Saturday, May 14, 2016

Weekly Overseas Health IT Links - 14th May, 2016.

Note: Each link is followed by a title and few paragraphs. For the full article click on the link above title of the article. Note also that full access to some links may require site registration or subscription payment.
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HIT seen as way to reduce patient deaths caused by medical errors

Published May 06 2016, 7:34am EDT
The extent and cost in human lives of medical errors—and how health information technology can make a dent in the problem—remains difficult to determine. But most experts in the industry confirm that it remains a vexing problem that’s becoming more difficult to solve as treatment and delivery increase in complexity.
The newest study to assess the degree of medical errors, recently published in the British Medical Journal, comes from Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine, which estimated that more than 251,000 people die annually from medical errors in U.S. hospitals. That would make it the third leading cause of death in the U.S., exceeded only by heart disease and cancer.
Healthcare information technology is but one tool that can be used to address medical errors that have serious consequences for patients, experts note, through the use of technology such as clinical decision support and bar-coding. However, IT also can contribute to medical errors, often the result of human error, workflow issues, communication challenges and other issues. HIT further has been cited as causing patient safety concerns, most recently by the ECRI Institute.
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John Halamka on MACRA: Overly complex rule could drive docs out of practices

May 6, 2016 | By Dan Bowman
The recently proposed rule implementing the Medicare Access and CHIP Reauthorization Act (MACRA) and the new Merit Based Incentive Payment System (MIPS) is overly complex and could wind up driving many clinicians out of the industry, according to Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center CIO John Halamka.
In a post to his Life as a Healthcare CIO blog, Halamka breaks down the IT-related parts of the rule, analyzing deadlines, objectives and the role of the Office of the National Coordinator for Health IT. Regarding the latter, he notes that providers "must attest they have cooperated with ONC surveillance and oversight activities," which he says many likely will view as "overly intrusive." Commenters to ONC's proposed rule from March--which gives ONC power to conduct direct reviews of certified health IT products--already are up in arms over those potential provisions.
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Hewlett Packard Aims to Revolutionize Personal Medicine

First Posted: Apr 30, 2016 04:10 AM EDT
Hewlett Packard Enterprise is aiming to one day help doctors ensure that tailor-made medical treatment can be available for patients. To do so, they are crunching data from patient information that is related to genes, diseases, personal behaviors and treatment history assembled from around the world.
Simply called "The Machine," this project represents about half of the research efforts of Hewlett Packard Labs. Jaap Suermondt, the Vice President of Software Analytics at HP Labs, said that this is by far their most ambitious research project.
He shared that the company is hoping to offer the Machine commercially to customers and health care providers in a few years, but they are hoping that the prototype will be available by the end of the year. The Machine, he said, is "first and foremost about flipping the computer inside out."
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Mini-Camera Mounted on Glasses Helps Blind 'Read'

Device scans text, relays audio version to wearer's ear
THURSDAY, May 5, 2016 (HealthDay News) -- A device mounted onto eyeglasses enables people considered legally blind to "read" and perform other day-to-day activities, according to researchers.
The device, called OrCam, features a miniature camera with optical character-recognition technology. The camera deciphers text and then "reads" it to the user through an earpiece. The device can even be programmed to recognize specific faces and commercial products, according to the report.
"It is easily used and could potentially bring greater independence, particularly for older patients who are struggling with vision loss," said study co-author Dr. Mark Mannis, chair of ophthalmology at the University of California, Davis.
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Cardiff University microwave device to help diabetics

  • 5 May 2016
Scientists have created a portable blood glucose measure for diabetics which uses microwaves instead of pricking the skin.
Currently, diabetics have to test their blood several times a day or use inserted devices known as continuous blood glucose monitors (CGMs).
But a new monitor created by Cardiff University's School of Engineering can be discreetly stuck on to the skin.
Prof Adrian Porch said: "It will help with the management of the condition."
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Expert questions privacy, safety protections of API plan

Published May 05 2016, 6:41am EDT
Application programming interfaces, a key technology component expected to give consumers access to healthcare information from electronic health records, also could carry some privacy and health or safety risks, especially in the early stages of use of the technology.
A recent series of draft recommendations by a task force of a federal advisory committee is receiving some criticism because it does not address liability protection for vendors and should provide more guidance to consumers about their rights and responsibilities in data access.
However, the recommendations, by a Health IT Policy Committee task force, has received generally positive reviews, after the group completed a review of the potential privacy and security vulnerabilities of the technology,
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88% of healthcare execs credit HIT with improving care

