Friday, January 30, 2009 Heads Back to the Big Game With 'Confidence', the leading online destination for car shoppers, will debut an all-new advertisement on Super Bowl XLIII, "Lifetime of Confidence." The 60-second spot, which will air in the second quarter, illustrates how helps shoppers prepare to head to the dealership and buy a car.

The ad builds on's "Car Shopping Confidence" campaign that kicked off last year with two ads on Super Bowl XLII. The commercial uses the epic life story of fictitious character David Abernathy to illustrate how even the most confident people need a little extra help when it comes to car shopping.

From shaking his doctor's hand upon birth and successfully negotiating a later bedtime at age 3, to saving the class pets from his burning school and performing surgery at an opera house, the narrative spot takes viewers through various events in David's lifetime of confidence. Yet even David is intimidated when it comes time to buy a car. David's preparations on build his confidence so he can get the perfect car at the perfect price. The ad closes with's tagline, "Confidence Comes Standard."

"We wanted to showcase our confidence message in a big way during the big game," said Mitch Golub, president of "Consumer confidence in car shopping has never been more important, and it speaks to what delivers. We are seeing the largest increase in internet shoppers in more than a decade, a clear sign of the times. As consumers are faced with more automotive options and economic uncertainty, they want to be sure they are making the right purchase decision, and they are coming online to do their homework.

The Super Bowl gives us the biggest stage in advertising to remind consumers that delivers confidence by providing tools, credible information and advice that fuel smart new- and used-car purchase decisions."

"'Lifetime of Confidence' is a great extension of our 'Confidence' campaign," said Carolyn Crafts,'s vice president of marketing.

,"Car shopping can be an intimidating process, even for the most knowledgeable and confident people. We're showing that everyone needs to come to to prepare for the buying process," she said.

DDB Chicago,'s agency of record, created the spot specifically in response to's desire to make confidence the core focus of its Super Bowl presence.

"To best deliver the confidence message in the Super Bowl environment, we chose to produce a cinematic 60-second spot that would be larger than life. It tells a great story that gives viewers a little escape," said Mark Gross, creative director at DDB Chicago.

Following the Super Bowl, will surround consumers with its confidence message on air, in print and online, promoting the site's credible and easy-to-understand research tools and advice. Online ads will run after the big game on top sites such as Yahoo!,, and YouTube. "Lifetime of Confidence" will run on leading cable networks, including ESPN, where will continue its sponsorship of ESPN's "Saturday Afternoon College Football" and "NASCAR Now."

The campaign will also get additional weight from's local affiliate network, including leading newspapers and television stations such as The Washington Post, Dallas Morning News, Arizona Republic, Los Angeles Times, KHOU Houston, and The Miami Herald, who will back the campaign locally in print and online.

Thursday, January 29, 2009

Jiffy Lube Seeks to Raise $1.5 Million for American Heart Association's Go Red For Women Movement

Jiffy Lube this week announces the launch of the second year of its nationwide campaign to support the American Heart Association's Go Red For Women movement.

Starting January 28, more than 85 percent of Jiffy Lube locations across the U.S. will participate in the Jiffy Lube Maintenance Partners for Life campaign, which emphasizes the importance of maintaining a healthy heart and a healthy vehicle. Jiffy Lube seeks to raise $1.5 million to help fight heart disease, which would exceed last year's total of $1,034,757. One hundred percent of the funds will benefit Go Red For Women initiatives.

Nearly 2,400 Americans die of cardiovascular disease each day -- an average of one death every 37 seconds. In fact, heart disease is the nation's number one killer of women and men. Despite more women dying of heart disease than the next five causes of death combined, only 21 percent of women view heart disease as their greatest health threat.

"We're very excited to continue our partnership with the American Heart Association's Go Red For Women movement, which has made such a positive impact in the fight against heart disease," said Rick Altizer, president of Jiffy Lube International.

"We were so blown away by the positive response and overwhelming support from our system and customers alike. We look forward to a long and rewarding relationship with the AHA."

Between January 28 and March 16, customers at participating service centers can support this cause with a donation of $3. In return, donors will receive a Jiffy Lube Maintenance Partners for Life savings book containing heart-healthy recipes, as well as $100 in savings from Jiffy Lube, Perfumania and Yankee Candle. Funds will be donated to local American Heart Association chapters in the communities in which they are raised.

In addition, for each Jiffy Lube Gift Card purchased during the campaign, both online or at participating service centers, Jiffy Lube will donate $1 to Go Red For Women.

Jiffy Lube Maintenance Partners for Life leverages the strong parallels between properly maintaining both heart health and vehicle health, and educates people on smart preventive maintenance of their bodies and vehicles.

