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Leap Day 2012

by South University
February 29, 2012

It hasn't shown its face since 2008, but now it's back again – Leap Day! You know that the day exists, but do you know why? The origins of the day go all the way back to ancient Rome. It actually takes the Earth 365.25 days to revolve around the sun, so in order to coordinate dates with astronomy and the passing seasons, Julius Caesar ordered that an extra day be added to the calendar every four years at the end of February.

So, there you have it, Leap Day.

It may seem like this extra day doesn’t really do anything special for you. Life continues to go on, and deadlines in your classes continue to stand. But with 2012 having 366 days instead of 365, there are, at the very least, opportunities to reflect. Maybe you can use this day to tackle projects that had otherwise fallen by the wayside. This is particularly useful if you have a specific To Do List for the month of February.

And what if you were born on this day? How do you celebrate it? Obviously, you’re still a year older as each year passes, even if your birthday is absent from the calendar. Maybe this is your chance to throw a huge birthday bash, or do something daring that you might not otherwise. However you choose to celebrate it—or not—we wish you a very happy Leap Day!

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The Mobile Medical Technology Boom

by Jared Newnam
February 29, 2012

Smartphones, iPhones, and tablet computers have changed health care.

Healthcare professionals use mobile devices to look up drug and treatment reference material; help choose treatment plans for patients; and help make diagnoses. Mobile technology offers them the accessibility and flexibility needed to better care for their patients.

Steve Martin, AGC, MPAS, PA-C, DFAAPA, associate professor in the Physician Assistant program at South University, Tampa, has been using mobile medical apps for many years, beginning on personal digital assistants (PDAs) and now on his Droid Bionic smartphone.

“I use Epocrates most often,” Martin says. “I use it to look up medications for my patients. It helps me to choose the correct dose and allows me to check potential interactions with other medications the patient might be taking.”

Epocrates is an app that provides information based on clinical drug referencing as well as knowledge to help manage clinical practices and patient safety. Martin also uses the Monthly Prescribing Reference (MPR) app to look up drug information, as well as Evernote, an app that allows him to keep personal notes on a variety of medical topics.

Martin also encourages his students to use apps for reference and to keep notes.

“Many physician assistant programs are now issuing students tablet PCs for use in the classroom,” he says. “Increasingly, students are using tablets in the classroom on their own to take and organize notes, communicate with instructors and classmates, and gain access to medical and other databases for information.”

This prospect of using mobile applications is beneficial in providing critical findings regarding a patient’s lab work, radiography, or other pertinent information to the healthcare provider immediately.

In medical practice, mobile phones and tablet computers are being used in many different ways to maximize patient care and efficiency.

“The ways technology is used can be broadly broken down into four main categories: clinical reference, medical calculator, accessing electronic medical records (EMR), and patient education,” says Tom Lewis, editor of iMedicalApps, an online publication for medical professionals, patients, and analysts interested in mobile medical technology and healthcare apps.

Lewis provides further details about the four main categories of medical apps:

  • Clinical Reference: This encompasses all manner of textbooks, web references, and medical literature management to ensure that clinicians have up-to-date information so they can make informed decisions about patient care.
  • Medical Calculators: Many healthcare professionals use medical calculators to accurately work out drug dosages and other formulae.
  • EMR Access: Many hospital EMR systems allow some form of web access which many doctors use to review patient notes, order tests, and arrange follow up.
  • Patient Education: This use of mobile technology is rapidly growing, Lewis says. Apps such as drawMD and the Orca Health Decide series allow physicians and surgeons to educate their patients and inform them about their procedures and pathology.

“This prospect of using mobile applications is beneficial in providing critical findings regarding a patient’s lab work, radiography, or other pertinent information to the healthcare provider immediately,” says Tricia Howard, an assistant professor at South University, Savannah and director of Academic Education, Physician Assistant program. “Should a healthcare practitioner be off site, the ability to send critical data reduces the response time between the provider and the patient’s needs, therefore improving patient care and reducing morbidity and mortality.”

Medical Technology and Patient Interaction

Mobile technology also offers great potential for patients to take greater control of their health. Many medical apps make health care a collaborative process as patients can work with practitioners to create a personalized health plan and keep track of patient information.

“I visualize the increasing use of medical apps as the Baby Boomer generation begins to age secondary to the need for immediate information in order to see numerous patients efficiently and proficiently,” Howard says.

However, Lewis says healthcare professionals must be careful when using a mobile device to reference clinical information in front of a patient.

“It may damage the trust the patient has in the doctor, especially if you are looking up actual pathology/learning about a particular topic whilst the patient is still in the room,” he says.

Security and Privacy

Martin has found the mobility and instant access of using a tablet for health care to be beneficial, but says there is room for improvement.

“Making smartphones and tablets ‘industrial strength’ is a big issue,” he says. “They are not necessarily built to last in a commercial environment, as are some laptops and PCs.”

