Do you know the history of the Search Engine?

To the young ones among us, it may seem like search engines and the Internet have been around forever, but it really it has only been about 20 years. According to Wikipedia, the first tool for searching the Internet, created in 1990, was called “Archie”. It downloaded directory listings of all files located on public anonymous FTP servers; creating a searchable database of file names. A year later “Gopher” was created. It indexed plain text documents. “Veronica” and “Jughead” came along to search Gopher’s index systems. The first actual Web search engine was developed by Matthew Gray in 1993 and was called “Wandex.”

There are basically three types of search engines: Those that are powered by robots (called crawlers; ants or spiders) and those that are powered by human submissions; and those that are a hybrid of the two.

Crawler-based search engines are those that use automated software agents (called crawlers) that visit a Web site, read the information on the actual site, read the site’s meta tags and also follow the links that the site connects to performing indexing on all linked Web sites as well. The crawler returns all that information back to a central depository, where the data is indexed. The crawler will periodically return to the sites to check for any information that has changed. The frequency with which this happens is determined by the administrators of the search engine.

Human-powered search engines rely on humans to submit information that is subsequently indexed and catalogued. Only information that is submitted is put into the index. lists 247 commercial search engines under 28 different categories. We are all familiar with the general search engines like Google, Yahoo and Bing, but there are a number […]

Level III data – What’s the big deal?

Financial Transaction Services (FTS) wrote an article recently about why suppliers should be concerned about Level III credit card data when they are selling to the government and how they can save on transaction processing fees by providing it. You can read the article here, but I think the important question here is why does the government want the Level III data?
Here are four reasons why the government wants this data.

Without Level III data, no one really knows what is being purchased. Level III data provides the line item details of a transaction. Not just the name of the vendor and the amount spent, but a list of the items that were purchased and the price that was paid for each item. This gives the government valuable pricing data and an insight into the needs of the government customer.
The Level III data can be useful to key agency personnel to help streamline accounting and business practices and to merge payment data with electronic procurement systems.
Level III data can then be used to facilitate strategic sourcing and to negotiate better prices in agency wide contracts. This can save the government millions of dollars.
Knowing what is purchased under every transaction also helps the government protect itself against fraudulent purchases. There is always a temptation to misuse a government credit card and the government managers must be vigilant against abuse. Having Level III data helps them make sure only proper items are purchased and that they are compliant with agency guidelines.

It is important for suppliers to understand why the government asks them to provide Level III financial data. Besides, if providing the data also saves the supplier money in transaction processing fees, everyone comes out a winner.

New Security Rules for the Electronic Health Care Record Incentive Program

In 2009, the Ways and Means committee put forth the Health Information Technology for Economic and Clinical Health Act or HITECH Act. The bill states that Health information technology helps save lives and lower costs. One of the four major goals of the legislation is to “Strengthening Federal privacy and security law to protect identifiable health information from misuse as the health care”.

Stage  1 of the program required hospitals and eligible professionals (physicians) to conduct or review a risk analysis and implement security updates as necessary to correct identified security deficiencies.

The proposed Stage 2 rule includes the identical requirement. But it adds that the assessment must include “addressing the encryption/security of data at rest.”

The proposed rule specifically states: “We do not propose to change the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act of 1996 (HIPAA) Security Rule requirements or require any more than would be required under HIPAA. We only emphasize the importance of an eligible professional or hospital including in its security risk analysis an assessment of the reasonableness and appropriateness of encrypting electronic protected health information as a means of securing it, and where it is not reasonable and appropriate, the adoption of an equivalent alternative measure.”

Recommended Security Changes

The proposed rule would not alter the HIPAA Security Rule’s requirements on encryption. Under that rule, encryption is “addressable,” which means it must be implemented if doing so is reasonable and appropriate – which stops short of an outright mandate.
Office of the National Coordinator for Health IT, proposes ” that Electronic Health Record [EHR] vendors … by default enable encryption of data on end-user devices if any data is kept on user devices after the session ends”.
That Secure Messaging is used when doctors communicate with […]