Maintaining a healthy heart and healthy vehicle is a matter of choice; the right choices can turn into life-saving actions. Regular visits to the doctor, along with a proper diet and exercise regime help keep both the body and heart healthy. Likewise, following the vehicle manufacturer's recommended maintenance schedule can help keep a vehicle running properly. Simple choices can provide long-term benefits; to learn about choices that can benefit your heart health, visit

"Jiffy Lube has demonstrated extraordinary dedication to the fight against heart disease," said David Josserand, American Heart Association Board Chairman.

"Its Maintenance Partners for Life campaign touches many lives by raising awareness and much-needed funds across the nation. We're extremely grateful for the contributions Jiffy Lube has made to this cause and we look forward to working collectively to reach our Go Red For Women goals," he said.

Tuesday, January 27, 2009

Steve Harvey to Sign Copies of 'Act Like a Lady, Think Like a Man' at Borders in Largo Jan. 30

Actor, Radio personality and commedian, Steve Harvey began doing stand-up comedy in the mid-1980s. His success as a stand-up comedian led to a WB network show, "The Steve Harvey Show," which ran from 1996 to 2002.

It was a huge hit and won multiple NAACP Image Awards. In 1997, Harvey continued his work in stand-up comedy, touring as one of the "Kings of Comedy," along with Cedric the Entertainer, D.L. Hughley and Bernie Mac. The comedy team would later be reunited in a film by Spike Lee called "The Original Kings of Comedy." Steve Harvey is now widely known as the host of the nationally syndicated "Steve Harvey Morning Show," which has more than seven million listeners.

Harvey will sign his latest book, "Act Like a Lady, Think Like a Man: What Men Really Think About Love, Relationships, Intimacy, and Commitment." on Friday, Jan. 30 at 7 p.m., Borders 931 Capital Centre Blvd. Largo, MD 20774. Please call (301) 499-2173 for details.

Steve Harvey, the host of the nationally syndicated "Steve Harvey Morning Show," can't count the number of impressive women he's met over the years, whether it's through the "Strawberry Letters" segment of his program or while on tour for his comedy shows. These are women who can run a small business, keep a household with three kids in tip-top shape and chair a church group all at the same time. Yet when it comes to relationships, they can't figure out what makes men tick. Why? According to Steve it's because they're asking other women for advice when no one but another man can tell them how to find and keep a man.

In "Act Like a Lady, Think Like a Man," Steve lets women inside the mindset of a man and sheds light on concepts and questions such as:

-- The Ninety Day Rule: Ford requires it of its employees. Should you require it of your man?

-- How to spot a mama's boy and what if anything you can do about it.

-- When to introduce the kids. And what to read into the first interaction between your date and your kids.

-- The five questions every woman should ask a man to determine how serious he is.

Sometimes funny, sometimes direct, but always truthful, "Act Like a Lady, Think Like a Man" is a book you must read if you want to understand how men think when it comes to relationships.

Sunday, January 25, 2009

"We Have Not Turned the Corner. In Fact, We Can't Even See the Corner Right Now."

In an essay opening the February 2 Newsweek cover package, "I Got It Bad (And That Ain't Good)" (on newsstands Monday, January 26), Newsweek International Editor Fareed Zakaria writes that President Barack Obama will have to quickly start planning for a set of more extraordinary measures to pull the United States out of its current, unsustainable economic condition.

"The American financial system is effectively broken. Major banks are moving toward insolvency, and credit activity remains extremely weak. As long as the financial sector remains moribund, American consumers and companies -- who collectively make up 80 percent of GDP -- will not have access to credit, and economic activity cannot really resume on any significant scale. We have not turned the corner. In fact, we can't even see the corner right now," he writes.

"President Obama faces a terrible dilemma. He needs to act quickly and on a massive scale," Zakaria writes.

Without large scale action, the financial system will keep bleeding, but the American public believes that we have already spent far too much on bailing out the banks.

Zakaria argues that the economic fact is that we have not spent enough.

"This current crisis has resulted in a deep erosion of American power that we have not fully understood. Even in the depths of the Iraq War, when much of the globe was enraged by George W. Bush's unilateralism, people everywhere believed that the United States had the world's most advanced economy and that its capital markets in particular were the most sophisticated and developed," he said.

That system is now seen across the world as a sham, and the attitudes of officials and businessmen range from shock to rage at what they see in the United States.

"When he began his run for the White House, Barack Obama thought he could restore American power and leadership by righting our foreign policy, winding down the Iraq War, closing Guantanamo, ending torture. These are all important policies, and I am glad that he is pursuing them. But right now, the most important way for him to restore America's credibility and influence in the world is to rescue the American model," Zakaria writes.