Published May 04 2016, 9:11am EDT
Healthcare executives overwhelmingly see health IT as having a positive impact on their organizations, with 88 percent indicating that the technology is helping them provide better quality of care.
That’s among the findings of a recent online poll of 164 healthcare executives at organizations with revenue between $25 million and $1 billion that was conducted by Harris on behalf of financial holding company CIT Group Inc.
As the industry transitions to pay-for-value payment models in which reimbursement is based on patient outcomes, 72 percent of executives also believe that they are “on track” when it comes to determining how to best measure outcomes, with near unanimity that technology, data and quality of care will all play a critical and increasing role in that measurement.
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Report: Canadian ambulatory care clinics reap $200M in benefits from EHRs

May 2, 2016 | By Marla Durben Hirsch
Canadian doctors in ambulatory care settings are reaping $200 million in annual value related to their electronic health record use, according to a new report released by Canada Health Infoway.
Researchers studied emerging benefits of EHR use in ambulatory care in Canada by reviewing multiple data sources throughout the country, including research articles, surveys, evaluation reports and key interviews. They found that EHR adoption was still low, with 33 percent of the clinics still using only paper and 51 percent of clinics using a mix of paper and EHRs; only 16 percent were nearly paperless. However, 15 percent had adopted EHRs in the past year and 31 percent expect to in the next two to three years.
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Davey Winder: hacking healthcare

Security journalist Davey Winder starts a new series of columns on Digital Health’s Cyber Security Hub by asking: what is the truth of hacking healthcare?
There has been an awful lot said about the state of cyber security as far as the healthcare sector is concerned. Unfortunately, an awful lot of it can be filed in the FUD drawer.
Fear, Uncertainty and Doubt - in case you were wondering how that acronym unfolded - is plentiful both in politics and the broader media. Which is why we get Chancellor George Osborne warning that if ISIS successfully attacked hospitals online "the impact could be measured not just in terms of economic damage but of lives lost"; even though there is no evidence to suggest the terrorist outfit is targeting them.
It's also why, as a journalist, I am bombarded with press releases from security vendors hyping the ransomware risk to healthcare in the wake of ongoing attacks. That the vast majority of those attacks were successfully mitigated, that only one healthcare provider paid a ransom, and that all of them were in the United States rather than the UK was almost incidental.
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NHS Highland develops smart glasses tech

Rebecca McBeth
3 May 2016
NHS Highland is working with an Inverness-based technology company to develop the use of smart glasses in health care.
The health board has teamed up with Summit Wearable Solutions to test its smart glasses technology for use in surgery and cardiology, as well as delivering remote care and education.
Surgeons in the Highlands started testing the devices in trial surgeries this month.
The glasses are a wearable computer that adds information to what the user can see by projecting an image onto the screen. They have a high-resolution camera as well as voice recognition software which turns speech into text.
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'Paucity' of good EHR usability studies contributes to knowledge gap

May 3, 2016 | By Marla Durben Hirsch
The available studies on electronic health record usability are not standardized, conducted too late in the design process to be of good use, and otherwise deficient, according to a recent report published in the Journal of the American Medical Informatics Association (JAMIA).
The researchers, from the Mayo Clinic and elsewhere, conducted a literature search of 120 articles to evaluate methodological and reporting trends regarding the usability studies of EHRs. While there is a great need to evaluate EHR usability to prevent implementation of "suboptimal" tools, there's little guidance on how to do so and report them to guide future usability studies.
For instance, many methods to measure usability were examined, the researchers noted, including surveys, interviews, focus groups and work flow analysis. However, while surveys of end users are helpful, they didn't identify problems that could be targeted for improvement
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Docs question quality of 'no-touch' telemedicine services

May 5, 2016 | By Katie Dvorak
Some physicians are questioning the role of telemedicine in care, wondering if "no-touch" services work in all cases.
"There are many subtle factors that contribute to a rapport between the physician and patient," Michael Brabeck, M.D., associate professor of medicine at New York University School of Medicine, tells James Lebret, an attending physician at NYC Health + Hospitals/Bellevue, in a recent post for Medscape. Those factors, such as physical touch or direct eye contact, can't be done when the visit is virtual, Brabeck says.
According to Ameet Bakhai, M.D., deputy director of research at Royal Free London NHS Trust hospitals, providers will have to learn how to best use telemedicine without losing the human element in patient care, as well as figure out the best ways to capture and analyze data without hampering clinical care.
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Surgical robots take on autonomous tasks

