Thursday, June 30, 2011

TNR: The McKinsey Report on the Effects of Health Care Reform

There is an interesting post on The New Republic blog that takes a look at the McKinsey report that foresaw employees losing employer-sponsored health care coverage as their poll of senior leadership at a number of companies found that many felt that it would be more cost-effective to drop employee coverage and pay the associated fine rather than meet the requirements of the legislation. Critics of the paper had pointed out several weaknesses with the survey McKinsey conducted.

Additional studies conducted by other groups that focused on predicting future employer behavior by reviewing past behavior led to a different outcome. In fact, one analysis by RWJF and Avalere Consulting found that the majority of employers will continue to offer health insurance even after health care reform.

What are your thoughts on this?

Wednesday, June 29, 2011

Stereotyping Patients

There was an interesting article published in the New York Times a few days ago that focused on the stereotyping of patients. One of the patients described in the article served time in prison at Rikers during the 90's. He was taken in for a battery of tests and told that he had HIV. He was put on drugs for the disease but continue to show a normal T-cell range. When released, he made his way to an H.I.V. clinic to continue his care for his disease and several others like diabetes, hypertension, and Hepatitis C. But his T-cell range continued to be normal and was thought to have been a lucky "non-progressor". One of the nurse practitioners had a hunch and ran another H.I.V. test on him and found that the previous test conducted while in prison was actually a false positive.

The author of the story then asks the readers - why did the patient have to carry a false diagnosis for the last 8 years? When everything pointed to him not having H.I.V., why did medical professionals continue to think that his normal T-cell range was only an indicator that he was a non-progressor? Was it because he seemed to fit a certain picture - prisoner, tattoos infected with Hepatitis C and a drug user to boot?

What are your thoughts on this article? In your opinion, how do stereotypes affect the kind of medical attention one should expect to receive?

Tuesday, June 28, 2011

Research points to potential solution for Type I diabetes

An article in the L.A. Times, discusses preliminary experiments with a tuberculosis vaccine called BCG on a handful of people. The results suggest that it may be possible to reverse Type I diabetes as the vaccine seems to prevent T-cells from destroying insulin-secreting cells, allowing the pancreas to produce insulin again.

Monday, June 27, 2011

Survey on Access to Doctors

An interesting article published on NYT this past Sunday discusses a "mystery shopper" survey to be conducted that will study how difficult it is for those who need care to get it when they need it.
The administration says that it will "address a critical public policy problem": the increased shortage of primary care doctors.

The mystery shoppers will call medical practices to see if doctors are accepting new patients and if so, how long the wait would be. The government is eager to know whether doctors will give different answers to callers based on whether the caller says they are covered by public medical insurance (Medicaid) or private (Blue Cross).

Friday, June 24, 2011

Technology Week:

Have a speech to give and you want to do without the note cards? Try It is a free online tool that allows you to turn your computer screen into a teleprompter. It has an adjustable speed, two font and screen sizes, and forward, stop, and reverse scrolling buttons. You can also set the colors to see the text as white in a black background, black text with white background, or black text in a yellow background.

Thursday, June 23, 2011

Technology Week: Storify

Storify is a tool that allows you to create stories using social media like Tweets, video and photos. Combining these tools to create one online story provides readers with a more well-rounded understanding and better context than any one of these tools used by themselves could provide.

One example of a nonprofit making use of this tool is Foundation Center. You can view their Storify creations here. This is a particularly good example of how Foundation Center combined photos, a presentation uploaded to SlideShare, and Tweets to create a story about a presentation recap.

Wednesday, June 22, 2011

Technology Week: QR-Code Generator

You might have seen QR codes around. These quick response codes provide those who have special readers on the camera-equipped mobile phones to scan the image and go to content (usually a website) that has been linked up with the code. You can actually create these codes for free using sites like this one. You can even download a free reader here.

If you want to learn more about this tool, click here for an article about how non-profit organizations are making use of it.

Tuesday, June 21, 2011

Technology Week: Pixlr Grabber

For those of you who are Firefox users, you may sometimes need to do a screenshot. Instead of hitting the ctrl and print screen keys on your keyboard, why don't you try a Firefox add-on called Pixlr Grabber. This is an excellent tool for those who want to grab an entire page, only the visible part of a page, or select the area yourself that you would like to capture. Once you have the captured the image, you can decide to edit it with the tools available in, share on, save to your desktop or copy to your clipboard.

I have used this free tool many times and have been very happy with it.

Monday, June 20, 2011

Technology Week: Appcelerator's Titanium

This week, the posts will focus on innovative technology tools.

Today I am highlighting Appcelerator's Titanium mobile development platform. Titanium is an open source platform that allows you to develop cross-platform applications. Use your Javascript, HTML and CSS skills to create both mobile and desktop apps. This is an excellent tool to consider for those who were hoping to jump into Android or iPhone mobile app development but have no experience programming in Objective-C.

