The Biotech & Healthcare IT Blog

Monday, October 25, 2004

Mobile aid for diabetes patients

Mobile aid for diabetes patients: "Mobile phones are being used to try to make the lives of people with diabetes easier by high-speed data transfer.
A team in Oxford, UK, is using mobiles to record and organise information from patients, and to send it directly to a hospital for rapid analysis and advice."

Sunday, October 24, 2004

Tech Whiz Aims to Boost Third World Care

Tech Whiz Aims to Boost Third World Care: "Vikram Kumar is hardly your typical tech chief executive. He shares a two-bedroom apartment with a sister and a nephew and gets around town by bicycle or in a 20-year-old Mercedes Benz. The 28-year-old MIT graduate works days as a pathology resident at Brigham and Women's Hospital across the Charles River in Boston and only turns his energies at night to his business: improving rural health care in the developing world with handheld computer technology.

With degrees in medicine and engineering, Kumar could have plenty of lucrative opportunities. Instead, he's opted for a venture with dicey moneymaking prospects. The chief customers of Dimagi, his two-year-old startup, are nonprofit Third World health agencies. "

Tuesday, October 19, 2004

Doctors without papers

Doctors without papers: "The nation's medical records czar watched Dr. Tim Thunder press his thumb down on a tablet computer inside Providence Portland Medical Center.
Thunder showed David Brailer how to click onto a page that displayed in bright green wavy lines the vital signs of his patient, 66-year-old Carol Lou Wilmoth of Portland. A victim of a car accident days earlier, Wilmoth suffered a broken rib and fractured lung.
Brailer smiled. Appointed earlier this year to lead the adoption of a nationwide electronic medical record system, Brailer stopped by Monday to view the progress in Portland. About a tenth of the nation has developed such a system, but the Portland area stands out as a region further ahead, Brailer said.
Thunder told Brailer how the new handheld device enables him to instantly pull up data that previously would have taken up reams of paper in a storage room. "

Monday, October 18, 2004

Northpinellas: Emergency room embraces technology

Northpinellas: Emergency room embraces technology: "Watch television, listen to the radio and surf the Internet - without having to leave your emergency room bed.
Patients will be able to access those services when Sun Coast Hospital's new $3.1-million emergency room opens next year. The 10,000-square-foot emergency care department will almost double in size from 11 to 21 rooms.
Groundbreaking was Thursday, and construction will take about a year. The new emergency room will be partially open in June 2005 and fully operational in November 2005."

Warning on internet health advice

Warning on internet health advice: "People with chronic disease should think twice before relying on the internet for health advice, research suggests.
A University College London study found many would be in a better condition if they had simply listened to their doctor's advice.
The study found interactive computer tools do improve medical knowledge.
But there was no evidence they change behaviour positively, and some that they left people in worse health. "

Thursday, October 14, 2004

Electronic health care records provider unveils $25 million online program linking diabetic children with doctors

Electronic health care records provider unveils $25 million online program linking diabetic children with doctors: "Gabe Mathews felt funny at school last week, so the 9-year-old went to the nurse, who discovered the diabetic boy's blood sugar was very low. Later that night, his mother tested him again -- only to find it was much too high.
Such swings are common for children with Type I diabetes, the rarer form of the disease, which affects 206,000 people under the age of 20.
Notifying a child's doctor of such rapid changes can help determine a cause and quickly change an insulin regimen. The problem: Doing so quickly, said Gabe's mother, Michele Kilo, a physician at Children's Mercy Hospital in Kansas City.
Cerner Corp., one of the country's largest providers of electronic health care records, on Wednesday announced a $25 million plan to provide a Web-based system connecting all children with Type I diabetes with their physicians for free. "

Wednesday, October 13, 2004

Don't Ask: Doctors say e-mail can be a headache

Don't Ask: Doctors say e-mail can be a headache: "The communication started innocently enough, Fred Kahl said.
Kahl, a cardiologist at Wake Forest University Baptist Medical Center, was contacted through e-mail by a patient who needed brief medical information, he said. The e-mail rapidly led to more and more online requests from the patient, until Kahl finally had enough.
'If you have a complicated situation, then e-mail is not the way to do it,' Kahl said.
Constant online requests for medical help is just one of the problems doctors can face when communicating with patients through e-mail, health-care experts and doctors said yesterday."