May 5, 2016 | By Susan D. Hall
Researchers are developing robots that can go beyond assisting in surgery and actually perform procedures autonomously, according to new research published at Science Translational Medicine.
Scientists from John's Hopkins University and Children's National Health System in the District of Columbia for the research recently demonstrated what they're calling the world's first autonomous robotic soft-tissue surgery. 
Their surgical bot, called STAR (Smart Tissue Autonomous Robot), performed several supervised but unguided procedures called intestinal anastomosis, in which part of the bowel is removed and the remaining segments are sutured together, according to the study. The operations were performed on live, anesthetized pigs.
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Brookings calls out OCR on HIPAA audits, offers security tips for healthcare organizations

Better information sharing is essential, and a robust cyber insurance market could change the landscape. Meanwhile, the government should 'prevent more than it punishes,' Brookings fellow Niam Yaraghi says.
May 05, 2016 11:35 AM 
Brookings fellow Niam Yaraghi said that healthcare is uniquely vulnerable to data breaches and the federal government isn't always helpful in addressing the problem. 
With the healthcare industry suddenly accounting for nearly 25 percent of all data breaches, a new study from The Brookings Institution suggests some new cybersecurity strategies are needed.
Niam Yaraghi, a Brookings fellow, conducted in-depth interviews with 22 healthcare organizations – providers, payers and business associates – that had each experienced at least one  data breach.
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Most organizations hit by data breaches in 2015

Published May 03 2016, 8:12am EDT
The threat level of cyber attacks on virtually every organization continues to increase, with more than half of companies reporting the loss of customer data as a result of distributed denial of service (DDoS) attacks, and three-quarters of organizations suffering a breach in 2015.
Those are among the findings of the latest research from Neustar Inc., from its third global DDoS Attacks and Protection Report entitled, “The Threatscape Widens: DDoS Aggression and the Evolution of IoT Risks.” The April report is based on a survey of more than 1,000 IT professionals across six continents, and reveals that few organizations globally are being spared DDoS attacks.
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HIT Think How personalized medicine will reshape healthcare delivery

Published May 03 2016, 6:01pm EDT
In the late 1800s, automobiles were the work of individual artisans who carefully crafted their creations from start to finish. The process was slow and painstaking, and each finished product was a little different than the others. They were also incredibly expensive, which is why only the wealthy owned them.
Then about a century ago, Henry Ford transformed the world with his Model T, the first automobile to apply the principles of mass production. Other manufacturing sectors quickly adopted Ford’s methods, and individualization took a back seat.
The pendulum began to swing back toward the individual in the 1990s, however, with a movement toward mass customization, a method that combines “custom-made” flexibility with the low unit costs and predictable quality of mass production. For example, Nike allows customers to choose colors for every element of a standard shoe. Japanese eyeglass retailer Paris Miki uses data, images and preferences to recommend best-fit glasses.
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IBM’s new cloud-based quantum computer targets healthcare, government, finance – and everyone

Goal is to put innovation on fast track, says Big Blue
May 04, 2016 10:45 AM 
IBM is making quantum computing available to the public, providing access to a platform from any desktop or mobile device via the IBM Cloud.
It has implications for healthcare, where another supercomputer, IBMWatson, is already at work helping researchers and clinicians eradicate cancer, making sure the world’s population gets better sleep and sorting big data to boost genomics work and precision medicine.
With IBM Quantum Experience, the new cloud-based platform unveiled today, users can create algorithms and run experiments, learn about quantum computing through tutorials and simulations and get inspired by the potential of a quantum computer.
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Special report: Digital Pathology

Digital pathology is being billed as the technology to do for pathology what digital imaging did for radiology. But does the business case stack up? And what are the technical benefits? Daloni Carlisle reports.
Routine pathology these days is highly automated, with giant robotic machines working 24/7 to process an endless line of samples.
But some areas of pathology remain largely untouched by technology and automation – including histopathology where most doctors still need a glass slide and a microscope. Could this be about to change?
Digital pathology – replacing the glass slide with a digital image that can be viewed on a screen anywhere, anytime – has been developing slowly but surely and is now being used in practice. It may be that digital pathology will soon do for histopathology what digital imaging did for radiology.
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Baking in the basics: Hospital IT leaders outline ingredients for robust cybersecurity programs