Friday, June 17, 2011

Friday Roundup

Here is a listing of articles of interest that have been published within the last 7-10 days:

1. CDC: Soda still common among teens, LA Times, 6/17/2011:
Brief Intro: "Only 24% said they drank regular soda (or pop), though when other sugary drinks such as sports drinks, sweetened coffee drinks (ah, yes, those sweetened coffee drinks) or flavored milk were counted, almost 63% of high school students said they drank sweetened beverages daily."

2. HHS again turns focus to prevention, Medpage Today, 6/17/2011:
Brief Intro:"The prevention effort will also tap leaders in "states, local communities, businesses, and nonprofit groups. It's going to take a commitment from all Americans and their families to take advantage of new healthy choices they have," Sebelius said."

3. Kids with government insurance wait longer for some care, Reuters, 6/17/2011:
Brief Intro:"The study, in the June 16 New England Journal of Medicine, "is clear and convincing evidence" that children with public insurance are treated differently, she said, "and it's across the system."

Monday, June 13, 2011

CFL's Podcasts in the Apple Itunes Store

Hello all,
For those of you who use Apple iTunes, you can now download the CFL podcasts from there as well. Here is the link.

Friday, June 10, 2011

Friday Roundup

Here is a listing of articles of interest that have been published within the last 7-10 days:

1. More Hispanic students graduating and attending college Census says, 6/8/11, Huffpost Education
Brief Intro: "A higher percentage of young Hispanic adults is finishing high school, and the number attending a two-year college has nearly doubled over the last decade, according to Census data released Wednesday."

2. Detroit Public Schools scales back its plan for charter conversions, 6/10/11, Detroit Free Press
Brief Intro:"The ambitious plan to convert one-third of Detroit Public Schools buildings to charter schools by fall has slowed significantly, scaling back to only five charter school conversions this year."

3. Study:Preschool kids less likely to grow up as criminals, 6/10/11, Public News Service
Brief Intro:"The study, published in the journal Science, is one of the largest and longest of its kind, tracking youths from age 3 to 28 - about 1,000 who attended a Chicago preschool program and about 500 who did not. Those left out were 27 percent more likely to have been arrested for a felony by age 28 and were 39 percent more likely to have spent time in jail, according to study author Arthur Reynolds."

1. Study sees cuts to health plans, 6/8/11, WSJ
Brief Intro:"A report by McKinsey & Co. has found that 30% of employers are likely to stop offering workers health insurance after the bulk of the Obama administration's health overhaul takes effect in 2014."

2. Hospitals push to reduce preventable re-admissions, 6/7/11, WSJ
Brief Intro:"The animated character on a computer screen, who explains medical instructions, is one of several new strategies hospitals are using to help patients make the transition to home, including sending patients off with a "Home with Meds" packet of medications and having real-life case managers and nurses monitor patients by phone."

Thursday, June 9, 2011

Learning Discussion X: Final Reflection

Congratulations on finishing this learning program! How do you intend to take away the lessons you have learned and help a nonprofit improve their use of social and collaborative technology?

Week II: Learning Discussion - (Google Moderator)

This week, you learned about connecting with the community using the Google Moderator tool. Contribute to the learning discussion by leaving a comment about this tool.

Twitter in the classroom

CNN posted an interesting article today about the use of Twitter in the classroom. Instead of banning the use of cell phones in his classroom, teacher Enrique Legaspi encourages students to use technology to interact with him while in the classroom. Using cell phones, iPads and laptops, students are allowed to make class comments using Twitter. The teacher said that it seems that the shyest students in the class are benefiting the most as they are more comfortable making their thoughts known in the virtual space rather than the physical.

While Mr. Legaspi does concede that his students sometimes make inappropriate remarks on Twiter, he still remains excited that students can provide him with feedback right on the spot and that each student can see what others have shared.

What are your thoughts on this? Are tools like Twitter the future of education or do you think they are only a distraction to classroom learning?Link

Learning Discussion VIII (Facebook/LinkedIn)

This week we learned about the group tool in Facebook and LinkedIn. Write a brief comment to share what you thought about the tools covered this week with other program participants.

Learning Discussion VII: (Delicious, StumbleUpon, and Reddit)

This week, we learned about social bookmarking. Leave a comment and share with other participants what you personally thought of the tools.

Week VI: Learning Discussion (Twitter)

This week we learned about Twitter. Leave a comment to share your thoughts with other participants.

Week V: Learning Discussion (Flickr and Picasa)

This week, we learned about social picture/web album software. A couple of examples were provided to show how these tools are being used by foundations. What did you learn this week that you would like to share with the other participants?

