With Access Intelligent Forms Suite, Nason Hospital is:

> Boosting patient safety & newborn security with barcoded wristbands and medication labels

> Getting electronic forms directly into EHRs via seamless integration with Siemens EDM

> Speeding form completion by pulling data from Siemens MS4 onto e-forms – no user effort needed

Click here to read the full story

This Iowa hospital wanted to avoid the hassle of manually labeling and indexing forms for its new MEDITECH 6.0 upgrade. With Access Intelligent Forms Suite, patient registration clerks generate barcoded electronic forms (e-forms) on demand. MEDITECH Scanning & Archiving uses the barcodes to associate the forms with the correct EHR – problem solved!

“The forms barcoding provided by the Access solution eliminates manual steps for our HIM staff, and they’d never let us take it away from them now,” said BCHC CIO Chris Youngblut. “We’re also confident that the scanned forms are going into the right EHRs because of the seamless integration with MEDITECH Scanning and Archiving.”

The Access solution also creates barcoded wristbands, which BCHC will use alongside its Bedside Medication Verification (BMV) system to ensure positive patient identification.

Click here to read the full story.

By Phil White,

Scribe, Access

Though it has offices across the U.S., Access is also very much a ‘virtual’ company – though that term implies we’re not real, so maybe ‘remote’ company is a better term. Anyway, many Access employees, including me, work from home. This offers numerous advantages, including cutting out the wasted time (and soon, the horror of shoveling the driveway before going to work) of a lengthy back-and-forth commute, eliminating the ‘around the water cooler’ chatter, and being able to focus in a way that’s rarely possible in an office environment. We also minimize meetings – if someone sends you an invite for a phone conference, it’s because they have a set agenda that needs your input – a lot more efficient than the typical meeting-fest many organizations have become.

However, for all its pluses, working from home is, as our VP and Creative Director Matthew Korte rightly says, “not for everyone.” Even if you’re self-motivated, know your work responsibilities, carry them out at a high level and can navigate the route to your home office without spilling hot coffee on yourself every morning, occupying that office has its challenges. So lets take a look at how to not only survive working from home, but to also get the most from it.

1) Establish Boundaries

A single person, or indeed a married person without kids, who works out of their house doesn’t know how easy they have it!  When you add small children into the mix (in my case, two sons, ages two and four), things get complicated. My four-year-old is old enough to comprehend that when I’m working, I must be left alone. However, his younger brother doesn’t. In his mind, if Daddy is at home, he’s fair game for reading books, playing with Lego, and so on. I have a lock on my office door, but sometimes, when he’s banging on the door and shouting for me, I feel like the kids in Jurassic Park when the velociraptors learn how to open the door! (sorry, son, I love you very much!) So, I’ve asked my good lady wife to keep track of him during the morning, and then I typically…

2) Find a Second Work Location

…for the afternoon. This is my local coffee shop or a corner of the library at my alma mater. Even when my kids are older I will still do this, because it’s simply not healthy to be in the house all the time. I don’t have measurable stats for you, but I know that I am more productive when I’m in my home office in the morning and parking my laptop somewhere else after lunch. We are humans, and we need interaction outside of our immediate families – even if that’s a two minute chat with a barista at Starbucks.

3) Use the Right Tools

This past spring, I started suffering from horrendous nerve pain (what the clever folks at clinics call “sciatica”) in my lower back. This was almost paralyzing some days, and I wrongly attributed it to an old weightlifting injury acting up. In fact, it was sitting at a desk (mine or at the afore-mentioned coffee house) that was doing me in. So a family member kindly fashioned two wooden stands – one for my keyboard and one for my monitor, and I now stand to work all morning – though I wanted one of these bad boys! It took a while to get used to, but the back pain is gone and I no longer feel like I’m 95 when I get out of bed in the morning. Moving around while on work calls is also a must, as being stationary in any position for too long is bad for the back. And sitting all day, so the experts now say, may actually kill you!

Other essentials include my beloved, though admittedly pricey, Etymotic earphones, which are particularly useful for drowning out toddler tantrums and the clamor of coffee shops. I also use a laptop cooling tray and an extra laptop battery every day.

4) Get Moving!

I am more productive when I work out, and also find it disperses stress, makes me more confident and gives me something to talk about with my friend who can deadlift 600 pounds (ask him why on Earth he’d subject his lumbar spine to this and he’ll say, “Because I can!”). In all seriousness, it’s very easy to make excuses not to work out, when faced with a long work to-do list, family commitments and just doing life. But in the 24 hours you have each day, I guarantee you could find 20 minutes to get moving if you put your mind to it. Your heart, lungs and the rest of you will thank you in the long run (pardon the pun).