May 3, 2016 | By Katie Dvorak
By Katie Dvorak
The most important ingredients for any hospital's security program at first blush may seem quite simple: A mix of encryption here, a dash of employee education there, then sprinkle on security software, patching and incident response.
However, without these tools, no hospital's security will ever be fully baked. That's something the IT leaders at Oklahoma-based Integris, Minneapolis' Fairview Health Services and Susquehanna Health in Pennsylvania know full well.
"Don't get too blinded by the latest, most innovative security tools," Barry Caplin, chief information security officer at Fairview, tells FierceHealthIT in an exclusive interview. "Can you count your stuff? Can you do some basic education for employees? Do you have some basic email controls in place?"
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Despite hurdles, 'digital health advisor' a promising idea for patient care

May 4, 2016 | By Katie Dvorak
Patients could benefit from the creation of a "digital health advisor [DHA]," an app or computer program that can use pharmacy, electronic medical record and other medical data to help consumers with health problems, according to a new post at the Commonwealth Fund blog.
However, entrepreneurs do not seem to be making any leeway in creating services that would use people's medical histories, needs and preferences, say researchers Eric C. Schneider, M.D. and Onil Bhattacharyya, M.D., as well as Commonwealth Fund President and former National Coordinator for Health IT David Blumenthal.
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White House to hold workshops on AI's promises, pitfalls

May 4, 2016 | By Katie Dvorak
Artificial Intelligence (AI) holds both promises and pitfalls for many industries, including healthcare, which is leading the White House to host workshops on the technology's future.
In a blog post, Ed Felten, deputy U.S. Chief Technology Officer, notes the importance of AI in efforts such as President Obama's Precision Medicine Initiative and Vice President Biden's cancer moonshot, but also acknowledges the risks the technology carries.
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Teledermatology boosts access to care for Medicaid patients

May 4, 2016 | By Susan D. Hall
By offering virtual dermatology and Medicaid coverage, the number of patients who saw a dermatologist nearly doubled, according to a new RAND Corp. study, illustrating how virtual care can increase patient access to specialists.
For the study, published in JAMA Dermatology, researchers examined more than 380,000 members of Health Plan of San Joaquin, a MediCal- managed plan in California's Central Valley, including about 108,000 who were newly enrolled under provisions of the Affordable Care Act. The region has only about one-third the national average number of dermatologists, according to an announcement.
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Doctor: Despite promise, improper use of telemedicine could undermine patient care

May 3, 2016 | By Susan D. Hall
As use of telemedicine grows, it will "become like conjuring the genie from Aladdin's lamp," according to Ameet Bakhai, M.D., deputy director of research at Royal Free London NHS Trust hospitals.
The technology, he says in an interview at News-Medical.net., will create a seamless process to reach doctors, nurses, pharmacists and other health specialists quickly. However, there could be downsides if people start obsessing over every little change in their bodies.
In addition, Bakhai says the technology may also undermine patients' "own confidence to be able to heal naturally, to be independent and self sufficient."
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Electronic records help cancer care: study

Posted: Monday, May 2, 2016 6:00 am | Updated: 6:05 am, Mon May 2, 2016.
By Brent Linton, CJ staff |
Electronic medical records are proving to be a major benefit for cancer patients in the region.
A study released last week by the Canada Health Infoway states that 57 per cent of electronic medical record enabled clinics reported that using such records was beneficial for improving quality of care.
“We have seen based on the research that we have done and the literature reviews and the surveys, about $200 million in annual value in 2015,” said Shelagh Maloney, vice-president consumer health communications and evaluation services for Canada Health Infoway.
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Survey: Only 22% of Digital Health Users Use EHRs to Make Medical Decisions

60% of consumers who use digital health tools state they have an EHR; however, only 22% of digital health users are accessing EHRs to help make medical decisions, according to a March/April HealthMine survey. The survey of 500 insured consumers who use mobile/internet-connected health tools reveals that despite the wide-spread adoption of EHRs, 55% of users simply view them as tools to simply “stay informed.”
Additionally, 29% of those consumers who say they do have an EHR are not getting much benefit from it. On the opposite end, 40% of respondents stated they did not even have an EHR. 
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CHIME Urges FDA to Advance Medical Device Interoperability

By Jacqueline Belliveau on May 02, 2016

In a letter to the FDA, CHIME suggested that federal agencies collaborate to develop medical device interoperability standards and increase transparency with manufacturers.

Healthcare providers need more assurance that medical devices and EHR systems are truly interoperable, wrote the College of Healthcare Information Management Executives (CHIME) in a letter to Robert M. Califf, MD, Food and Drug Administration (FDA) Commissioner.
Through the letter, CHIME provided the FDA with recommendations on its draft guidance “Design Considerations and Premarket Submission Recommendations for Interoperable Medical Devices.”
The industry group urged the FDA to partner with other federal agencies to establish interoperability standards, further define interoperability, develop risk management strategies with medical device manufacturers, ensure healthcare cybersecurity in medical devices, and increase transparency of dvice capabilities.
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At Houston Methodist, Population Health is the Real Deal

Scott Mace, May 3, 2016

A patient-centered medical home for chronic care management implemented alongside just a hint of data analytics technology is making a difference.

