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New Maryland call center provides info on health care reform

Maryland has opened a call center that answers residents' questions on health care reform, writes the AP in a story that ran in the Washington Post.

From now until Sept. 30, the call center will help prepare individuals and small businesses for open enrollment. It will employ 125 on Oct. 1 when consumers can begin selecting a health insurance through the state-run online health exchange, the Post writes.

You can read the entire story here

Forbes chats with company about designing Baltimore company's mobile app

Forbes recently interviewed the owner of a company that redesigned WellDoc's mobile app. Based in Baltimore, WellDoc has created the first FDA-approved app to manage diabetes.

In an article titled "6 Things You Should Do When Designing for Mobile," Forbes chats with Moment Design Inc. Principal John Payne about redesigning the WellDoc app so it can be commercialized.

Holding a design charette, or a collaborative approach to design, and gathering insights about the user experience, were among Payne's recommendations. Read the entire story here

Rite Aid rolls out health clinics in Baltimore

Rite Aid Corp. is the latest pharmacy chain that is venturing into health care, writes the Wall Street Journal. 

Rite Aid rolled out 58 virtual health clinics in Baltimore, Boston, Philadelphia and Pittsburgh March 1. For a fee of $45, a patient can chat with a doctor via Web camera, the Journal writes.  

The pharmacy giant initially tested the concept in Detroit. You can read the rest of the story here

Johns Hopkins Hospital Now No. 2

For the first time in 21 years, Johns Hopkins Hospital slipped from the No. 1 rank on U.S. News & World Report’s Best Hospitals. Johns Hopkins fell to No. 2 while Massachusetts General Hospital took the coveted No. 1 spot. 
The battle for first was very close. Both hospitals had 30 honor roll points, but Massachusetts General claimed first with its 16 nationally ranked specialty programs, compared with Hopkins’ 15.
Still, Hopkins didn't do too shabbily. The hospital is ranked No. 1 in Maryland and the Baltimore metro area. Five of Hopkins’ 15 nationally ranked specialty medical programs are the best of the country: neurology and neurosurgery, rheumatology, geriatrics, psychiatry, and ear, nose and throat.
Rounding out the top five hospitals were the Mayo Clinic, Cleveland Clinic and Ronald Reagan UCLA Medical Center.
See the complete list here

Baltimore Ranked 8th Best City for Women

Baltimore isn't a bad place to be if you're a woman in America. 

That's according to a report from the Measure of America, a project that analyzes the distribution of opportunity in the U.S.

The report ranks Baltimore No. 8 on a list of the top places for females. Women's Well Being: Ranking America's Top 25 Metro Areas measures life expectancy, education and earnings. 

Washington, D.C., San Francisco and Boston are listed in the top three. You can see the full report here

Johns Hopkins Dedicates $1.1B Hospital with Michael Bloomberg

Johns Hopkins University dedicated its new $1.1 billion hospital this month and Hopkins alum and major donor New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg was on hand for the ceremony. 

"The 205-room Charlotte R. Bloomberg Children’s Center features 10 surgical suites, a 45-bed neonatal intensive care unit," the Wall Street Journal writes.

"Bloomberg, 70 years old, graduated from Johns Hopkins in 1964 with a degree in engineering," the Journal writes. "He is the single-largest donor in the university’s history, giving more than $800 million since 1965 and contributing $120 million to the construction of the hospital."

Bloomberg Philanthropies funded 500 works of art, the paper writes. You can read the rest of the story here

Survey: Baltimore Ninth Best City for Staying Young

It may not be the fountain of youth, but folks who live in cities that are less stressful tend to remain more healthful and active. 

That is according to RealAge.com, which produces a test that asks individuals a number of questions to determine if they act younger or older than their numerical age.

And their data from 50 American cities shows that Baltimore ranks No. 9 on its list of top towns for staying forever young. Baltimore tied with Washington, D.C., for ninth place. San Francisco, Salt Lake City and San Diego were the top three cities in its ranking.

Cholesterol, employment levels, eating habits and smoking were all factors that RealAge.com considered. 

Johns Hopkins Unveils $1.1B Hospital

Johns Hopkins Hospital has unveiled its $1.1 billion twin towers. The new hospital will open April 29, reports the Baltimore Sun. 

