Monthly Archives: September 2011

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Wow!  Where do I start?!?  As most of you probably know by now, Amazon introduced THREE new Kindle models this past Wednesday, September 28.  THREE!  Not one or two, like many had speculated, but three.  As someone who has professed to loving both my Kindle and gadgets in general, this has made my head hurt. A lot. What to do, what to do?

 

 

The first Kindle to be introduced was the new $79 Wi-fi only version.  This has changed in one major way from the Kindle 3 that I own and have written about previously: the physical keyboard below the screen is gone, replaced with a single Keyboard button that activates an onscreen keyboard navigated with the 5-way controller.  The device is 30% lighter than the Kindle 3 (K3, as the cool kids call it), now weighing less than six ounces, the body is 18% smaller while retaining the 6" screen size from the K3, and it holds up to 1,400 books (down 2,100 from the K3).  Battery life is up to one month with wireless off, and up to three weeks with wireless on.

The $79 Kindle version is the subsidized "Special Offers" flavor, which means that it includes offers as screensavers, and also displays them at the bottom of the Home page.  I've heard these ads are actually pretty good -- $10 for a $20 Amazon gift card, anyone? -- and that they don't interrupt your reading at all, never showing up when you're actually reading a book.  This same version without Special Offers is also available for $109.  And… they're shipping today!  Click here to order

Sidenote:  The Kindle 3, which I own, is still available but is now called the "Kindle Keyboard."  It's available in both with and without Special Offers starting at $99, and can be pre-ordered here.

 

 

Next up is the Kindle Touch, both with and without Special Offers, starting at $99.  It includes built-in Wi-Fi, but can also be ordered with 3G (which is great, because there's no data plan -- Amazon pays for your 3G service! Good luck getting that from Apple or any other device provider).  They've reduced the body size by 11%, keeping the screen at 6", and it's 8% lighter at 7.5 ounces (all compared to the K3).  Unfortunately, they've also reduced the storage capacity a bit, only allowing up to 3,000 books to be stored. Let's be honest -- that's still a LOT of books that you can store on one little device, and more than adequate for most users.  Battery life is up to two months with wireless off, and six weeks with wireless on.

Here's what puts the "Touch" in "Kindle Touch":  all buttons except the Power button have been removed, replaced with a new multi-touch technology, similar to that found in the Sony Reader and Barnes & Noble Nook.  Certain areas of the screen have been reserved for specific actions.  Touch along the right third to turn to the next page, in the middle of the screen to access the menu, and along the left third to turn to the previous page.  Or switch to Amazon's patented EasyReach feature, which allows you to quickly go to the next page by tapping almost anywhere on the screen.  A narrow area toward the left can be tapped to go to the previous page, and tapping at the top of the screen displays the menu.

Another new feature that seems to be available only on the Kindle Touch (so far…) is called "X-Ray."  They say it lets you explore the "bones of the book" by displaying all passages across a book mentioning specific fictional characters, historical figures, places, ideas, topics, etc.  It also pulls more detailed descriptions from Wikipedia and Shelfari.  I've only seen this demonstrated briefly online, but I find it intriguing, as I read a lot of history and historical fiction.

An updated feature available on both the Kindle and Kindle Touch is the E Ink display, which Amazon is touting as their "most advanced E Ink display" to date.  I haven't seen it yet in person, but people on the Kindleboards.com message board who've received their $79 Kindle say that the difference in E Ink from this Kindle to the K3 is pretty dramatic.

Also available now on all Kindle models is the ability to check out books from your local public library via Overdrive. As an avid library-goer, I've perused the selection online and haven't found a lot to interest me yet, but hopefully this technology will persuade more publishers to expand their catalogs available through Overdrive.

 

 

The final Kindle announced on Wednesday is the Fire:  a full-color, Wi-Fi only, dual-core processor 7" tablet, for only $199!  Fully embracing the power of Amazon's Cloud technology, the Kindle Fire gives you access to 18 million movies, TV shows, songs, magazines, and books.  Its capacity is only 8 GB, so the Kindle Fire is definitely relying on cloud storage, only storing what you select for download -- great for offline viewing.  My Kindle works the same way -- all of the books that I've purchased are stored in the Amazon Cloud for free, and I can download as few or as many books as I'd like, "archiving" them back to the cloud once I've read them, if I so choose.

Amazon Prime members have unlimited access to over 10,000 popular movies and TV shows (commercial-free!), and to sweeten the deal, Amazon is including a 30-day free trial of Amazon Prime to get you hooked and coming back for more.  With their recent announcement of a deal with Fox, even more TV shows and movies have recently become available on-demand, with more to surely follow.  Buffy, anyone?