Human relationships and just the right application of technology seem to be unlocking population health's benefits.
Now, one healthcare system has the hard data to back up such statements.
At Houston Methodist, a seven-hospital, 1,931-bed health system in Texas, a six-month pilot implementation of a direct-to-employer population health strategy reduced hospitalizations and visits to the emergency department, says Julia Andrieni, MD, vice president of population health and primary care, as well as president and CEO of Houston Methodist's Physicians' Alliance for Quality.
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Google's DeepMind gains access to health info for 1.6M NHS patients

May 2, 2016 | By Dan Bowman
As part of a recently announced partnership with the United Kingdom's National Health Service, Google-owned artificial intelligence company DeepMind has gained access to healthcare information for 1.6 million patients across three hospitals, New Scientist reports.
The agreement, according to New Scientist, gives DeepMind data that spans back five years, and notes that the company will create an analytics-based clinical decision prediction tool known as Patient Rescue.
"What Deepmind is trying to do is build a generic algorithm that can do this for anything--anything you can do a test for," Sam Smith of the privacy group MedConfidential tells New Scientist.
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Digital transactions can mean big savings for physicians

May 11, 2016
Electronic transactions can save the healthcare industry around $8 billion each year, according to the 2015 CAQH Index Report, as well as save physicians precious time and money.
Reynard Washington, senior manager for research and measurement at The Council for Affordable Quality Healthcare (CAQH) told Medical Economics that of all the different entities involved in the revenue cycle of a typical episode of care, physicians stand to gain the greatest benefit from transitioning to digital transactions, because doing so will shorten the time to payment, as well as provide savings in labor costs. 
This year’s report includes an informative graph, titled “How Much Does the Healthcare Industry Spend on Claims-Related Business Transactions?” that shows the financial breakdown between processing certain transactions electronically versus digitally. The graph reveals some striking points, which support Washington’s assertion that digital processing really will save practices money. For instance, the average cost of a claims verification performed manually is $10.83, whereas electronically it is $2.51.
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Ransomware attacks quadrupled in Q1 2016

The attack on a California hospital was a big catalyst for ransomware in the health care sector, according to Symantec.
By Greg Otto
April 29, 2016 4:00 PM
Ransomware has taken off in 2016, with attacks in the first quarter coming at quadruple the rate seen last year, according to figures from a leading security vendor.
Kevin Haley, the director of product management at Symantec Security Response, said his group has seen an average of over 4,000 ransomware attacks per day since Jan. 1, a 300-percent increase over the approximately 1,000 attacks per day in 2015 the company highlighted in its recent Internet Security Threat Report.
During a media roundtable Thursday, Haley said the spike is due to the success attackers are having in targeting a broad variety of business sectors and the ease with which attacks can be carried out.
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Tech can help the elderly...if they use it

A growing number of apps and devices are designed to help manage care of older patients, but the nagging reality is that they're going unused. At least for now.
May 1, 20165:00 AM PDT
Increasingly there are more devices and apps (like Carely, pictured) to help elderly people live safely and comfortably and to help their caregivers. But they're not being used as much as you'd think.
Bev Dutro's 82-year-old mother has trouble remembering things. Sometimes she can't recall what she wore or who visited her last.
Dutro and her two siblings found caring for their mother, who was diagnosed with Alzheimer's five years ago, increasingly difficult. They miscommunicated about visits and doctor appointments. When their mother imagined a fire in the house, they had a hard time figuring out if it was true.
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April 30th, 2016

A Ridiculously Long Post: How EHRs Expose Unspoken Hierarchies Within Medicine — Or Maybe Are Just Bad

I am consulted by a surgeon about a patient with something that might be infectious, might not. A very appropriate referral.
After seeing the patient and reviewing the history and scans, I decide a CT-guided biopsy is the next step.
The nice radiology fellow tells me “Just place the order in [enter name of EHR here]”. Since this is the first time I’m ordering this test using our new system, the prospect of doing so doesn’t exactly fill me with joy.
Nonetheless, I give it a go. I place the word “biopsy” in the dreaded order search box, hit enter, and cover my eyes, at least metaphorically.
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Enjoy!
David.

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