"There will be X-boxes and a basketball court for kids, single rooms for all patients, sleeper-sofas for family, an improved dining menu and extensive sound proofing," the Sun writes. 

You can read more about the new hospital here

And you can read Bmore Media's story on the hospital here

Baltimore Has Nation's Top Hospital Care

Baltimore leads the nation in overall hospital care, according to a report from ratings service HealthGrades. 

The survey got Baltimore national attention from a variety of news outlets, including U.S. News & World Report, which ran a HealthDay News item on its website. 

"Baltimore had nine top-performing hospitals out of 19 eligible hospitals in the city," the website says.

Phoenix, Cedar Rapids, Iowa; Richmond, Va.; and Cincinnati rounded out the top five. 

You can read the rest of the story here

Report: Maryland Ranks Middle of the Pack for Healthy States

People in Vermont are the most healthful in the nation while those in Mississippi rank at the bottom. That's according to America's Health Ranking, a report that assesses residents' smoking, obesity, homicide and infant mortality rates, among other factors.

Maryland ranked No. 22 on the list. It scored favorably for a reduction in its smoking rate and a decrease in its violent crime rate. But it has a high infant mortality rate and levels of air pollution, according to the report.

You can read the rest of the analysis here.

Wichita Health Workers Learn Simulated Training in Baltimore

Health workers from Wichita, Kansas recently learned the value of simulated training from Betsy Hunt at Johns Hopkins.

From the source:

"Six Wichita doctors, nurses and medical students flew a Hawker Beechcraft business jet to spend five hours at Hunt's simulation training center on Thursday.

Hunt put them through three scary simulations: resuscitating two high-tech mannequin guys and a mannequin baby, all in cardiac arrest.

All six Wichitans are highly trained and motivated, yet Hunt saw them make minor mistake after mistake after mistake that might have prolonged patient suffering.

In medicine, Hunt said, no one trains together enough. From medical school on, doctors train separately from nurses, nurses train separately from pharmacists and anesthesiologists, and so on."

Read the full story here.

MD Ranked No. 21 in Health Ranking

A national health ranking has ranked Maryland No. 21 in its list of healthful states. No. 1 was Vermont, followed by Massachusetts and New Hampshire.

The nonprofit looked at overall public health funding, immunization coverage, health insurance access, cancer deaths, air pollution, and physical activity.

You can see the rankings here.

Maryland Joins National Effort to Fight Blood Infections

Maryland hospitals are joining the fight to eliminate bloodstream infections. The state's 38 hospitals are adopting preventative guidelines established by Johns Hopkins Hospital physician Dr. Peter Pronovost.

Maryland's effort was featured in Infection Control Today and the Los Angeles Times, which picked up a story thatoriginally appeared in the Baltimore Sun.

Johns Hopkins is No. 1 again in research spending

Johns Hopkins University, Greater Baltimore's largest employer, spends more than any other university on medical, science and engineering research. Johns Hopkins spent $1.85 billion on this research in fiscal 2009, according to the National Science Foundation, which tracked 711 institutions.

Rounding out the top five were the University of Michigan, University of Wisconsin, Madison; University of California, San Francisco, and University of California, Los Angeles.

You can see the National Science Foundation report here.

Hopkins University researchers get $34.5M to test thought-controlled prosthetic limb system

Scientists at The Johns Hopkins University Applied Physics Laboratory, based in Laurel, MD, want to get into the minds of amputees who use prosthetic limbs. The U.S. Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA) awarded researchers a $34.5 million contract to begin testing a new prosthetic limb system controlled by the amputees' thoughts.

Here's an excerpt:

"APL scientists and engineers developed the underlying technology under DARPA's Revolutionizing Prosthetics 2009 program, an ambitious four-year effort to create a prosthetic arm that would by far eclipse the World War II era hook-and-cable device used by most amputees. The program has already produced two complex prototypes, each advancing the art of upper-arm prosthetics.

The final design -- the MPL -- offers 22 degrees of motion, including independent movement of each finger, in a package that weighs about nine pounds (the weight of a natural limb). Providing nearly as much dexterity as a natural limb, the MPL is capable of unprecedented mechanical agility and is designed to respond to a user's thoughts."

Read the entire article here.

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