Wired: ‘Wall Streets Dirty Software Secret’

Wired has an article quoting Morgan Stanley Dean Witter System Administrator Phillip Moore at the O’Reilly Open Source convention: ‘…Open-source software is Wall Street’s dirty little secret, Moore said. For some reason, none of the financial companies like to admit that they use Perl, Linux and Apache, but all the firms are teeming with it because it’s the only way to get software to conform to the varying needs of a big business…’ More quotes within.

Sometimes you call the 800-number and the person on the other end can’t even spell the product you need help for,” he quipped. Or the company goes out of business, and a firm is left holding some software it doesn’t have the legal right to fix.

With open software, I can make small changes to the code without having to go back to the company. We spend frightening sums of money on commercial stuff, and we have been repeatedly burned by the companies,” Moore said.

So what’s gone wrong? Many things, he said. Commercial software firms are slow to fix bugs. They have paltry support…’

Complete Story

E&M Guidelines Call for Action

Health and Human Services (HHS) Secretary Tommy Thompson has announced ‘…that the current efforts being undertaken by the Department regarding Evaluation and Management (E+M) guidelines have been postponed. The announcement was made at a hearing of the House Ways and Means Committee…’ This is an effort to create usable billing codes similar to the AMA’s CPT billing codes. Unlike the AMA’s CPT codes which require a fee for use, these will be in the public domain. This presents a great opportunity for U.S. physicians to really open up the discussions concerning E&M guidelines and even CPT’s.

I *URGE* physicians to write to the contact address below. Introduce the concept of open discussions to these people. Maybe one of you could even start a yahoogroups list or sponsor a mailinglist yourself. :->

From: HBMA Announcement List [mailto:announce@listserv.hbma.com]

Sent: Thursday, July 19, 2001 6:00 PM

To: announce@listserv.hbma.com

Subject: Evaluation and Management Guidelines Sidelined!

July 19, 2001

MEMORANDUM via e-mail

To: HBMA Membership

From: Debra Hardy Havens, Bill Finerfrock, and Matt Williams

Re: Evaluation and Management Guidelines Sidelined

Health and Human Services (HHS) Secretary Tommy Thompson announced on
July 19 that the current efforts being undertaken by the Department
regarding Evaluation and Management (E+M) guidelines have been
postponed. The announcement was made at a hearing of the House Ways and
Means Committee.

The written testimony provided by the Secretary is as follows:

Another bold step that I want to announce today is a change in our
development of the new Evaluation and Management (E+M) guidelines that
physicians use to bill Medicare for their doctor visits. We know that
physicians’ primary work is to provide clinical care, not
documentation. We have been working on a third version of the
guidelines, which are based on the AMA’s Current Procedural Terminology
(CPT) that physicians use to bill insurance companies. Physicians found
the first two sets of guidelines, developed in 1995 and 1997,
cumbersome. We agree, and have been working with a contractor, Aspen
Systems, to improve them, but physicians have continued to express
concern that these guidelines are hindering, not helping, the delivery
of appropriate patient care.

We had hoped that this current effort would be a way to reduce burdens
on physicians, but it appears it needs another look. So I have directed
Aspen Systems to stop their work on this current draft while we reassess
and re-tune our effort. Additionally, I am turning to the physician
community to help design constructive solutions. After six years of
confusion, I think it makes sense to try to step back and assess what we
are trying to achieve. We need to go back and re-examine the actual
codes for billing doctor visits. For the system to work, the codes for
billing these visits need to be simple and unambiguous. I look forward
to working with the AMA and other physician groups to simplify the codes
and make them as understandable as possible.

More details are forthcoming on the July 19 Ways and Means hearing. In
the meantime, please contact us with questions or comments.

Please direct any response to:

Bradley J. Lund, Executive Director

Healthcare Billing and Management Association

1550 S. Pacific Coast Highway, Suite 201

Laguna Beach, CA 92651

(877) 640-4262-Ex: 203-telephone

(949) 376-3456-Fax


www.hbma.com -web site

OpenOffice Rumblings

Seems as though there are some rumblings over at OpenOffice.org. They have put up a PDF document they are calling a ‘Roadmap’, but doesn’t appear to contain any schedule information other than that it is a roadmap ‘through December 2001’. It would appear then that a major release date announcement is not forthcoming. It does contain an impressive list of improvements to the old StarOffice code base including standard XML formats for all file categories: spreadsheet word processing, presentation, etc. There’s also some just posted screenshots of build 625.

FightAIDSatHome: SETI@Home Comes to Medical Research

One of the best-known examples of the power of the Internet and peer-to-peer computing model was the SETI@Home project, which harnessed the computational power of over a million personal computers worldwide. I’ve often thought it would be just a matter of time before medical peer-to-peer projects like Seti@Home were born.

Voila! The FightAIDSatHome takes a page from the computational successes of Seti@Home project. Using the Internet and peer-to-peer computing model, the projects’ PC client software helps generate and test millions of candidate drug compounds against detailed models of evolving AIDS viruses, a task which proved impossible with even the most powerful of supercomputers.

No mention of Linux PC-client software as of yet, but I’m willing to bet the project has received many requests from sources worldwide. Though no mention of future Linux client software appears on any of the project web pages, a project to port the M$ Windows-based client software could already be in the works.

The project was recently featured in InfoWorld, which reported that over 25,810 PCs are contributing CPU computational power to the project.