Also in the cover package, Senior Editor Daniel Gross writes how more and more companies and firms are deciding to forgo the work of restructuring their finances, and instead selling off their inventory and closing.

"Rather than soldier on, many operators have opted to simply fold, returning money to investors. Companies, homeowners and money managers willing to quit rather than fight is both a symptom of the nation's deep economic woes and emblematic of the challenge the Obama administration faces," Gross writes. "Our 'Yes, We Can' president is going to have to fix a 'No, We Can't' economy," Gross said.

Saturday, January 24, 2009

Steinway Installs World's Largest Solar Cooling System

With more than 11 acres of factory operations housed in a cluster of century-old buildings in Queens, Steinway & Sons is keenly aware of the need for energy-saving technology to power its piano manufacturing processes. That's one reason the 156-year-old company has installed the largest solar-powered rooftop system in the world to provide cool air to dehumidify the factory and protect the precision pianos inside.

The $875,000 solar system is partly funded through a grant from the New York State Energy Research and Development Authority, and through federal tax credits. It will function as a beta site for the tri-state area.

"It's critical that we find energy-efficient ways to dehumidify our plant, and the solar panels are the answer," said Bill Rigos, Facilities Manager at the Steinway & Sons factory in Queens.

The system, which will be completed in late spring, pumps solar-heated water into an 80-ton double-effect absorption chiller that serves as a heat exchanger. The chiller removes the superheated water and leaves cool air for dehumidifying. Lower humidity in the factory provides a more stable environment, with no moisture to threaten the precision construction of the famed Steinway pianos. In winter, the system will convert water to steam to heat the factory.

"Steinway has always been an innovative and progressive company; it's part of the company's culture," said Andrew Horbachevsky, Steinway's Vice President of Manufacturing.

"This begins with a bold vision. Our objective is to continue to challenge the status quo, whether in piano performance and quality, product offerings or factory operational efficiency. Using renewable energy sources reflects this same sensibility."

Steinway has found that a desire to cut energy costs leads naturally to green alternatives, and the solar panels are a huge example.

"We look at green initiatives as a way to recapture resources," said Todd Sanders, Vice President of Sales and Marketing for Steinway.

"We're not doing it to be flashy. We're doing it because it makes good business sense and helps to maintain the excellence of our products."

Thursday, January 22, 2009

Walmart Offers $9 Smoking Cessation Starter Pack

To help motivated consumers quit smoking and to further its Operation Main Street efforts to save customers money on prescription medications, Walmart today announced that it has expanded its affordable pharmacy program to include a smoking cessation prescription starter pack for $9, the lowest price on the market.*

The $9 starter pack of bupropion ER 150mg, the generic equivalent of Zyban, is now available at Walmart, Neighborhood Market and Sam's Club pharmacies in a 17-tablet, 10-day supply. This announcement is part of the retailer's January Healthy Living initiative, which aims to help Americans maintain their better eating, smoking cessation and exercise pledges in 2009.

"Times are tight right now, and Walmart is committed to helping our customers maintain their healthy lifestyles in both good economic times and bad," said Dr. John Agwunobi, Walmart senior vice president and president, health and wellness.

"With our affordable smoking cessation offerings, we're hopeful that smokers who are committed to quitting will be able to get the tools they need to stop smoking and still be able to afford everyday household items so they can live better," he said.

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), nearly 43 million Americans currently smoke, with 70 percent of them saying they want to stop. However - given today's current economic landscape - money previously set aside for smoking cessation products may now be re-allocated toward items American families need most.

Smoking cessation medication for $9 at Walmart may help reverse this trend as the bupropion ER starter pack - initiated at the request of both health care professionals and customers - is low-priced and affordable for consumers who want to quit.

"The public health community has long recognized that the cost of either cigarettes or smoking cessation medications has served as a determining factor for smokers to continue smoking or finally to decide to quit," said Cheryl G. Healton, Dr. P.H., President and CEO of the American Legacy Foundation.

"This move by Walmart to provide science-based smoking cessation therapies that smokers can more easily afford is a huge step forward in helping millions of smokers finally quit for good. We applaud Walmart and hope other retailers will follow their example. It can only result in longer, healthier lives."

