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Op-Ed: RX for Fixing Healthcare: Technology

I wanted to bring the following op-ed to your attention. It was penned by the head of our medical consulting group. He speaks about how technology can streamline systems and processes in the healthcare industry and not only make healthcare delivery more efficient but even make it better.

Here is the bio on Dr. Jeffrey Rideout:

Here is the article as printed in today’s San Jose Mercury News:

Summertime and the blogging is easy…

Happy first day of summer!!!

I just returned from my honeymoon and was completely “off the grid” for the past three weeks. I must say that is was a pretty good feeling. Being connected is a part of my job, as is it is a part of my life, but not having a computer, a cell phone or a PDA for three weeks was…well, liberating. I’m happy to be back at work and plugged in and I obviously could have been plugged in on my travels if I so chose, but I would highly recommend re-booting your connectivity from time to time – yes, I realize this is heresy from a Cisco employee… : )

I was in Amalfi, Italy staying at a convent that St. Francis of Assisi built in 1222 and I had connectivity there, so I’m guessing I could have connectivity pretty much anywhere. There was wireless in my hotel in Rome as well as Florence and in Marbella, Spain as well. Ubiquitious broadband connectivity is still not here and certainly mobile broadband connectivity is quite a ways from being here, but I must say that even though I did not have connectivity for those three weeks, the fact that I could have had it had I wanted did put me a bit at ease…I’m wondering if I would have had connectivity withdrawal if I really was in an area where I couldn’t connect…here’s hoping that I never have to find out, as knowledge of connectivity is comforting to me.

California’s Maverick — CA PUC Commish Susan Kennedy

Thought you’d be interested in this recent profile on CA PUC Commissioner Susan Kennedy who is leading the charge to revamp the state’s telecom policy approach.

Read the full article here or cut and paste the url into your browser:,1,6539821.story?col

Internal Debate on Blogs

Normally I wouldn’t do this type of navel gazing, but I would relish some feedback on the power (or lack thereof) of corporate blogs. And, yes, I have read the BusinessWeek cover story. The reason I’m looking for some general feedback is that my team had an internal discussion on the efficacy and importance (or lack thereof) of blogs. I was arguing for, of course. I had a colleague arguing against.

“What’s the point?” this person asked. “It seems like make-work to have everybody on the team blog.”

“I can only do so many meetings and phone calls a day,” I replied, “but a blog can get an idea across to hundreds a day and since we are in the business of trying to influence public policy I think blogging is a natural.”

“They’re stupid,” said this person.

“In the time that you have just taken to (gripe) about blogging, you could have written a blog entry,” said I.

My boss directed a question to the blogging nay-sayer, “Have you ever read a blog?”

“No,” said this person.

“Ignorance is bliss,” I said under my breath.

So, please help me and my nay-saying colleague by giving me any feedback on the power (or lack thereof) of blogs in the corporate setting…especially if you have any thoughts around blogging on the public policy side. Thanks. And, happy blogging.

Trade, or Something Like It

Cisco announced our quarterly earnings this week, and what I was drawn to is the fact that sales outside of the U.S. now account for 54% of all our company’s sales (that’s up from 52% a short time ago). What’s the Big Deal, you ask? Well, despite stiff competition from Asia, Europe and elsewhere, as well as ambivalence among some U.S. policymakers about how to help make U.S.-based companies more competitive, Cisco is selling to more customers outside the world’s largest economy than inside of it.

Selling abroad is a pretty tough endeavor, as there are so many ways that local firms have a leg-up. But, there are rules-of-the-road, which most governments agree to, that allow U.S. products and services to be treated fairly in foreign markets. These rules are enshrined in the World Trade Organization, and in a number of free trade agreements that the U.S. Government has negotiated with other countries over the years.

There’s a new free trade agreement that the U.S. Government negotiated recently with six countries in Central America (Costa Rica, the Dominican Republic, El Salvador, Guatemala, Honduras and Nicaragua), and it’s running into opposition in Capitol Hill, where its implementing legislation needs to be passed before the agreement can take effect. Among other things, the agreement (CAFTA) would lower a number of tariff and non-tariff barriers in these countries, so U.S. companies could sell more products and provide more services to these markets.

The thing is, U.S. barriers to products and services coming in from these six countries are already extremely low, so the agreement would benefit both sides – in fact, I had the pleasure of hearing the Guatemalan Ambassador to the U.S. explain how he’d heard this story of a farmer in Costa Rica who learns the world market price of coffee beans from a mobile Internet kiosk that comes through his village every week. The farmer can log-on and know what the going-rate is for his coffee and not get taken advantage of in the local market. Pretty cool. So, making this stuff more accessible and affordable I think is a good thing – keeps us all connected (and honest).

I know, there are a lot of politics swirling about over this agreement, but I think this vote comes down to a fundamental decision: are we in or are we out?