5) Be Organized

Not that he needs the plug, but Access President Mark Johnston’s Principles of Getting Things Done have had a huge impact on me. I now make weekly and daily to-do lists, with the latter segmented into the “must get done” and “would be great to get to” items. At Access, you have to be a self-starter and excellence is expected of everyone. With the to-do lists, removing clutter from my desk, and blocking out distractions, I’m able to consistently deliver my best work.

 6) Connect with Coworkers

Though I admittedly just wrote about eliminating water cooler chatter, that doesn’t mean that what used to be called telecommuters (and what the hipsters now call “cloudworkers“, which makes me think of angels for some reason) should exist in a bubble. At Access, we have several formal internal communications tools, including a company-wide newsletter, but we also make an effort to engage our colleagues regularly outside of such channels. The Kansas City team meets monthly at a set location, the home office crew (including our founder and CEO, Tim  Elliott) are “tight” and the professional services group recently gathered in Dallas. It’s easy for there to be a relational and informational disconnect at a company in which many employees are “cloudworkers” – nah, it’s still not working for me – and it’s up to each person to prevent that from happening.

If you work from home, please share your experiences & wisdom in a comment at the bottom of this post.

By Phil White

Scribe, Access

 

As the creaking bookshelves that line my home office and my credit card statements can attest, I love books. Searching for them, acquiring them, reading them. I admit it, I have a problem! I am a hopeless bibliophile.

But recently, after taking advantage of Borders’s misfortune and purchasing three more, 5′x4′ shelves for the bargain price of 40 bucks a pop and already filling 75 percent of this new space, I realized something. I have no more room in my office. The built-ins in the living room are crowded like a poorly merchandised department store during a Thanksgiving sale/melee. Where the heck can I put more books without declaring an expansionist foreign policy and colonizing one of my sons’ bedrooms?

As I was pondering this a couple of weeks ago, I glanced down at my desk and saw my HTC Flyer tablet. As I’ve mentioned before on this blog (forgive me dear readers, I truly don’t sell these in my spare time like a London street dealer), I mostly use this handy gadget as an electronic notebook. What would it be like to read a whole book on this device? I wondered. Could it eliminate my deep, pathological need to acquire new hard copies?

With these thoughts in mind, I downloaded Amazon Kindle for Android, a free app in the Android Marketplace, and bought the Kindle Deal of the Day title, Farewell: The Greatest Spy Story of the Twentieth Century by Eric Raynaud and Sergei Kostin.

In this blog post, I’ll briefly review my experience reading my first full length e-book via Kindle, and in part two, I’ll do the same for the Kobo e-book app, which is embedded in the HTC Flyer, with the added bonus of stylus support (something I can’t use with the Kindle app – come on Amazon, step up for we few, we happy few stylus users!).

Price

$1.99! A good start. Books on the clearance rack at Half Price Books range from $1-$3 but the selection’s hit and miss. Actually, that’s not a bad thing – part of the treasure trove experience really.

Downloading the e-book

Amazon’s proprietary Whispernet technology lived up to its billing, and the book was ready to read within a minute.

The First Chapter

I set the background color to sepia, and reduced the screen brightness to its lowest level, in an attempt to ward off the eyestrain I’ve heard is common with reading e-books on a glossy, color screen. Worked as hoped for the first chapter.

Moving between pages was easy – a tap on the right side of the screen turned the “page.” To highlight text I simply selected a passage and held my finger down for a moment. It’s also easy to make notes with the virtual keyboard in this way.

So far, so good.

Four Chapters In

Maybe it was the fact I’d been staring at a screen for my nine-hour work day, or that it was almost midnight and I was tired, but the dreaded eye strain showed up around the end of the fourth chapter. Curses!

Resuming Reading

I quickly started chapter five the following evening, thanks to the Kindle app kindly saving my place in the most recent book I’d read. No chance of a physical bookmark falling out (or a two- or four-year-old taking it!), so that was handy.

I found that I could prop myself up in my favorite leather recliner and read the text as easily as I could with a paper version, and it’s possible that I read faster because my brain and eyes are conditioned during the day to work from a screen.

The tablet is heavier than a paperback, and about the same weight as a hardback, so no issues there. I found the seven-inch form factor was most convenient to hold in portrait mode.

End of the Book

Summary:

e-Book Price: Good

Selection in Kindle Store: Unparalleled.

Delivery Speed: Lighting-fast

Eye Strain: Not as bad as I’d anticipated, but it was the same as working late – certainly an annoyance and may have been more so if I’d read for longer sessions and/or if the book had been longer.