Tuesday, October 12, 2004

Tough medicine needed for NHS IT failings

Tough medicine needed for NHS IT failings: "Although its barely started, the NHS IT programme is already controversial. Open-heart surgery is needed

So the National Health Service IT project is going to cost up to five times more than we had previously been told. Bad news for taxpayers, but is anyone really surprised?

The IT industry has a charge sheet longer than Matron's enema tube of delivering big projects late and over budget. Put it in harness with a government and civil service big on posturing but with little real understanding of technology and computing, and you don't need seven years of medical school to diagnose the malady. "

BBC NEWS | Health | Warning of major NHS IT overspend

BBC NEWS | Health | Warning of major NHS IT overspend: "The final cost of modernising NHS computer systems could rise to between �18.6bn and �31bn - three to five times the declared figure - it is reported. "

Sunday, October 10, 2004

Vendors building high-performance knowledge system

Vendors building high-performance knowledge system: "In a bid to greatly increase officials' ability to manage interconnected information, employees at Ontology Works Inc. and database developer Objectivity Inc. are working together on the High Performance Knowledge Server.
The system will manage large volumes of information, according to developers at the two companies. As Ontology Works' name suggests, the system will be based on ontology, a philosophical concept that pertains to the essential nature of things and the relationships among them.
In the information technology context, ontologies refer to cataloging data as it is used by people in a particular discipline and charting those relationships, said Bill Andersen, chief scientist at Ontology Works. "

Saturday, October 09, 2004

Doctors need to improve patient safety

Doctors need to improve patient safety: "A lthough Measure 35 is ostensibly about reducing injuries from medical care, neither the current system of unrestrained awards nor their capping really addresses meaningful solutions to improving health-care quality and patient safety. While our current system of malpractice rewards is highly flawed, I also take my own profession to task for not acknowledging, let alone remedying, the very real problem of injury suffered in the course of medical care.
Organized medicine can no longer ignore the problem of medical injury. Anywhere from 48,000 to 200,000 people die each year in this country because of medical errors, according to studies from a number of well-respected research organizations. These deaths not only come from a small number of 'bad apple' practitioners but also from the rest of the health-care system that lacks tools to detect and prevent errors that are used routinely by virtually all other industries. "

Thursday, October 07, 2004

Px: IT Slowly but surely, health-oriented

Px: IT Slowly but surely, health-oriented: "In a busy section of the Ottawa Hospital, nurses and doctors are studying patients' information, comparing lab results, talking a mile a minute, monitoring several situations at once. This is how hospitals have always been: controlled chaos.
But something has changed.
Instead of bending over clipboards and light tables, the medical staff are logging into patient records and image databases on flat-screen monitors. Instead of intercom paging, some staff carry special wireless phones. Rolling carts carry wireless computer stations."

Monday, October 04, 2004

Vioxx recall seen as victory for patient safety

Vioxx recall seen as victory for patient safety: "A beautiful example of pure patient safety."
That's how one doctor described the industry's response to last week's unexpected blockbuster recall of Merck's popular inflammatory drug Vioxx.
Technology-savvy physicians like Dr. Salvatore Volpe of Staten Island, New York, were able to begin notifying patients who had been prescribed the drug within hours of the first FDA recall alerts.
"I saw the announcement of the recall on television and went to to learn more," said Volpe, who has been using Zix Corp�s e-prescribing tool, PocketScript, for about a year-and-a-half. "Because PocketScript allows you to do several kinds of reporting, I was able to create a report based on drug-dispensed records over the last two years Bing! It popped up 16 patients who had been prescribed Vioxx by me or by another doctor.� "

Friday, October 01, 2004

Hospital making move to paperless records MaineGeneral using $1.5M grant to connect doctors' offices, labs, pharmacies

Hospital making move to paperless records MaineGeneral using $1.5M grant to connect doctors' offices, labs, pharmacies: "As many as 115 central Maine doctors offices are expected to bid farewell to clipboards and illegible handwriting in favor of an electronic medical record system.
Within three years, many of these offices -- all connected to MaineGeneral Medical Center -- will be virtually paperless, with the help of a $1.5 million federal grant.
The medical records will be computer-based and connected to MaineGeneral-affiliated laboratories and pharmacies to allow quicker and better service for patients, said Dr. Dan Mingle, MaineGeneral health-care systems engineer who also is managing the electronic medical record project."