According to the CDC, smoking cessation treatments, including counseling and medications, can double quitting success rates. In addition to the bupropion ER starter pack, Walmart also currently offers the following over-the-counter and prescription products for consumers and physicians to consider for continued success toward a smoke-free lifestyle:

-- Nicorette Coated Gum 120-count bonus pack, assorted flavors ($39.84)
-- NicoDerm Step 1 21-count bonus pack patches or Step 2 14-count patches
-- Commit Lozenges 96-count bonus pack, assorted flavors ($34.84)
-- Equate-Brand Nicotine Gum, Patches, and Lozenges
-- 60-tablet, 30-day supply of bupropion ER 150mg ($27)

"Quitting smoking is tough, but we know that when smokers have the resources available to help, their rates of success are higher," said Terry Music, chief mission officer, American Cancer Society.

"In addition to accessing smoking cessation medications, smokers wanting to quit should make a quit plan to further increase their chance of success. By calling the American Cancer Society Quitline(R) at 1-800-227-2345, smokers can talk with a trained counselor who can explain how best to use the cessation treatments and provide other tips and tools to help in a successful quit attempt."

Tuesday, January 20, 2009

Frank N. Darras Recognized as a Southern California Best Lawyer

Frank N. Darras, the nation's leading disability and long-term care insurance lawyer has been recognized for the fifth time in a row, as one of the 'Best Lawyers in America'.

Best Lawyers is the oldest and most respected peer-review publication in the legal profession, listing exceptional attorneys who were nominated and voted for by their peers. Darras is one of the outstanding lawyers who has earned recognition through exemplary legal work that has been acknowledged by his colleagues.

For over 20 years, Darras has taken on insurance industry giants on behalf of the disabled and the elderly. In 2008, he was singled out to provide expert counsel and commentary about Senior Life Settlements, Long-Term Care, the Conseco Trust and disability insurance. He was even asked by members of the U.S. Congress for his expertise and insight on insurance matters.

Frank Darras has nurtured and grown his disability and long-term care insurance practice into the largest in America, reviewing over 3000 new cases a month. He personally reaches out to the disabled, empowers them, restores their hope and gets them the benefits they richly deserve.

The inclusion in Best Lawyers is a particular honor because the standard to be included is so rigorous. More than 18,500 leading attorneys throughout the United States cast more than a million votes on the legal abilities of their colleagues. Best Lawyers requires no fee or purchase for those honored to be listed. Best Lawyers in America has earned the respect of the legal profession, media, and clients as the most reliable, unbiased source of legal referrals anywhere.

Darras is often quoted, widely published and a frequent keynote speaker.

Sunday, January 18, 2009

Simmons Jewelry Co. and Nickelodeon/Viacom Consumer Products Partner on Co-Branded SpongeBob SquarePants Line

Nickelodeon Celebrates SpongeBob SquarePants' 10th Anniversary Year with the Creation of 12-Carat Total Weight, Diamond-Encrusted SpongeBob Pendant to be Auctioned Off for Charity curtesey of the
Simmons Jewelry Co. and Nickelodeon & Viacom Consumer Products.

The fine-jewelry and watch line -all inspired by the pop-culture phenomenon SpongeBob SquarePants, which is now celebrating its landmark 10th anniversary year.

Led by the creation of an exclusive, 12-carat total weight diamond-encrusted SpongeBob pendant to be auctioned off for charity, the entire retail collection will feature a variety of fashionable, distinctive and avant-garde designs utilizing materials such as enamel, gold, silver, and diamonds under the design direction of 2009 GEM Award recipient for Jewelry Style, Russell Simmons.

The diamond encrusted SpongeBob by Simmons Jewelry Co. pendant containing a total of 12 carats of white diamonds as well as color enhanced yellow, red and blue diamonds set in 18KT yellow and white gold--will make its debut display in Park City, Utah, during the 2009 Film Festival and will be auctioned off at a later date with proceeds benefiting the Diamond Empowerment Fund (D.E.F.). This pendant will be displayed in a one of a kind, custom made abstract box.

"We are always looking for innovative ideas to develop fine jewelry and the Nickelodeon partnership to license SpongeBob is the perfect addition to the Simmons Jewelry Co. family," said Russell Simmons, who will be on-hand to announce the partnership in Park City.

Marking the first luxury brand jewelry partner for SpongeBob SquarePants, the collection will be available for both men and women. Available at fine jewelry and specialty retailers in fall 2009, the products will retail from $150 to $75,000.

Saturday, January 17, 2009

One in Four Dogs Die of CancerCancer is the Number One Cause of Death in Dogs Over 2

Dog owners and lovers in the United States view canine cancer as the greatest health threat to their beloved pets. They are correct. One in four dogs die of cancer.

Cancer is the number one cause of death in dogs over the age of 2. Morris Animal Foundation (MAF) has posted on its Web site,, a canine cancer exclusive of special interest to dog owners and dog lovers everywhere. The MAF canine cancer Web exclusive features information and insight from two of the world's leading colleges of veterinary medicine and canine cancer research centers, Colorado State University and Cornell University.

