IT Start-Up QWAQ

Introducing QWAQ Forums

By Dr. David Edward Marcinko; MBA, CMP™

Publisher-in-Chief

QWAQ Forums, yes that name is spelled correctly, is a new start-up company in Palo Alto, California. Founded in 2006 by CEO Gregory Nuyens and CTO David Smith, it just raised $7 million in venture capital funding. Early customers include industry giants Intel and BP.

What It Is?

QWAQ is a [Software-as-a-Service [SaaS] provider that combines enterprise-wide collaboration with a three-dimensional interface environment, akin to Second Life, etc. It provides virtual workspaces for program management, virtual offices and virtual operations centers. Most interestingly, its users create virtual avatars, and meet with co-workers in a 3-D environment to share and edit documents and use other business applications.

For example, QWAQ users upload, share and edits documents like MSFT® WORD files, MSFT-PowerPoint® slides, Open Office® and MSFT-Office® documents. Users can launch FireFox® in a forum to browse the web. There are also VOIP and text chat capabilities 

The Healthcare Connection

QWAQ, it seems, is already popular with some doctors like radiologists in different locations who use medical imaging applications inside its forums. And, applications can be co-located and employed behind hospital or health enterprise firewalls, for added security protection.

Assessment

This new-wave application currently lacks granular permissions as all documents can be copied by anyone in the Forums; which are self-invited and self-hosted. Yet, it does seem to possess, next-generational “fly.”

Link: www.QWAQ.com

Conclusion

Current cloud computing competitors include Central Desktop, Basecamp and PBwiki; while MSFT-SharePoint dominates the collaboration space.

But, since no one else offers the 3-D experience of QWAQ, your opinions and comments are appreciated; especially from radiologists and all those HIT experts “out there.”  

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Defined Benefit Plans for Physicians

Making a Comeback in 2008?

[By Staff Reporters]fp-book1

During the past decade, defined benefit plans have fallen out of favor due to excessive red tape, high administration costs, and IRS scrutiny. However, some experts claim that this trend may be about to reverse.

Suited for Older Doctors

For an older physician-executive who has little in retirement savings, a few young employees (or no employees), but adequate income to start setting a great deal of it aside, the defined benefit plan makes a great deal of sense in that contributions are not limited as they are in defined contribution plans.

Considerations

However, there are other good reasons to reconsider a defined benefit plan.

For instance, a doctor-employer can take into consideration prior years of service and adjust the benefit formula to meet his or her needs. In certain cases, this could result in putting away everything a person makes each year.

The only snag is the interplay between the defined benefit and defined contribution limits that is mandated by Section 415(e) of the Internal Revenue Code. Defined contribution plans have annual contribution limits, while defined benefit plans have annual benefit limits. Under the pension changes signed into law in August 1996 as part of the minimum wage bill, Section 415(e) was eliminated on Jan. 1, 2000, removing this obstacle to the creation of new plans.

Limitations on Qualified Plans

Section 415 limits the amount of benefits that can be provided under qualified pension plans. These limits are indexed for inflation.

For 2007, a defined benefit plan cannot provide for the payment of benefits which exceed the lesser of $180,000 or 100% of the participant’s average compensation for the highest three consecutive years of service, i.e., the three consecutive years during which the participant had the greatest aggregate compensation. The amount of annual additions (i.e., employer contributions, employee contributions and forfeitures) that can be made to a defined contribution plan for 2007 is limited to the lesser of $45,000 or 100% of a participant’s compensation for the limitation year.

Over-Funding Risks

Defined benefit plans still suffer from the risk of over-funding. Excess accumulations can be effectively confiscated up to 50% between penalties, federal, state, and possibly local income tax. The likelihood of over-funding was exacerbated by some pension changes included in the General Agreement on Tariffs and Trade (GATT) passed in December 1994. These changes required use of the 30-year Treasury bond interest rate in calculating funding requirements.

Previously, lump-sum payouts were calculated using the Pension Benefit Guaranty Corporation [PBGC] interest rate, which was lower and more predictable than the T-bond rate. A higher rate results in a lower lump sum withdrawal at retirement.

Assessment

One solution is to keep the pension plan in place when the doctor-business owner retires if interest rates have increased. The doctor should take the maximum annual benefit from the plan and wait for interest rates to drop so that he or she can withdraw the remainder of the balance in a lump sum.

Link: http://www.mondaq.com/article.asp?articleid=51226

Conclusion

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