Week IV: Learning Discussion (SlideShare and Screenr)

This week we learned about presentation sharing tools and screencasting. In particular, participants took a look at SlideShare and learned about the different ways they could share information with others. What did you learn this week that you would like to share with the others?

Week III: Learning Discussion (Vlogging)

This week, we learned about vlogging and took a look at YouTube and Vimeo. Four examples of the use of these sites by philanthropic organizations were provided. What did you learn this week that you would like to share with the other participants?

Week I: Learning Discussion (Blogs and blog search)

Introduce yourself to other CFL Learning Program participants by adding a comment to this post.

Learning Discussion IX (Google and Zoho Docs)

This week we learned about document collaboration tools provided by Zoho and Google. Make a brief comment to share your learning with other program participants.

Tuesday, June 7, 2011

Appointment slots in Google Calendar - Grantmaker use

Google came out with an announcement yesterday about the rolling out of a new appointment slot option in Google Calendar. But how can this help you if you are a grantmaker? As a professional who needs to set up appointments with grantees to discuss issues with a grant or arrange for a site visit, how much work and time does it take to set these appointments up? More than likely you probably delegate the scheduling of these events to a program manager or a program assistant. Scheduling appointments requires them to call back and forth until each person can agree on a day and time that works best for both.

Well, how about making use of Google Calendar's new appointment slot option? You can create a calendar and send the link to grantees who are interested in connecting with you. In fact, you could provide a link on a website and direct grantees to review your grantee calendar and select an appointment slot that works best for them. This new feature could save a lot of back and forth and help your program assistants and managers make better use of the time they used to spend scheduling visits and grantee teleconferences.

Monday, June 6, 2011

Social bookmarking to spread your organization's message

Instead of posting a news article today, I want to talk about a recent experiment I conducted to understand the impact of social bookmarking tools on message reach. This included tools like Delicious, StumbleUpon and Reddit. While I have seen many foundations make use of the more well-known social tools like Facebook and YouTube and advertise the use of these sites with social media badges, I rarely if ever see foundations advertising their use of social bookmarking sites. At first, I thought that it was because these tools couldn't really deliver the kind of results a foundation needs to justify their use. Then I thought I would conduct an experiment to see just how useful these sites could be when it comes to increasing the reach of a message.

For the purposes of the experiment, I decided to add links to the blog's podcasts to each of three well-known social bookmarking sites. I wanted to see how quickly results would be produced and how large of an uptick I would get from my regular blog views. Posting these on Sunday in the evening would be a good starting point as this blog gets the least amount of views on that day. So, with about 23 views already logged in for the day, I figured the use of these three sites might give me another 30-40 views max.

I was astounded when in less than an hour, the blog received n additional 60 views. Most of the views were from links followed from StumbleUpon, then by Reddit and finally, Delicious. I am eager to see how many extra views these three sites will provide within the next 48 hours.

Based on my experience, I would encourage both grantees and foundations to make use of social bookmarking tools like StumbleUpon. Perhaps by adding a social bookmarking option to current social media options utilized on a website, organizations can greatly improve the reach and awareness of their message.

Technorati Post


Friday, June 3, 2011

CFL Podcast: Eben Upton (Raspberry Pi Foundation)

For this month's podcast, I interviewed Eben Upton who is a trustee with the Raspberry Pi Foundation. The organization has recently come into the spotlight due to a low-cost computer product that has been developed in the interest of helping children learn computer programming (here is an earlier post about the product).

Here are the links to the podcast:

Many thanks to Mr. Upton for speaking with me about this exciting new invention and helping listeners learn about the Raspberry Pi Foundation.

Thursday, June 2, 2011

Charter schools: Success and protests

A recent article on CNN discusses the success and challenges some charter schools have experienced. The story focuses on the success of one particular charter school in particular in Philadelphia. In 2005, Mastery Charter was asked to take over a public school that had 7th grade students scoring 16% proficient in math and 20% in reading. Now state results show that 7th graders in that school are now scoring 80% proficient in math and 66% in reading.

In contrast to this success story, the article also takes a look at another school that transitioned from a public to charter school in 2008. In February, students of that school staged a walkout over the proposed transition. This was one of three protests by district teens who were upset about the change. A junior at the school, Eva Reeves, commented "Just because it turns into a charter school doesn't mean it's going to be a good school."

Wednesday, June 1, 2011

Florida families, TANF and the new law on drugscreening

An article on CNN published today discusses a new law Florida's governor Rick Scott signed that requires drug testing for adults registering for the federal Temporary Assistance for Needy Families Program (TANF). The tests will be administered by the state's Department of Children and Family Services and tested adults will have to pay for the test themselves - but the costs would be recouped if they qualify. If the test comes back positive, they will have to select another adult to receive the benefits on behalf of their children.

What are your thoughts on this?