View the presentation at: The MAF exclusive includes a question and answer session conducted by three veterinary oncologists from the Colorado State University Animal Cancer Center - the largest facility of its kind in the world. Questions have been submitted from owners whose dogs are suffering from cancer, animal lovers, as well as dog breeders, boarding kennel managers and others.

Thursday, January 15, 2009

Obama 'Collector's Vault' Is a Scrapbook of the 44th President's Life and Campaign

Whitman Publishing, LLC, has released a hands-on "Collector's Vault" honoring Barack Obama's life and historic presidential campaign. The 144-page coffee table book is a combination history, scrapbook, and photo album, packed with souvenir replicas such as buttons, posters, campaign staff passes, and tickets.

The Obama Collector's Vault debuts nationwide at Barnes & Noble, Books-A-Million, Costco, Sam's Club, Wal-Mart and other book outlets Tuesday, January 13. It is also available at, or by calling 1-800-546-2995.

Written by political veteran Avery Krut, the $49.95 book covers every aspect of Barack Obama's life and historic campaign for the Presidency, combining elements of scrapbook, photo album and souvenir treasure trove.

Among the Vault's colorful pages are more than 50 separate pieces of Obama memorabilia, including reproductions of his birth certificate, high school yearbook photographs, family snapshots and historic speeches-plus collectible postcards, bumper stickers and campaign posters.

All of the personalities are here in Krut's dramatic narrative: Hillary and Bill Clinton, John McCain and Sarah Palin, Joe Biden and Joe the Plumber. But, in the end, the Obama Collector's Vault is the story of one remarkable American and his family.

Readers for generations to come can relive the heady days of the Obama '08 Campaign from hopeful beginnings to its landmark conclusion. They can also revisit the stirring words of Barack Obama's most important speeches, including the electrifying 2004 Convention Keynote and "American Promise," the 2008 Acceptance Speech that moved tens of thousands in Denver's Mile High Stadium.

Historic photographs will take you from Barack's first tricycle to the triumphant night in Chicago's Grant Park when he became the President-Elect-- from the shy young man in Hawaii to the confident leader about to assume his rightful place on the chart of all 44 American Presidents that concludes this historic keepsake.

Tuesday, January 13, 2009

Windows Embedded POSReady 2009

Today, at the National Retail Federation Annual Convention & Expo, Microsoft Corp. announced the availability of the latest offering from its Windows Embedded Ready product line for key device categories, Windows Embedded POSReady 2009, the next generation of Windows Embedded for Point of Service (POS).

Windows Embedded POSReady 2009 is Microsoft's embedded operating system optimized for OEMs building POS solutions and enterprises using POS devices. This next-generation POS platform is a flexible operating system designed to seamlessly connect POS solutions with peripherals, servers and services.

The following quotes are from just some of the companies currently working with Windows Embedded for Point of Service that will be working with Windows Embedded POSReady 2009 to bring diverse connected device solutions to market.

Sunday, January 11, 2009

Celebrate January: National Hot Tea Month! International Tea Expert Spins Stories of Adventure in New Book

What happens when a young man growing up in Africa heads off to England to "find himself" -- only to land in the finest of tea houses receiving classical training as a tea taster?

Award-winning author Barry W. Cooper shares with us his path to becoming the "Indiana Jones of Tea" in Silver Spoons, Mad Baboons, and Other Tales of Tea (240 pp., $24.95, ISBN 0977739716). Cooper won a 2008 IPPY Independent Publishing Award for this mix of adventure and tea education.

Joe Simrany, President of the Tea Association of the USA, says, "Barry Cooper's name has become synonymous with tea. A larger-than-life figure, Barry has helped shape the tea industry as we know it today and will surely become part of the folklore remembered for generations to come. Filled with insight and adventure, this memoir reads like a page-turning novel and will be enjoyed by anyone with even a passing interest in tea."

The stories in Silver Spoons cover a range of territory, from the early "Safari Encounters" years in Africa to Cooper's encounters in hostile territories when searching for the perfect herbs and teas in "Guns and Golf" and "Flight Out of a War Zone."

A young man's initial training in the formal world of tea is detailed in "Lipton Training," insights gleaned from his time spent at Boulder's Celestial Seasonings are revealed, and his subsequent decision to leave and build his own Colorado tea company are chronicled as well. Mixed into the storytelling the Tea Master also shares his expertise on teas from all major countries of origin: India, China, Formosa, Ceylon, Japan and Kenya.