Security and privacy are also big concerns when discussing technology in health care.

“Although we have passwords and virtual private networks to serve as protection for patient information, there is still the opportunity to view a non-patient’s electronic medical record,” Howard says. “Any advances we can make in the area of privacy would be advantageous for encouraging the use of mobile applications.”

Late last year, the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) announced plans to regulate medical apps. The FDA will scrutinize medical apps that act as an accessory to a medical device and those that transform the mobile device into a medical device. Some of the apps that fall under the regulatory oversight are those that allow the user to view medical images and those that allow the user to view patient-specific lab results.

“I think that the regulation of medical apps by the FDA is an important step in the pathway that results in mobile technology development with respect to health care,” Lewis says. “FDA regulation will not affect the majority of medical app developers or the apps on the market. What the FDA is very rightly concerned about are apps that interpret information and, with little oversight, drive clinical decision making.”

As medical technology evolves, patient safety must remain the principal consideration for clinicians and should always be considered.

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Crime and Social Media Sites— Catching Criminals and Learning to Avoid Them

by Jared Newnam
February 29, 2012

Social media sites provide people with an easy way to stay connected with family members and friends, but these sites can also serve as a helpful crime-solving tool for law enforcement officers.

Michael Whalen, a Criminal Justice and Legal Studies instructor for South University Online Programs, says that although most police departments do not have a dedicated social media unit, detectives are beginning to use social network sites more often to investigate crimes.

“For instance, YouTube is a popular place for people to post videos of fights, vandalism, etc,” Whalen says. “With video cameras integrated with nearly every cell phone these days, criminal behavior is caught on tape and shared every day.  Sometimes the clips are uploaded by the offenders themselves.”

Whalen says that one British study found that a high percentage of the burglars they interviewed admitted to using social media sites when choosing their targets.

“If you have a Twitter account, anyone can ‘follow’ your tweets without having to be approved by you, so anyone could be watching your account to see when you tweet a message about how you’re waiting for the movie to start or what you’re doing on vacation,” Whalen says. “Google Maps ‘Street View’ is also helpful to burglars who can use it to plan in advance how they will try to get into your home.”

With video cameras integrated with nearly every cell phone these days, criminal behavior is caught on tape and shared every day. 

He advises social media users not to announce anything on Facebook, Twitter, or FourSquare that they wouldn’t tell to a total stranger.

“Think about that, would you turn to a stranger in a bar, show him your address, and tell him you won’t be home for two or three hours,” Whalen says? “That’s exactly what people do all the time when they carelessly update their Facebook status, tweet, or ‘check in’ on FourSquare. The average burglary only takes about 15 minutes to complete.”

He advises social media users to check out the Internet Crime Complaint Center  to learn more about ways to protect themselves from becoming a victim.

Connecting with the Police Department on Social Network Sites

Officer Jon Agnew, public information officer for the Bryan Police Department, in Bryan, Texas, says the department maintains a presence on social media sites.

We have a Facebook page and we also tweet,” Agnew says. “Citizens can contact us via Facebook for complaints or concerns. We also publish all of our safety recommendations and press releases on these websites.” 

Agnew says the most difficult part of maintaining the department’s social media presence is getting residents to go to the sites and register.

“The people who care and are good citizens go and register or ‘like’ us,” Agnew says. “But those who we really want to reach, do not have the capabilities or do not care to be reached.”

In addition to using social media as a way to connect with the community, George Richards, a Criminal Justice instructor for South University Online Programs, says police departments commonly use social networking sites to investigate and apprehend suspects for crimes such as cyber stalking and cyber bullying.

“However, these are not uncovered by police, but rather reported to them,” Richard says.

As social media scams are becoming more common, Richards advises people to think wisely when using them.

“The same advice for any type of scam will also serve in cyberspace,” Richards says. “If it sounds too good to be true, it probably is. Use common sense and don't be too trusting.”

Agnew says the laws regarding crimes committed on social media sites can be tricky.

“This is really a nightmare when it comes to policing social media,” Agnew says. “It is like trying to police pirates in open waters. Who should investigate, what laws apply. Laws have recently changed that say you can investigate where the crime originates or where the victim lives.”

Regardless, Agnew urges residents to report social media crimes to their local police departments, so they can launch an investigation, or at least get the right people involved to solve the crime.   

Avoiding Internet Scams on Social Media Sites

John Harrison, group product manager at Symantec, says internet scams on social networking sites are increasing, as more people join these sites. 

“With user groups with hundreds of millions of members, there is always some black sheep with malicious intent,” Harrison says.

Harrison says scammers generally focus their efforts on the most popular social media sites, as they offer the greatest return for their efforts.

