.

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San Francisco Opens Government Data

10/15/2009
San Francisco is opening up government data to third-party application developers, who are jumping in with applications that track information on public transportation, recycling centers, and local crime.

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Top iPhone Healthcare Apps

10/15/2009
Mobile apps are the new frontier in improving data access for healthcare pros and bettering patient care. They could be coming to your pocket soon.

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State Department Awards Social Networking Grants

10/12/2009
The State Department plans to award up to $5 million in grants to expand the use of social networking in the Middle East and North Africa to drive citizen engagement and civic participation. The pilot program is part of a long-term effort to help bring democracy to the region, with a preference toward using existing technologies and social media platforms.

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Tweetie 2: A Great iPhone Twitter Client Gets Better

10/12/2009
Tweetie is a favorite client for Twitter power-users on the iPhone, because of its simple interface, versatility, and ease-of-use. Now, the highly anticipated new version is out, with features that make the great Twitter client for the iPhone even better, without cluttering it up.

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Bean, A Free Mac Word Processor That Does Less

10/9/2009
Writing tools are intensely personal choices -- for some people. Most people make do with the corporate standard, Microsoft Word, and many are even happy with it. But some of us have to be different, we're unhappy with Word and seek productivity elsewhere.

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Hospital Hires 'Scribes' To Help Docs With E-Records

10/8/2009
The University of Virginia has hired "scribes" with laptop computers to follow doctors around as they treat patients, updating electronic medical records as they go. The antique-sounding position is one example of the steps hospitals are taking as they struggle to adopt e-health records.

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Astronaut Tops 1 Million Twitter Followers

10/7/2009
The group of people who've left the Earth is a small, select club. Now, one of those people has joined a club that's a lot less important but still interesting. Astronaut Mike Massimino joined the group of people with more than 1 million followers on Twitter.

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Ex-Googler Launches Startup To Deliver Personalized Health Advice

10/7/2009
The former head of the Google Health team has launched a startup designed to allow people to get personalized medical advice on the Internet, based on their own e-health records. If it catches on, the service will accelerate the trend of people using Internet research to take charge of their own healthcare. That trend is both a help and a hindrance to healthcare providers, depending on the kind of information patients find online, and what the patients do with that information.

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Is Apple Getting Ready To Re-Invent The Mouse?

10/2/2009
Apple is the company that introduced the world to mouse computing; could it now be planning to re-invent the mouse, maybe introducing a new kind of input device that combines the mouse and keyboard? That's the speculation buzzing on the Apple blogs today, fueled by a patent out of Cupertino.

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Electronic Medical Alerts Don't Guarantee Timely Response

10/2/2009
Electronic medical alerts are a significant improvement over paper-based systems, but doctors often still ignore warnings they should pay attention to, according to a recent study. Even when notified electronically, doctors sometimes ignore test results that show the patient might have a serious problem.

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Defense Department Loves Social Networking Again

10/1/2009
The Defense Department's on-again off-again romance with social networking sites like Twitter and Facebook could be on again big-time if it adopts the policies suggested in a draft memo on "Internet-based capabilities." Troops and their families would be permitted to use public social networking sites, and military brass would be directed to keep an eye on Internet developments to watch for new opportunities and threats.

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MotionX Offers $3 GPS App For iPhone

9/30/2009
The iPhone this week got a new entry in the fast-moving category of GPS software: MotionX-GPS Drive is by far the least expensive of the half-dozen alternatives, with a "holy cow!" low price of $2.99, with an annual subscription of $25. It's a heck of a lot cheaper than any of the alternatives.

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A New Generation Of Internet Lawmakers

9/29/2009
I'm still stuck in the 90s when I think about elected officials using the Internet. Back in the 90s, elected officials had never even touched the Internet. They thought it was a sewer of child porn and terrorists, and their only reaction to it was to try to control it--or make it go away. Until recently, I thought of lawmakers as still being as naive as they were back then. But a brief conversation with Rep. John Culberson shattered my preconceptions.

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Wireless Technologies Help With Alzheimer's Care

9/29/2009
As the Alzheimer's spreads, healthcare companies are developing wireless technologies to help caregivers look after their charges. The technologies monitor people with Alzheimer's to make sure they're not in trouble, with a particular focus on making sure that patients don't wander off.

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DEMOfall: Crowdsourcing Brings New Life To Mapmaking

9/24/2009
Two of the vendors who flaunted their wares at DEMOfall 09 are looking to use crowdsourcing to extend Internet mapping. Micello is looking to create maps for people getting around by foot, in shopping malls, university or office campuses, and city downtowns. Meanwhile, Waze offers a free turn-by-turn directions app built by outsourcing.

