Central Florida Roundup
At EASE: An app developed by doctors gives families peace of mind
Plus, business news roundup for Central Florida, including briefs and "players."
Billed as “Snapchat from the operating room,” a new app created by three doctors at OrlandoHealth’s Arnold Palmer Hospital for Children allows doctors and nurses to communicate with the families of their patients via text, photo and video messages that disappear after they are viewed.
By scanning the bar code on a patient’s wrist band, medical staff can send secure and HIPAA-compliant updates to families from places like pre-op, surgery and ICU via the EASE app. The goal is to ease anxiety for family members by allowing them real-time notifications rather than forcing them to wait for the surgeon to finish his work or another medical professional to step outside.
EASE, which is being used in hospitals around the country, proved especially useful during Hurricane Irma, when Winnie Palmer Hospital for Women & Babies enrolled all of the babies in its NICU system into EASE in order to send updates to families while the hospital was on lockdown.
Business Briefs for Central Florida
- Local chicken chain Huey Magoo’s plans to open a restaurant in Apopka. The franchiser will also open a location in ChampionsGate in Osceola County.
LAKE BUENA VISTA
- A circuit court judge ordered the assessed value of the Disney’s Yacht and Beach Club Resort to be reduced by half in a dispute between Disney and Orange County Property Appraiser Rick Singh.
- County commissioners voted to rescind a ballot measure that would have asked voters to raise the gas tax to pay for transportation improvements. The lawmakers were concerned that it might undermine a separate referendum for seeking a property-tax increase to pay for school safety measures.
- County commissioners approved an ordinance prohibiting more “overrepresented” businesses including pawn shops, payday loan centers and bail bonds agencies from opening in Pine Hills, whose population is nearly threequarters African-American.
- The Central Florida Expressway Authority ordered a study of a controversial new toll road south of Orlando International Airport that would be a key artery for a large development planned by Tavistock Development and the Mormon Church-owned Deseret Ranch.
- The county’s proposed $4.3-billion budget includes more than $600 million to expand the 7-million-sq.-ft. Orange County Convention Center.
- The University of Central Florida received a record $183 million in research funding for 2018, up 23% from last year.
- Orlando-based private equity firm Vantage Capital Management struck a $1.37-billion deal to buy Plano, Texasbased Rent-A-Center and take the rent-to-own retailer private. Rent-A-Center owns and operates roughly 2,400 stores across North America.
- Orlando is one of 10 cities most at risk of a running into a shortage of OB-GYN services because of a combination of older-than-average OBGYNs and higher-than-average workloads. Miami and Tampa also ranked in the top 10 of the study, which was conducted by San Francisco-based medical network operator Doximity.
- The Oprah Winfrey Network will film a new television drama series called David Makes Man in Orlando.
- C&S Wholesale Grocers plans to lay off more than 300 workers at its Orlando warehouse.
- Orlando International Airport will add another 18 Customs and border protection officers by the end of the year, the first permanent staffing increase by the federal agency at the airport in nearly a decade.
- Darden Restaurants, the parent company of Olive Garden and LongHorn Steakhouse, reported that same-restaurant sales rose 12.7% during its fiscal 2018 year to nearly $8.1 billion. Most of its major brands saw sales growth during the year, except for the recently acquired Cheddar’s Scratch Kitchen, where same-restaurant sales fell 2%.
- After completing a renovation, Rosen Hotels & Resorts rebranded a 134- room former Red Roof Inn that it bought last year to a Midpointe Hotel.
- Habitat for Humanity of Greater Orlando will expand into Osceola County, which is struggling with a homelessness crisis and an influx of Hurricane Maria evacuees from Puerto Rico.
- The small Lake County city hired Jacksonvillebased Haskell Co. to evaluate plans for a new performing arts center in its downtown core.
- Luminar Technologies, which makes sensors for autonomous vehicles, hired FitBit’s former top finance executive, Bill Zerella, as its CFO.
- Software provider PowerDMS named David DiGiacomo CEO, succeeding founder Josh Brown, who remains a board member. DiGiacomo was president and CEO of software provider OnSolve for more than 15 years.
- Orlando Ballet named Shane Jewell executive director. Jewell, previously executive director of the Oklahoma City Ballet, replaces Caroline Miller, who stepped down last fall to return to England because of a family emergency.
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