Harrison says there are countless types of internet scams on social network sites, but he describes these as the most common:

  • Copy-Paste Script Attacks: The user is tricked into copying malicious JavaScript into the address bar of the browser and executing it under the context of the facebook.com domain.
  • Like Clickjacking: The user is asked to click on some places on a page, but is not aware that he or she is actually clicking on an invisible iframe tag that is overlaying the page. The invisible layer contains the Facebook Like button, with a prefilled text and a link of the attacker’s choice.
  • Manual Like: The user is asked to manually like the rogue site in order to get access to some promised content.
  • Event Scams: Facebook allows users to create events with text and images and invite random people to it. This allows them to send the usual bait messages with URLs to many people, such as “find out who is stalking you.”
  • Phishing: It comes in various forms, such as fake email notifications that tell you that you have a friend request pending, or that your profile was suspended. If you follow the link in the email you are brought to a site that mimics the original Facebook login page, but in reality, it is a scam that will record your password before forwarding you to the real Facebook site.
  • URL Shortening Services: Users can create a short URL out of any given long link. This makes it easier to share as there is no line break and it fits well into short messages, too.

Harrison advises social media users to protect themselves from becoming a victim of an internet scam by being skeptical of any information or people that appear suspicious, checking site privacy policies and settings, using strong passwords and not sharing them, thinking twice before posting information, keeping software updated, and running a security suite from a trusted vendor, such as Norton.

If a user suspects they’ve been victimized by a social media scammer, Harrison says the type of action they need to take varies according to the scam. Resolving the issue can be as simple as changing the account password or unliking a Facebook page.

“If one of your friends’ accounts has been compromised the best thing is to try to let them know about it via a different communication channel,” Harrison says. “Merely replying back to the email or account where the scam originated from will tip-off the hacker.”

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Modern Technology as a Status Symbol — What Your Tech Devices Say About You

by Jared Newnam
February 29, 2012

Staying constantly connected to one another through technology has become a normal part of everyday life, so it’s inevitable that owning the latest products has become a status symbol.

“Technology has become an intrinsic part of modern life,” says Paul Boag, co-founder of web design agency Headscape and host of the boagworld podcast. “However, this is not due to a push from any particular sector. Instead we are seeing a cultural shift as profound as the Renaissance where there are huge leaps forward in many different areas simultaneously.”

Boag says that society is experiencing innovations at every turn, and each one is working together to cause a huge transformation of our culture. He thinks the popularity of modern technology is simply a reflection of a broad trend in society.

Avi Greengart, research director for consumer devices at Current Analysis has a different perspective. He believes the need to keep up with the latest technology is a trend led by consumers.

You are definitely not "cool" if you don’t have the latest technology in cell phones, one or more iPads, and an e-book reader.

“Tech companies are certainly encouraging this, and some have gotten much better at advertising benefits to consumers, not just technical specs,” Greengart says. “That said, if consumers weren’t interested, the products wouldn’t sell.”

Using Technology as a Status Symbol

James Anthos, program director for Information Technology at South University, Columbia, believes that staying up to date with the latest technology allows consumers to convey a certain level of status.

“You are definitely not ‘cool’ if you don’t have the latest technology in cell phones, one or more iPads, and an e-book reader,” Anthos says. “Even the government is pushing for the standard use of e-books instead of printed textbooks. In business and school, your status suffers if you do not have a 4G phone with Bluetooth and unlimited calling and text.”

Anthos notes that keeping up with the latest technology has become such an important status symbol to many consumers that some will spend hundreds of dollars on cell phones each month, when they cannot afford to eat well or purchase necessary medications.

Boag agrees that modern technology is a status symbol among certain sectors of society, but also says those who refuse to keep up with it make a statement of their own.

“Either way, our use of technology says something of our character and helps define us,” Boag says. “Whether that statement is a positive or negative one depends on which group of people you are talking about.”

Boag says if you define yourself as a geek, carrying outdated technology around would reflect negatively upon you, but this could vary greatly in other parts of society.

“For example sticking with the same phone until it no longer operates would be considered very highly among those who believe in minimizing their environmental impact,” Boag says. “Equally a particularly old phone could be considered 'retro' and so, once again, fashionable in certain circles.”

Boag admits to choosing his tech devices based on what his peers are using.

“My own decision to move to a Mac was largely driven from a desire to emulate those I admired,” he says. “Emulation is a big part of the equation. Technology is a way to aspire to the status of others or associate oneself with a particular group. It is also a way to impress others.”

Putting the Latest Technology on Display

Anthos says people enjoy showing their tech devices off, because it makes them feel important and trendy.

“Most people make sure that they always have their device in sight, spend an inordinate amount of time pressing the screen to the point of walking into a pole, in front of a bus, or tripping because they are so absorbed in handling and showing off their device,” Anthos says.

Greengart says there are different social norms of showing off tech devices, which tend to vary by culture.