Saturday, January 10, 2009

Russell Simmons, Founder of Simmons Jewelry Co., Presented the 2009 GEM Award for Style

In honor of his exceptional contributions to the fine jewelry industry, Russell Simmons received the coveted Award for Style from the Jewelry Information Center at Friday evening's GEM Awards in Manhattan.

The hip-hop pioneer, entrepreneur, and humanitarian was awarded this prize in recognition of both his innovative jewelry design along with his philanthropic efforts through Simmons Jewelry Co. LL Cool J was tapped to introduce and pay tribute to Russell, his longtime friend and mentor.

The 2009 awards drew hoards of industry leaders and professionals to recognize companies and individuals whose work promotes the visibility and status of fine jewelry and watches to consumers.

The JIC, the consummate authority on these products, specifically praised Russell for his Simmons Jewelry Co. collections that effortlessly fuse urban concepts with chic, of-the-moment design elements. LL Cool J emphasized Russell's connection to numerous charitable endeavors worldwide. Stemming from his passion for both the jewelry industry and the development of underprivileged communities, Russell founded the Diamond Empowerment Fund (DEF) in 2007. Funds from Simmons Jewelry Co.'s "Green Bracelet" provide crucial support for this educational initiative in Africa.

With Russell at the helm, the sophistication of the Simmons Jewelry Co. collections has drawn a new consumer to the jewelry industry -- a consumer receptive and enthusiastic to his modern take on traditional jewelry. The embrace of Russell's unique design will surely perpetuate the jewelry industry's relevance for generations.

Simmons has been instrumental in brining the powerful influence of hip-hop culture to every facet of business and media. His groundbreaking vision has touched music, fashion, finance, television and film, as well as the face of modern philanthropy.

Simmons' company is quickly emerging as an industry leader and design innovator in all jewelry categories. Simmons Jewelry Co. can be found in premier jewelers and fine department stores including Zales, Gordon's Jewelers, Kay Jewelers, Jared the Galleria of Jewelry, Neiman Marcus and Macy's East Department Stores. For more information about Simmons Jewelry Co. and retail locations visit

Thursday, January 8, 2009

Physician Associates, LLC Selects Allscripts Electronic Health Record to Connect and Automate 80 Physicians

Allscripts announced today that Physician Associates LLC, one of the largest multi-specialty group practices in the Southeast United States, has selected the Allscripts Enterprise(TM) Electronic Health Record (EHR) to automate and connect their 80 physicians in 18 offices across Central Florida.

"Physician Associates is committed to making healthcare more efficient and effective for our patients, and the implementation of Allscripts is a major step in that direction," said Chris Jordan, Chief Information Officer of Physician Associates.

"With the Electronic Health Record, our patients can expect quicker, more seamless care as well as improvements in our ability to track and improve the quality of care we deliver."

The Allscripts Enterprise Electronic Health Record will replace paper recordkeeping for Physician Associates by automating everyday clinical tasks such as prescribing medications, ordering and viewing laboratory tests, and documenting patient care. The solution also will connect the group's physicians and other caregivers to each other, to laboratories, pharmacies, insurers and other key healthcare stakeholders, while delivering secure, immediate access to patient information at the point of care - whether in the office, at the hospital or remotely.

Physician Associates has used Allscripts Vision(R) (formerly Misys Vision(R)) practice management solution for more than 10 years with great success and wanted an Electronic Health Record that would integrate seamlessly with the administrative billing and scheduling system.

The group had begun to evaluate the Allscripts Enterprise Electronic Health Record when the merger of Allscripts and Misys Healthcare was announced last March. The merger made the decision to select Allscripts a "no brainer," said Jordan, though not only because of the seamless integration with their practice management system.

"Our physicians, who were generally not happy about giving up their paper charts, were amazed at how quickly and easily they could navigate through the chart in the Allscripts system to find the information they needed," said Jordan.

"For me, a big selling factor was that Allscripts is a Microsoft .NET product, because it's much easier for us to administer and it allows the vendor to make changes to the software faster and more easily."

Allscripts Chief Executive Officer Glen Tullman said the selection of Allscripts by Physician Associates is the latest proof that physician groups who use legacy Misys practice management solutions naturally turn to Allscripts when they go looking for an electronic health record.

"One big reason, in addition to our integration with their existing PM system, is that they know Allscripts has the resources and the commitment to continue to innovate and upgrade our solutions so physicians can do what they most want to do - practice the safest, most effective medicine possible," he said.

Tuesday, January 6, 2009

Charitable giving lasts a lifetime

As part of its 2008 Charitable Giving program, which focuses on 'Doing Well by Doing Good', PR Newswire employees voted on charities located in each area where the company has substantial operations. As a part of the program, employees volunteer their time to the organization as a group and the company makes cash donation. The Ronald McDonald House of Cleveland and the Greater Cleveland Habitat for Humanity were among the charities selected by PR Newswire's Cleveland office, and have already benefited from PR Newswire's volunteers and resources.

