A Genetic Test to Spot Health Risks

Scientists first mapped the human genome 14 years ago. Since then, they have learned a lot about genetics, and someday that wisdom may lead to a cure for many diseases. But we’re not there yet. There’s “a ton we don’t understand,” says Lawrence Brody, director of the genomics and society division at the National Human Genome Research Institute. Keep that in mind if you take advantage of the first “direct to consumer” genetic test for health risks. That test became available in the spring, when 23andMe, a DNA testing firm, was the first company to win approval from the Food and Drug Administration to sell directly to consumers–without a prescription–a genetic test that screens for certain health risks. Here’s how it works: You pay $199 to order a Health and Ancestry kit online from 23andMe.com. When it arrives, you spit into a tube and mail it back. Two months later, …

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How to Find Financial Savings During Hospital M&As

New research from the American Hospital Association indicates that hospital mergers result in “significant” cost savings and improvements in quality through increased efficiencies. The research found that annual operating expenses dropped 2.5 percent, a savings of $5.8 million, at acquired hospitals. These savings and efficiencies come from eliminating redundancies across the board, but in some cases redundancies are overlooked or, worse, kept on hand “just in case,” resulting in higher costs in the long run. So what should go? “The answer can range from personnel to optimization of service offerings when considering what should be cut or considered for change,” says Hogi Kurniawan, senior audit manager of Haskell & White, a CPA firm based in Orange County, California. “In terms of who should decide, this should be done at the upper-management level, an executive team made up of personnel from various departments including finance/accounting, IT, operations, HR and legal.” Here’s …

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6 Tips for a Better Employee Performance Review

6 Tips for a Better Employee Performance Review

The employee performance review process suffers from many problems. Namely, it lacks accountability and metrics, doesn’t allow for frequent feedback, and – here’s the big one – it doesn’t do the best job of actually assessing job performance. Nearly 60% of human resources executives graded their own performance-management systems a C or below, according to a survey by Sibson Consulting and WorldatWork. The survey reported that for more than half of the respondents, the biggest problem is managers’ inability to have difficult performance discussions. These meetings also have a public relations problem – they are viewed as an “HR process” that does not lead to any tangible goals. Should performance management be abandoned altogether? No. However it does need to be refocused into conversations that help employees reach their development goals and help your company get the most out of every team member. Use these 6 tips to help you improve …

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