Doctors in Massachusetts can forget about their monopoly on moonlighting gigs as dermatology artists now that a state court has thrown out a law banning tattooing by nonphysicians.
Massachusetts Superior Court Judge Barbara Rouse ruled in late October that the ban, first imposed in the 1960s, was unconstitutional because marking the body is a protected form of free expression.
Rouse agreed with two Martha's Vineyard residents, one of whom is licensed as a tattoo artist in New York, and the American Civil Liberties Union when she wrote: "Tattooing is an ancient art form which has been practiced in virtually every culture. Tattoos demonstrate commitment to political and personal beliefs."
State health officials had argued that the ban protected would-be human canvasses from contaminated needles carrying HIV and the hepatitis virus. The judge said the state could address these concerns and make some money in the process by regulating and licensing body art.
Violators had been subject to up to a year in jail or a $300 fine. It's pretty much a moot point, as the weekly Boston Phoenix newspaper reported that state officials were unaware of anyone ever being prosecuted under this law.
Get in line. The morning after the presidential election, when the world held its breath to find out who would be the next leader of the free world, industry representatives wanted everyone to know they were curious, as well.
The Wall Township, N.J.-based Healthcare Intelligence Network, which provides healthcare executives with summaries of industry news, issued a statement declaring "the healthcare industry, along with the rest of the country, is waiting for the final decision on the presidential campaign." The release went on to explain that whoever occupies the Oval Office could have a significant impact on healthcare.
Sure, a cliffhanger of a presidential election makes fascinating water-cooler gossip, but it's hardly a revelation necessitating a press release.
Water works. Ever gotten sick or injured while yachting around the globe? WorldClinic of Burlington, Mass., has just the solution.
The 2-year-old firm recently launched a service to treat routine and emergency medical conditions of yachters and their crews with the aid of wireless communication and onboard supplies. The company's DistanceCare system provides ailing sailors worldwide 24-hour access to physicians, emergency evacuation equipment, medical records, onboard lockers, cardiac equipment and insurance for healthcare in foreign ports.
"WorldClinic's care model focuses on preventing medical crises," says founder and CEO Daniel Carlin, M.D. He came to prominence in 1998 when he e-mailed self-surgery tips to a Russian sailor in an around-the-world solo yacht race.
"Language barriers, as well as the challenge of finding a high-quality physician and hospital in a foreign port, translates into different approaches to medical care for crew members and their guests. As a result, many illnesses go untreated because seeking medical attention becomes difficult and intimidating," Carlin says.
And we all know how much people in exotic locales love rich Americans who flaunt their wealth.
Time flies. What a difference a month makes in medical technology. At the October Microsoft Healthcare User's Group conference, vendors of handheld physician workflow devices were boasting about all the features loaded onto their PDAs-except the representative of ParkStone Medical Information Systems of Fort Lauderdale, Fla.
A ParkStone representative crowed that the popular ParkStone handheld computerized prescription writing tool was going to remain just that, a specialty tool for checking and writing prescriptions. Meanwhile, other vendors were touting functions for electronic medical records creation, coding, patient tracking, referring, ordering and receiving lab services, making voice recordings, and facilitating transcriptions.
"We don't want to be an electronic patient record," said Shawn Michael, ParkStone account director. Of his competitors, he sniffed, "Too many of them are way out in front of the market."
Fast forward to Nov. 9. ParkStone announces it has signed an agreement with software developer Medix Resources of New York to-ta-da!-add lab order, lab results and electronic claims submission functions to its PDA.
The following day, CEO Lewis Stone confirmed his company remains concerned about turning off physicians by overwhelming them with too much technology.
Inconsistency, to paraphrase Emerson, is a hobgoblin only to those with small minds.