"The Ronald McDonald House relies on devoted volunteers to provide a supportive home and other resources for children who need special medical attention and their families," said Mary Jo Pecek, family services assistant, Ronald McDonald House of Cleveland. "PR Newswire's local staff has graciously given their time by lending a helping hand at events for the families staying at our facilities."

To date, PR Newswire employees assisted the Ronald McDonald House of Cleveland by hosting a dinner for the families of sick children being treated at local Cleveland hospitals. At the event, PR Newswire volunteers barbequed food and interacted with the families. In the Cleveland office of PR Newswire, employees continue to help the Ronald McDonald House of Cleveland by collecting soda can tabs to help them fundraise. Additionally, to further serve the 37 families staying at the Ronald McDonald House of Cleveland on any given night, PR Newswire employees post and collect items from the children's wish lists, which keep the house stocked with essential items.

The Ronald McDonald House of Cleveland isn't the only organization benefiting from the good will of PR Newswire employees. Thus far, PR Newswire employees have participated in two "Build Days" with the Greater Cleveland Habitat for Humanity. In the next few weeks, there are several days planned where PR Newswire volunteers will assist the Greater Cleveland Habitat for Humanity on site, laying gravel and helping with handy work.

Sunday, January 4, 2009

Sport & Fitness Ranks as Top-Growing Online Category for the Season

ComScore, a leader in measuring the digital world, this week released online spending data by category for the online holiday shopping season, which showed that trends in online spending outperformed offline in several key product categories. The study compared comScore e-commerce data to overall consumer spending data published by MasterCard Advisors' SpendingPulse Unit for the period of Nov. 1 -- Dec. 24 vs. year ago.
SpendingPulse is an information service provided by MasterCard Advisors, a subsidiary of MasterCard Worldwide. A macro-economic indicator, SpendingPulse reports on national retail and service sales and is based on aggregate sales activity in the MasterCard payments network, coupled with estimates for all other payment forms, including cash and check.
According to comScore, the top growing online product category for the season was Sport & Fitness, which grew 18 percent versus year ago.
The category continues to benefit from consumers' focus on health and fitness and consumers feeling more comfortable purchasing higher-priced fitness equipment, such as treadmills and elliptical machines, online.
The second fastest-growing category was Video Games, Consoles & Accessories, which grew 14 percent on continued demand for popular consoles, such as the Nintendo Wii, Microsoft Xbox 360 and PlayStation 3. Apparel & Accessories, the only other product category with positive online growth, generated higher sales as a result of retailers' aggressive discounting and promotions, and helped by unfavorable weather across much of the country.

Top Online Product Categories for 2008 Holiday Season
Online Non-Travel Spending
Excludes Auctions and Large Corporate Purchases
Dec. 1-24, 2008 vs. Nov. 26 -- Dec. 19, 2007
Total U.S. -- Home/Work/University Locations
Source: comScore, Inc.

Product Category Y/Y Percent Change
Sport & Fitness 18%
Video Games, Consoles & Accessories 14%
Apparel & Accessories 4%
Books & Magazines -1%
Consumer Electronics -5%
Flowers, Greetings & Gifts -7%
Toys -7%
Computer Hardware -8%
Home, Garden & Furniture -14%
Event Tickets -18%
Jewelry & Watches -24%
Computer Software (Excl. PC Games) -24%
Office Supplies -30%
Music, Movies & Videos -32%

A comparison to the MasterCard Advisors' data revealed that the online trends in several product categories outperformed overall consumer spending in those categories, including:

-- Sales of Apparel & Accessories up 4 percent online, compared to a 19-21
percent decline in overall sales of the category.
-- Consumer Electronics declined 5 percent online and Home, Garden and
Furniture declined 14 percent online. This compares to a 26-percent
decline in overall sales of Electronics/ Appliances.
-- Jewelry & Watches declined 24 percent online, compared to a 34-percent
decline in overall sales of Luxury Goods (including Jewelry & Watches).
Wealthiest Households Spent More Online this Holiday Season

comScore also analyzed non-travel e-commerce spending by household income segment for the holiday shopping season, revealing that growth in online spending only occurred (up 7 percent) within households making at least $100,000 in annual income, while lower income segments logged significant declines in spending.
Those households earning less than $50,000 per year appear to be the most affected by the current economic environment, with their online spending declining by 13 percent versus year ago.