Searching: One inconvenience with hard or paperbacks is the lack of full content search, which Google et al have spoiled me with when using the web. Even the best index in a physical copy can’t match the instant search capabilities of an e-book, which I’d find most useful if using an e-book for research.

Intangibles (his really applies to all e-bookstores, not just Amazon’s): I like reading real books at night because they don’t tax my eyes in the way a computer’s (or, in this case, a tablet’s) screen does. It’s also a pleasure to see how far through the text I can get based on where I place my bookmark at the end of the evening – though, to be fair, the Kindle app does show reading progress.

Going into a bookstore and perusing texts volumes old and new is also a pleasure that e-book shopping cannot provide. In a real book store there’s the possible satisfaction of stumbling across an elusive book I’ve been pursuing for years, or of finding a rare edition. Not so much with the Kindle store – the selection is transparent, the editions are what they are, there’s no waiting game. I suppose it’s a trade of the (non-web) browsing experience for convenience and speed.

I didn’t like the note-taking and highlighting capabilities in the Kindle app, simply because they didn’t allow me to use my Flyer’s stylus. Since high school I’ve liked annotated margins with my scrawl, and I think this practice makes me more engaged with the text. Typing in notes on a virtual keyboard doesn’t come close.

Conclusion: Though impressed by the vast selection, instant downloads and convenience of reading this Kindle book, this limited trial has not convinced me to abandon my beloved hard copies. Even though I’ll need to get creative to fit in more bookshelves. If I traveled more or lived in a tiny New York apartment maybe I’d feel differently.

We’ll see if reading a full book with the stylus notes-enabled Kobo app changes my mind…

 

 

TRMC Sunnyvale uses Access’s medication and specimen barcoding solution to apply barcoded labels to medicines in the pharmacy department. These are then reconciled with patients’ barcoded wristbands generated by Access Intelligent Forms Suite at the point of registration.

With Access IFS and e-Signature, TRMC Sunnyvale has created a paperless admissions solution. Once a patient electronically signs their forms, the Access solution sends them into that individual’s EHR, via seamless integration with Siemens EDM.

Click here to read the full story.

By Phil White

Scribe, Access

 

There are a lot of familiar phrases applied to company-customer relations: “The customer is always right” and “The customer is king”, to name just two.

But how many organizations actually put these sentiments into practice?

The best part of my job is talking to customers, typically for case studies, press releases and video testimonials. I enjoy connecting with them, learning about their lives and seeing how Access solutions are solving their pain points at work (no, this has nothing to do with acupuncture!). Interviewing is a skill that is developed over time, though there is one overarching principle to observe:  As Larry King once said, “I never learned anything while I was talking.” Everyone has a unique story to tell, and my goal is to encourage them to tell it well.

So what is the benefit for the company, outside of my own enjoyment? Is it just affirmation that we’re doing a “good job”? Certainly not! Access may be known for providing what our customers say are the world’s leading electronic forms products, but we’re more than that. As a true solution provider, we are always listening to our customers to find out about their daily healthcare IT challenges, and using this feedback to fuel new and updated offerings.

Now, while we pay attention, we aren’t merely reactive. On the contrary, the leadership team and many others at Access have spent their entire careers serving  hospitals’ technology needs. So we understand that, for example, the ever-growing list of health information and clinical systems don’t always talk to each other, and that getting output into patient records requires increased paper use, scanning and error-prone manual indexing.

This realization and our customers’ feedback led to the creation of Access Universal Document Portal (UDP), a clinical data bridge that overcomes hospitals’ clinical data challenges. UDP captures output from clinical devices (like ECG and fetal monitors), and systems (such as perinatal, endoscopy and ICU), standardizes it and ports it directly into EHRs via the ECM/EDM system.

What do our customers like best about this solution? Simple: they no longer need to waste time on scanning and data entry, they reduce the financial and environmental costs of paper printouts, and their clinicians have instant access to the data needed to treat patients with relevant data and high-quality clinical images.

That’s why for as long as we’re privileged enough to serve our customers, we’ll keep listening.

 

San Juan Regional Medical Center is using Access Universal Document Portal to bridge endoscopy, colonoscopy and other clinical reports directly from Provation MD into patient EHRs via seamless integration with Meditech Scanning & Archiving – no paper, scanning or indexing needed.

The hospital will also use UDP to port perinatal documents from GE Centricity, ICU documents from MetaVision and emergency department reports from Allscripts into patient records – a seamless, end-to-end process.

Click here to read the full story

 

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!).