Along with being able to read magazines and books, and watch TV shows and movies, the Amazon App Store provides a great selection of apps to download (some are free, some aren't).  The Kindle Fire is built on the latest Android platform, although it doesn't have the traditional Android look of other tablets (wait until it's rooted -- aka jailbroken), so all apps in the App Store are Android apps.  I use the Amazon App Store on my Android phone, the HTC Evo 4G, and it's very easy to use.  Now you can play Plants vs. Zombies, Angry Birds, and one of my favorites, Fruit Ninja, right on the Kindle Fire!  And for those of you who actually want to get some work done, a built-in email app is included, as well

A really cool feature that Amazon has brought over from the Kindle is Whispersync.  This technology automatically syncs your library, last page read, bookmarks, highlights, notes, etc., across all of your devices.  It's been extended to include video on the Kindle Fire. This means that when you start streaming a movie on the Kindle Fire and then stop it, you can pick up right where you left off on your TV.  I have a Roku and watch a lot of Amazon Video On-Demand, so this would be very handy.

And… along with all of the functionality you usually have reading Kindle books and your own documents such as Word and PDF docs, you can now read them in color.  Great idea for graphs, charts, pictures, full color e-books, etc.!

The Kindle Fire is available for pre-order now here and starts shipping November 15.

Whew!  Well, that's my rundown of the newly-announced Kindles.  Oh -- but there's one more thing…  According to a new article just out on DigiTimes, Amazon is planning to also have a 10.1" tablet out in time for the holidays.  Stay tuned for more details!

You might be wondering which Kindle I'm planning to purchase, if I'm planning to get one at all (or maybe you're not -- it's okay!)…  If you've read my post about the iPad 2, you already know that I have one and love it.  However, I'm also an Amazon Prime member, and buy all of my music from Amazon's MP3 store (which automatically stores MP3 purchases in their Cloud), and love to watch movies and TV shows.  But, you also know I own and love my Kindle 3, and replaced my Kindle 2 with it about a year ago.

Decisions, decisions…  At present, I'm on the pre-order list for the Kindle Touch with Special Offers.  My interest is definitely piqued regarding the special offers, and if I decide they're intrusive, I'll return it for the version without offers.  And as much as I would LOVE to have a Kindle Fire, just to have it (it's so shiny!), I'm holding off on ordering it -- for now.  That 10.1" version, if it's real, sounds pretty tempting!

By Hannah Tatum and Phil White

 

With all the breathless hype surrounding the benefits of healthcare IT (and particularly products that ‘support’ EHR Meaningful Use), it’s all too easy for hospitals and vendors to forget their top priority: to provide timely, appropriate care in a safe environment.

At Access, we have several solutions that boost patient safety.

1) Forms barcoding

With pre-printed paper forms, staff members in HIM typically waste time manually indexing documentation when scanning it – an error-prone and time-consuming process.

Our barcoded e-forms on demand solution removes the hassle and human errors, bridging forms directly into the ECM/EDM system & associating them with the patient’s EMR using the account number and form ID. The result? The correct forms, the correct patient, the correct EMR, every time.

2) Wristband barcoding

At the same time as a registrar prints barcoded forms on demand for a new or returning patient, the Access system generates barcoded wristbands. In departments such as newborn delivery, wristbands and/or ankle bands can be created for the baby and parents to ensure safety and security.

The wristbands can be used to verify positive patient ID during specimen collection, before medication dispensing and in conjunction with supporting clinical devices. This way, there are no mixups, patient safety is increased, and the hospital’s liability risk decreases.

3) Medication and Specimen Barcoding

Our solutions can also generate unique, patient-specific labels for medications and specimen bottles that, when used alongside the existing Bedside Medication Verification (BMV) system and our barcoded wristband application, create a complete bedside safety solution.

4) Clinical Data Bridge

Our customers tell us that one of their biggest challenges is getting output from clinical devices (such as ECG/EKG monitors, fetal monitors and glucometers) and clinical systems (such as perinatal and endoscopy) into EMRs. Typically, this involves scanning that degrades the quality of clinical images and can only reproduce them in black and white, not to mention human error.

Our Universal Document Portal (UDP) captures clinical output, standardizes it, and bridges it directly into the EMR via integration with the ECM/EDM system. No paper output, no user intervention, no mistakes. Only safer patients, better quality images and faster availability for clinicians.

Want to learn more about any or all of these patient safety solutions? Contact us today for a demo or for more information.

By Phil White

Leading blog TechCrunch recently confirmed news that will delight our resident gadget reviewer, Megan Cullor, strike fear in the hearts of Barnes & Noble’s Nook team and potentially scare the pants off a few people in Cupertino: An Amazon tablet is on the way.

 

Rumors of this fabled device have been circulating the blogosphere for more than two years. But now TechCrunch’s MG Siegler has actually seen a working prototype, which he states will be a 7-inch, capacitive touchscreen device.