Saturday, January 3, 2009

58% of Americans Not Cutting Back on Holiday Spending This Year, New Survey Reveals

While most Americans have been directly affected by the sharp decline in the nation's economy, a majority still feel a sense of obligation, both to their family and the country, to maintain holiday gift giving and celebrations, according to a survey of 1,762adults.

More than 54% of survey respondents know someone who has become unemployed in the past 6 months. However, 58% report they expect to spend the same amount this year on the holidays as they did last year, according to the survey, which was sponsored by Dollar Savvy, a new magazine and website ( dedicated to providing Americans with effective money-saving ideas.

Respondents are aware of the connection between their holiday shopping plans and the economy:

-- Over half (51%) say they have a responsibility to keep shopping to
help the economy.
-- 57% of respondents say regardless of the nation's economic reality,
they have an obligation to provide their families with a wonderful
holiday season.
-- 20% of respondents acknowledged they are dipping into savings to pay
for holiday celebrations.

Survey respondents expressed a sense of optimism about the future, and noted that the economic downturn is helping readjust priorities in a positive way. Among the findings:

-- 61% say the holidays will be more joyful this year.
-- 78% said hard economic times remind them of what is really important.
-- 73% said America will be stronger once we solve our economic problems.
-- 90% percent say the holidays are about family and faith, not gifts and

When it comes to gift-giving, Americans will continue to give store-bought gifts, but 20% said they plan on giving more homemade gifts this year. In keeping with their perspective on the economy, 53% said they expect the number of gifts they receive this year to be less than last year; 41% said they expect it to be about the same.

Additional holiday spending results:

Amount Spent
-- 9% plan on spending more
-- 46% plan to spend the same amount on gifts as last year
-- 43% plan on spending less
-- The average amount expect to spend is $553

Gifts to Children
-- 56% plan on giving the same number of gifts to children as they have
in the past.
-- 22% plan to give less
-- 13% plan to give more
-- 8% don't know

Gifts to Spouse
-- 52% plan on giving the same number of gifts to their spouse
-- 27% plan on giving less
-- 7% plan on giving more
-- 14% don't know

Gifts to Friends
-- 51% plan on giving the same number of gifts to friends
-- 37% plan on giving less
-- 3% plan on giving more
-- 8% don't know

"Despite economic hard times, Americans continue to have a deep, heartfelt connection with the holiday season," said Neil Wertheimer, Editor in Chief of Dollar Savvy and "While they believe that the gifts will be fewer this year, and the meals a little less extravagant, the joys of the holidays will be every bit as great, if not greater, than in years past."

The survey was conducted on December 9 and 10 by Socratic Technologies, a full-service marketing research agency that regularly conducts global Web-based surveys. The respondents were a cross section of women and men who subscribe to one of five broad-interest consumer magazines operated by the Home & Garden Group of the Reader's Digest Association Inc. Survey respondents had a median age of 52 and median household income of $75,400. The survey had a 2.3 percent margin of error.

Thursday, January 1, 2009

Cycle III accreditation indicates better outcomes for chest pain patients

Texas Health Arlington Memorial Hospital today became the first hospital in Texas and one of a handful in the world to be named a Cycle III Chest Pain Center -- the highest accreditation possible for treatment of chest pain -- by the Society of Chest Pain Centers.

To patients, the designation means that Texas Health Arlington Memorial ranks among the best in the world at rapid recognition and collaborative treatment of heart attack. Nationally, accreditation by the Society of Chest Pain Centers is linked to better patient outcomes and more lives saved, according to an Emory University School of Medicine study published in the American Journal of Cardiology in July.

Starting with the first call for help to 911, medical professionals across multiple disciplines snap to action: Paramedics administer life-saving therapies even before the patient reaches the hospital, and physicians and nurses in the emergency room and cardiac catheterization laboratory begin preparing for the patient before he or she arrives.

"Every second counts when it comes to treating a heart attack -- time is heart muscle," said Hoyt Frenzel, M.D., medical director of the Emergency Department and co-chair of the Chest Pain Center at Texas Health Arlington Memorial.

Collaboration between emergency medical providers and the hospital's emergency department, cardiac catheterization lab, cardiac intensive care unit, telemetry and cardiac rehabilitation unit is critical to the success of chest pain centers.

"We're innovators when it comes to treating heart patients," said Kirk King, FACHE, president of Texas Health Arlington Memorial Hospital. "We have worked with local emergency medical providers, who now administer aspirin therapy in the field before the patient arrives at the emergency room door. The responding paramedics also transmit an electrocardiogram from the patients' home to the ER. Once the patient arrives at the hospital, we perform diagnostic cardiac tests at the bedside, which allows us to reach a definitive diagnosis quicker.