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Web Review: cytogen.com
This review was published in U.S. 1 Newspaper on August 26, 1998. All rights reserved.
Log onto Cytogen's newly revised website (http://www.cytogen.com) and a whole world opens up. At least that's what the design theme tries to imply. A telescope and a sextant are clustered near a map so old that it looks like Columbus might have used it. It illustrates the theme "Charting a Clearer Course for Cancer Detection and Treatment." So that everyone understands that the College Road-based firm' products are all for helping people, faces of people are lightly superimposed on the map.
The latest revision for the website, adding to the usual shareholder and financial information, is the work of Cytogen's Randi F. Schayowitz and Mark Meara of Princeton Internet Group (PiNG), Cytogen's Internet consultant (http://www.PInGsite.com. It offers some interactive ways -- unusual for a healthcare site -- for consumers and doctors to find and use information about Cytogen's products.
One of Cytogen's most successful products is ProstaScint, which helps in the diagnosis of prostate cancer. Go to http://www.prostascint.com (also available by clicking through from cytogen.com) and choose either the Physican or the Patient track.
Patients can summon a list of support groups that is searchable by geographic area, or a list of group meetings organized by date. The leader of a support group can modify a listing by using password access.
"It lets the support group let the community know what they are doing," says Schayowitz, Cytogen's associate director of marketing communications. A Rutgers alumna, she started working in the role of patient advocacy for Cytogen last year. "Other disease specific sites have other attributes, but to my knowledge there is no other site that has these components."
Different resource libraries are provided for patients and physicians, and a list of 74 other websites is hotlinked. On the physician side, anyone can submit a question and the medical staff on the Web board will select a certain number of questions and post them back. Physicians can even transmit medical images and discuss them among themselves. Case studies, each with a half-dozen layers of information ranging from diagnosis to outcome, are available in the physician area, though the laypeople can read them also.
Schayowitz was concerned that the average cancer patient might not be able to negotiate the site easily. "But we got the technology down to where it was very user friendly but had a high level of functionality. PInG was able to make it so simple that grandma and grandpa can `get' it."
"I finally found a way where technology can help mankind," says Schayowitz. "Accessing your bank account at 4 p.m. ? That's OK. To be able to read a newspaper before it hits your doorstep? That's good, too." But to make a difference in the lives of cancer patients was for Schayowitz "absolutely exhilarating."
But as snazzy as this site is, it is still a work in progress. If you go to the meeting calendar database, you are provided with the date, the support group, and the city. No time, and no contact telephone number. Solution: Work your way back through the website and click on support groups. One more click and you get the details, including the phone number, on the support group you seek.
The Prostacint site debuted only last month. When its two databases get linked, so grandma and grandpa can click through in a direct sequence to what they are looking for, then this site will really fulfill its potential.
-- Barbara Fox
This article by Allen N. Jones of Merrill Lynch was published in U.S. 1 Newspaper on August 26, 1998.
by Allen N. Jones
When it comes to estate planning, Americans have good intentions but many are not taking sufficient action to meet their goals. A Merrill Lynch survey on Americans' attitudes about estate planning has found a disturbing gap between what people know they should do, and what they actually do.
The survey, conducted in mid-1997 through International Communications Research, was comprised of 895 individuals aged 45 and older. Most people (85 percent) said they had given some thought to providing for their loved ones. But less than a third (30 percent) actually said they felt well prepared in the event something should happen. Nearly 71 percent reported having a will, but only about half reported having one that was current at the time of the survey.
Many people are unaware of federal estate tax laws and, therefore, may be underprepared even with a will. Only 55 percent of respondents knew that federal estate taxes were applied to estates in excess of $600,000 at the time of the survey ($625,000 for 1998). Just 31 percent knew that estate taxes are due within nine months of a death.
People also may mistakenly assume that preparing for the future means providing only for children or other dependents of the next generation. Only 13 percent said they have arranged for the care of elderly dependents. Yet people realize they may easily become a part of the "sandwich generation," caring for both children and ailing parents -- 44 percent of respondents said it was important to plan for the care of elderly relatives.
Interestingly, women placed more importance on specific estate planning steps than men. More women than men said it was important to organize financial records (84 percent versus 64 percent) and have a written plan (54 percent versus 37 percent). Yet more men than women (77 percent versus 60 percent) knew that estate planning strategies can reduce estate taxes and have consulted a professional (65 percent versus 59 percent).
People who do attempt to plan may take the wrong steps if they have incorrect or incomplete information about estate planning. Here are 10 common estate-planning misconceptions and mistakes to avoid:
The Mercer County Bar Association offers free 15-minute consultations -- which could include advice on wills and estates -- on Wednesday, September 9, 5:30 to 7:30 p.m., at the Triangle Art Center, Darrah Lane & Route 1. Call 609-585-6200.
This page is published by PrincetonInfo.com -- the web site for U.S. 1 Newspaper in Princeton, New Jersey.