“In Europe, it is common to leave your phone on the table when you eat, ostensibly to check incoming text messages, but there’s definitely an element of showing off,” Greengart says. “In the U.S., we’re more direct. We’ll wave around that iPhone, publicly ask Siri to remind us things, and not-so-casually wear $300 headphones as fashion statements, often without the cord connected.”

Boag finds the accessories that people choose in an attempt to personalize their devices to be very interesting.

“This is particularly true for devices like the iPhone which are so pervasive,” Boag says. “People feel the need to personalize them so they are more than just another iPhone owner.” 

Modern Technology is Trendy for Everyone

According to iMedia inc., Americans spend 2.7 hours per day socializing on their mobile device. This is more than twice the amount of time they spend eating, and more than one third the time they spend sleeping each day.

Greengart says that although the younger generation tends to use technology more, using modern technology can be seen as trendy for all age groups.

“I know seniors who all have iPads and home theater systems and I know teens with basic cell phones,” Greengart says. “Broadly speaking, though, I agree that technology is being used as a social marker.”

Greengart says that using certain tech devices can be used as a status symbol for people of all ages.

“Social status is important for all age groups — ever been to a country club?” Greengart asks. “Younger demographics do use technology more as a status marker than older generations, but they also simply use technology more, and often in more innovative ways, than their parents or grandparents because their comfort level is higher. If you grow up with an iPod or Hulu or the internet, it isn’t ‘technology,’ it’s an iPod or Hulu or the internet.”

Anthos agrees the younger generation uses technology the most, but says middle-aged people are catching up quickly.

“It seems as though most people, both young and old, must be continuously piddling with their phone, iPad, or some other electronic device or they are viewed as technology deprived and not a very interesting person,” Anthos says. “After all, everyone needs to be able to tweet their every thought and move. Personally, I believe very few people care what someone is doing and thinking every minute of every day.”

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A Look at the Future of Business Administration

by South University
February 27, 2012

Welcome to the fourth installment in our blog series taking a look at the future of some the occupational fields you’ll find here at South University Online Programs. Today, we’re going to be looking at some trends and career outlooks in Business.

Business

When you pursue a career in business, there are a wide range of areas that you could focus on. From accounting to marketing to finance and a number of other fields, people interested in business have a lot of options to choose from. At South University, for example, our Bachelor of Science in Business Administration offers 11 specializations:

  • Accounting
  • Construction Management
  • Management and Leadership
  • Marketing
  • Finance
  • General Business Administration
  • Human Resources Management
  • Management Information Systems
  • Supply Chain and Logistics Management
  • Hospitality Management
  • Real Estate

So, what is the area that’s right for you and what does the future hold? There are a lot of sources for this type of information, but a great resource is the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS).

Let’s just take a look at some of these fields and where they’re expected to be heading:

Accounting
“Employment of accountants and auditors is expected to grow by 22 percent between 2008 and 2018, which is much faster than the average for all occupations. This occupation will have a very large number of new jobs arise, about 279,400 over the projections decade. An increase in the number of businesses, changing financial laws and corporate governance regulations, and increased accountability for protecting an organization's stakeholders will drive job growth.”

Construction Management
“Employment of construction managers is projected to increase by 17 percent during the 2008–18 decade, faster than average for all occupations. Construction managers will be needed as the level and variety of construction activity expands, but at a slower rate than in the past. Modest population and business growth will result in new and renovated construction of residential dwellings, office buildings, retail outlets, hospitals, schools, restaurants, and other structures that require construction managers.”

Human Resources Management
Employment is expected to grow much faster than the average for all human resources, training, and labor relations managers and specialists occupations. College graduates and those who have earned certification should have the best job opportunities.

Overall employment is projected to grow by 22 percent between 2008 and 2018, much faster than the average for all occupations. Legislation and court rulings revising standards in various areas—occupational safety and health, equal employment opportunity, wages, healthcare, retirement plans, and family leave, among others—will increase demand for human resources, training, and labor relations experts.

What about the future of business careers themselves? According to the opinion of Lena Bottos, director of compensation at Salary.com as reported in msnbc.com:

“In business, professionals with international experience or knowledge — especially in finance or law — will be hot as the emphasis on global trade and business grows, Bottos said. Companies will navigate tax codes, laws, work regulations, environmental regulations and ethical questions worldwide.”

While some of these areas are covered above, you can see the diversity of opportunities available to individuals seeking to pursue a career in business. So, where can you look for even more information on business careers?

If you’d like to learn more about the business degrees offered at South University, please visit our main business page. You might also like Msnbc.com’s special report on the Future of Business, which covers a lot of interesting articles and features on what may lie ahead. Also, the Bureau of Labor Statistics covers the outlook for a wide range of business careers fat their site.

We hope this post has been helpful to you, stay tuned for part 5 of our blog post series as we look at the future of legal and paralegal careers.

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