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Federal Government Wrestles With Crowdsourcing Problems

9/22/2009
The problem with letting everybody contribute ideas to an open forum is that everybody does. White House-led open government initiatives are learning that lesson, as forums set up to let American citizens contribute suggestions for government actions are being hijacked by potheads, conspiracy theorists, and anti-Scientologists.

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University Of Texas Moving Into Second Life

9/21/2009
The University of Texas launched a year-long, state-wide initiative to use Second Life in the curriculum for all 16 of its campuses, experimenting with using the platform as a means of providing innovative, low-cost undergraduate instruction involving students, faculty, researchers and administrators.

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IW500: Making IT Sexy Won't Attract Kids

9/18/2009
Are young people staying away from tech careers because young people are foolish and shallow, concerned only with big bucks and glamour? Or are there smarter reasons? The answer to that question will determine how best to attract young Americans into tech careers in the future.

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Marines' Social Media Ban Bad For Morale

9/18/2009
The Marine Corps' ban on Twitter, MySpace, Facebook, and other social media could hurt morale more than it helps security, a public policy researcher said. "The ban is at odds with realities of the 21st-century military," said Chris Bronk, a research fellow at Rice University's Baker Institute for Public Policy.

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Twitter Succeeds At InformationWeek 500 Conference

9/17/2009
I'm back from the InformationWeek 500 Conference, where we integrated Twitter into the proceedings. It's commonplace at other conferences, but it was a bit of a risk for us, because it was the first time we'd tried anything like it, and because the InformationWeek community is just plain not early adopters of social media. But it turned out that Twitter integration was a success, significantly exceeding expectations.

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iPhone, Twitter Fight Swine Flu

9/17/2009
The NBC Nightly News did a report about how the iPhone, Twitter, and Google are being used in the fight against swine flu and other diseases. The technology includes an iPhone app from Children's Hospital in Boston, and tools to use Google Searches and Twitter messages to map outbreaks.

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Facebook Page For Government Launches

9/14/2009
The federal government launched a Facebook page to give agencies tips and impetus to set up and run their presence on Facebook. The page offers links to agency pages already on Facebook, guides, and updates to government Facebook activity.

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IW500: Is Twitter Ready For IT?

9/13/2009
One of the more interesting conversations I got into at the opening reception of the InformationWeek 500 Sunday night was with a man who came to me with fire in his eye, challenging me whether I thought Twitter is a useful tool for business IT. I think he was surprised at my view: I think so, but I don't know for sure.

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Adagio Tea: Steeped In Twitter, Facebook

9/13/2009
I just bought a new shipment of loose tea from Adagio Tea, and saw first-hand how they use Twitter and Facebook for social media marketing. Adagio lets you follow the shipment of your package on Twitter, and also provides you with a simple, but clear incentive to get you to promote them on Facebook.

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Twittering The InformationWeek 500

9/11/2009
We're going to try something at the InformationWeek 500 conference next week: we're livetweeting the conference on Twitter. That's old hat to the Web 2.0 crowd, but it will be new and (hopefully) exciting to our enterprise community.

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Getting Your Hands On ARRA Cash

9/11/2009
The coordinators for the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009 have a lot of money to give out--$44 billion to be precise--and healthcare IT managers can improve their odds of getting it by making their applications broad and simple, according to the chairman of the Healthcare Information Technology Standards Panel.

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NATO Looking To Build Virtual HQ

9/8/2009
Today is the deadline for developers to submit proposals to build 3D virtual software replicas of NATO headquarters in Europe and America, to be used for training and meetings, and improving staff communication and productivity.

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Snow Leopard Could Be Apple's Vista

9/8/2009
Apple's Snow Leopard has some serious bugs. So what? Every major operating system upgrade has bugs. However, it's possible that Snow Leopard is buggier than that, that it will prove to be a lemon and a drag on the company as Vista was for Microsoft.

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Maytag Crosses Popular Blogger, Gets Spun Dry

9/1/2009
It's always been a bad idea for consumer companies to get celebrities angry, because celebrities have millions of fans, and can rally those fans to fight. Now, with the Internet and social media, it's easier for people to achieve celebrity and the power to significantly damage companies. That's a lesson that Maytag is learning the hard way, from blogger Heather Armstrong, who writes Dooce.

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IT's Reputation: What the Data Says
IT's Reputation: What the Data Says
InformationWeek's IT Perception Survey seeks to quantify how IT thinks it's doing versus how the business really views IT's performance in delivering services - and, more important, powering innovation. Our results suggest IT leaders should worry less about whether they're getting enough resources and more about the relationships they have with business unit peers.
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