So why would someone buy it, when bibliophiles can just get a regular Kindle, and owners of existing tablets can just download the Kindle and Amazon Cloud Player apps? Apparently Amazon is hoping that making this device the first tablet to offer both of these alongside its Instant Video service will tip the scales. The company is currently testing a new version of its website (not yet released) that is supposedly tablet-friendly, with more emphasis on mobile products such as e-books, MP3s and streaming video content and less on electronics and other physical goods.

And how will the Amazon tablet compete against the all-conquering iPad 2, when so many have failed (step forward, Motorola Xoom and, to the front of the line, Blackberry PlayBook)? To quote the Bill Clinton campaign from 1992, “It’s the economy, stupid!” While the iPad 2 starts at $499, the Kindle tablet will supposedly set you back just 250 bucks. And rather than trying to be either a productivity machine or targeting app-lovers, Amazon’s focusing on the three entertainment mediums it knows people want  on the go – video, books and music, all delivered from the cloud.

Timing will also be key. According to Siegler, Amazon will release its first tablet in time for Christmas, and could potentially offer a free year of its Amazon Prime service, which includes Amazon Instant Video and free, two-day shipping for early adopters. Pretty tempting for dedicated visitors to Amazon’s one-stop-shop, and those wanting video on the go. In a further development, a report has surfaced claiming that Amazon is in negotiations with publishers to offer a Netflix-like e-book subscription plan, whereby users could access an e-book library without buying individual titles, as part of the Amazon Prime service at first. So hook ‘em for a free year, then charge the full $79 after that. Brilliant.

Another important factor will be Amazon’s power as a provider and pricer of content. Authors who self-publish through the company take home 70 percent of the profits – the best deal in the game for those who don’t have a literary agent to get them placement with a traditional publisher. Indeed, earlier this year John Locke became the first independent author to sell a million e-books through the Kindle store. To endear itself to authors, Amazon enables self-published and traditionally published writers to promote their titles, link to their blogs, track sales and more with the intuitive Author Central portal.

It’s not just independent authors who are on Amazon’s e-book radar. With the decline of the bricks-and-mortar stores (notably, Borders), publishers will also place greater emphasis on how they market books through Amazon and will continue to experiment with pricing models to drive sales of their digital wares. The new Kindle Tablet puts Amazon in an even stronger negotiating position in this back-and-forth that is redefining the book sales market.

And then there’s Amazon’s own publishing imprint to consider, which recently signed Timothy Ferriss, author of The Four Hour Work Week, away from Crown. With more writers continuing to switch to Jeff Bezos’s outfit, Amazon is diversifying in a way that should put publishers and e-book providing rivals on high alert. By eliminating the middle man, Amazon can now sign, publish, promote and sell content – and the Amazon tablet will only increase the potential of this new, seamless, end-to-end model.

A lot of people thought the Kindle was doomed when the original iPad came out. But they were wrong – readers wanted a dedicated device with almost unbelievably long battery life and a no-glare screen that wouldn’t hurt their eyes. The Amazon tablet screen will not offer the latter two benefits, but the battery life should be stellar and it will offer the burgeoning Amazon Marketplace as part of a heavily skinned Amazon version of Google’s Android for those who like apps.

For those who don’t (i.e. current Kindle users and those bibliophiles who are yet to buy a tablet), the Amazon tablet will still offer a pretty focused user experience, with the advantage of a touch screen that the Kindle lacks. And, without the unnecessary camera that so many tablet makers seem intent on using to differentiate their products. Not a photographer among the designers, evidently.

In this writer’s opinion, the 7-inch format is a much better size option for reading than a 10-inch screen  (and offers true, fit-in-your-pocket portability). Not a coincidence that a paperback book measures about the same as the Kindle Tablet supposedly will.

Prediction: The iPad 2 (and soon enough 3, 4, 5 etc) will continue to dominate tablet sales charts. But Amazon will own the #2 spot because of its legion of longtime fans, its e-book dominance and the fact that it will be the best mid-price tablet on the market by a country mile.

Check back after the Amazon tablet is released to see Megan’s full review (yes Megan, I know you will buy one the first day it’s out!).

 

Massachusetts Department of Public Health (MDPH) is replacing its existing electronic forms system with the world’s leading e-forms on demand system from Access.

With the Access Intelligent Forms Suite, four MDPH facilities will create a comprehensive admissions packet that includes facesheets and barcoded forms and wristbands. Certain forms will also be sent directly to the HIM department and clinical floors. Forms will be pre-filled with patient information pulled from Meditech.

This solution will improve patient safety, enhance information sharing between departments and enable staff to prepare patient charts before individuals get to clinical floors.

Click here to read the full story