Healthcare News January 14, 2012

  • Regulators reach agreement on drug industry fees

    The Food and Drug Administration finalized its recommendations for drug industry fees on Friday and sent them to lawmakers for their approval.

    Federal officials have been working with drug makers for months to develop new user fees that fund the regulators who review the safety and efficacy of new medicines before they can get to market. The FDA is seeking to renew prescription drug user fees that expire Sept. 30 and create two new user fees, for generic drugs and more complex biosimilars.

    “These final recommendations offer a great example of what can be achieved when the FDA, industry and other stakeholders work together on the same goal,” FDA Commissioner Margaret Hamburg said in a statement. “At a time of greater budgetary constraint, user fees provide a critical way for leveraging appropriated dollars, ensuring that FDA has the resources needed to conduct reviews in a timely fashion.”

  • AMA: Permanent ‘doc fix’ is only acceptable option

    A fresh round of negotiations will begin soon over another temporary “doc fix,” and the doctors lobby says almost all the proposals on the table would be a failure.

    A short-term doc fix was part of the two-month tax bill Congress passed late last year. Lawmakers are set to meet later this month to reach an agreement on a yearlong bill, including a yearlong patch in doctors’ Medicare payments — less than the two years that House Republicans had pushed.

    The American Medical Association says two years, one year and two months are all poor substitutes for a permanent repeal of the Medicare payment formula, known as the sustainable growth rate.

  • Republicans say administration’s approach to health law benefits leaves taxpayers in the dark

    Republican lawmakers on Friday accused the Obama administration of hiding the healthcare reform law’s cost by failing to spell out the benefits that health plans must cover.

    Last month, the Department of Health and Human Services released a bulletin that gives states flexibility when deciding what health plans will have to cover in order to gain access to federally subsidized health exchanges. House and Senate Republicans assailed that approach in identical letters to Health and Human Services Secretary Sebelius sent Friday.

    “By issuing a ‘bulletin’ rather than a proposed rule,” the letter says, “the Administration has sidestepped the requirement to publish a cost benefit analysis estimating the impact these mandates will have on health insurance premiums and the increased costs to the federal government.

    “Additionally, the Administration has avoided publishing a list of unfunded mandates on states and the private sector by issuing a ‘bulletin’ rather than a proposed rule, and has also avoided publishing a list of regulatory alternatives.”

  • Wacom Introduces Signature Capture Solution for Business

    Wacom announces the availability of sign&save – an affordable and efficient way to integrate electronic handwritten signatures into the healthcare industry’s daily workflow. Without the need to print, scan and store documents, sign&save produces tangible results in terms of time and cost savings, as well as ease-of-use, security and speedy performance  for both employees and patients.

    Vancouver, Wash. – Jan. 9, 2012 – Wacom® sign&save, a plug-and-play signature capture solution for small to medium size businesses that are seeking to improve customer-facing digital transaction processes, is now available at the company’s online store. The sign&save solution, available in two versions, combines a Wacom signature tablet with the company’s newly designed software, called sign | pro PDF, to deliver an affordable and efficient way to integrate electronic handwritten signatures into a business’s daily workflow. Both versions are easy to connect to Windows®-based personal computers.  Additionally, each signature tablet is able to capture the static and biometric aspects of individual signatures, providing an effective defense against fraud.

    “The sign&save solution provides an immediate ROI by modernizing the signature capture process, making it easy for businesses to add legally-binding electronic signatures to any PDF document,” says Michael Marcum, Vice President of Vertical Markets for Wacom Technology Services Corp. “Ultimately, sign&save is offering businesses a more efficient way to execute contracts and authorize agreements. By eliminating the need to print, scan and store documents, sign&save produces tangible results in terms of time and cost savings, not to mention the ease-of-use, security and speedy performance benefits it gives to both employees and customers.”

    Two Versions to Meet Specific Use Cases

    Wacom offers sign&save in two configurations, one simply called sign&save and the other called sign&save | mobile. The baseline sign&save features the STU-500 LCD signature tablet with sign | pro PDF software. It is targeted for desk and counter top usage as well as point-of-sale locations. The STU-500, with its larger and higher resolution screen is ideal for uses that require more real estate for a premium signing experience. The other configuration, sign&save | mobile, combines an STU-300 LCD signature tablet with sign | pro PDF software, creating the ideal solution for people on-the-go. The smaller footprint and integrated pen-holder on the STU-300 make it easy to slip into a laptop bag. A field engineer that requires sign-off on specific projects or a traveling salesperson that has to have contracts signed and sent to the home office would find sign&save | mobile ideally suited for their needs.  “Whether working from a desktop or laptop computer, the office or in the field, Wacom has a one-stop solution to fit specific signature capture needs,” continues Marcum. Each version of sign&save delivers outstanding longevity through the hardware’s patented pen technology that never needs batteries or a cord to carry an electronic signal.  Since no electronic signals are passed through the Wacom pen tether, pen operation cannot be affected by damage to the tether. In addition, Wacom’s pen technology, unlike resistive technologies, is not impacted by wear or scratches to the LCD’s screen surface.

    Wacom’s sign | pro PDF software works in harmony with the signature tablets, allowing users to capture handwritten signatures electronically and merge them with PDF documents.  While capturing the signature with the tablet’s pressure-sensitive pen, biometric data is recorded and the signed PDF document is automatically protected.

    Pricing and Availability

    Wacom’s sign&save ($299 USD) and sign&save | mobile ($229 USD) are available at the Wacom online store today.

    Resellers and System Integrators interested in selling Wacom’s sign&save can send inquiries to for more information.

    About Wacom

    Founded in 1983, Wacom’s vision to bring people and technology closer together through natural interface technologies has made it the world’s leading manufacturer of pen tablets, interactive pen displays and digital interface solutions. The advanced technology of Wacom’s intuitive input devices provide business and home users with the ability to explore digital content creation in a comfortable, natural way.

    Related posts:

    1. Wacom Showcases Industry-Leading Interactive Pen Displays and Signature Tablets at Upcoming AHIMA Conference
    2. HIMSS11: Ingenious Med Launches Billing and Data Capture App for iPhone, iPod touch and iPad
    3. Nuance Healthcare to Introduce New Voice Capture and Language Understanding Solutions at AHIMA

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