ICU Telemedicine

Andy Kofke talks about his ICU Telemedicine system:

ICU Telemedicine

From this vantage point I can control a video camera to “go into” a room with two way audio communications, see a page summarizing all the patient’s main points, follow the bedside monitor continuously, read progress notes, view chest x rays, and review labs, among other things….everything except physically examine a patient or do a procedure on a patient. Also there is a sentry system that alarms when there is a trend or overt problem indicating that something is amiss…


Health Informatics Books

I’ve just ordered some new Health Informatics books:

The Principles and Practice of Health Informatics

The Biggest Computer Programme in the World... Ever!

Healthcare Informatics

I’ll post up some reviews here once they arrive. Any more recommendations for Health Informatics books or textbooks? Post them in the comments.

CEN/TC251, ISO/TC215 and HL7 Launch Joint Working Group

Health IT News report on the talks between the various standards groups that took place recently in Brisbane, Australia: 

BRISBANE, AUSTRALIA – The standards groups that met here at the end of August to work on developing health informatics standards that can be used around the world, are already preparing for their next work session in Dublin Oct. 2.

The Brisbane meeting was an inaugural one for the far-flung organizations, and it resulted in “significant and positive development towards the harmonization,” according to the newly established joint council.

CEN/TC251, ISO/TC215 and HL7 launched their Joint Initiative Council and Joint Working Group at the meeting and also agreed on a slate of projects.

CEN/TC251 is the European Committee for Standardization Technical Committee for Health Informatics; ISO/TC215 is the International Standards Organization Technical Committee for Health Informatics. HL7, or Health Level 7, is an American standards development organization.

Together, the groups agreed to work on standards for:

• EHR communications architecture
• Joint data types standard
• Care information model standards requirements
• Patient and medication safety standards.

Members of the Joint Initiative Council and the Joint Working Group said their work would build on existing agreements and recognize existing standards collaboration work already in place.

They formed the joint council and joint working group, they said, in response to a call for coordination and collaboration from governments, health providers and vendors around the world.

“The contribution of the many experts from each of the SDOs [standards development organizations], all working together, is
a huge strength of the Joint Working Group and we fully support this collaborative work that is so essential in delivering shared care through interoperability of our health information systems,” said HL7’s Ed Hammond, the newly elected chairman of the Joint Initiative Council.
The next meeting of the Joint Working Group is scheduled to coincide with the CEN/TC 251 meetings at Dublin on Oct. 2.


NHS Connecting for Health Under Attack from British MPs

The BBC is running a story on MP critism of the NHS Connecting for Health Programme: 

Fears over NHS e-records system

Image of a computer

The NHS IT project is costing £6.8bn

A key plank of the £6.8bn NHS IT upgrade project in England has come under attack from MPs.The Health Committee said there was a “worrying lack of progress” and raised concerns about the security of electronic patients records.

But the MPs also said the system – an online database of 50 million medical records to be accessed across the NHS – had huge potential to improve care.

The government said the project was being implemented carefully.

But Liberal Democrat Health Spokesperson, Sandra Gidley MP said: “This ambitious project has suffered from a lack of consistent direction.

“Confidence in the system will not be boosted by the government’s woeful record at handling large scale IT projects.”

Meanwhile the Public Accounts Committee has criticised another aspect of the NHS.

Public and professional confidence in the programme is low and its credibility is at stake

Dr Vivienne Nathanson, of the BMA

It said the NHS was “paying lip service” to a government programme intended to boost quality and safety after high-profile scandals such as the Harold Shipman killings.

The MPs criticised PCTs, GPs and NHS contractors for poor communication and compliance with national systems for reporting clinical incidents.

For example, it found only 4% of GPs routinely reported incidents to the National Patient Safety Agency.

But the criticism of the NHS IT project – the biggest civilian programme of its kind in the world – is just the latest in a long line of negative reports.

The National Audit Office recently warned about delays and value for money.

The e-records system is part of a programme, run by a government agency called NHS Connecting for Health, aimed at linking more than 30,000 GPs to nearly 300 hospitals by 2014.

‘Lack of clarity’

The new systems include an online booking system, e-prescriptions and fast computer network links between NHS organisations as well as the centralised e-records system.

The e-records system consists of two parts – the summary care record (SCR) and the local detailed care record (DCR).

The SCR will contain basic information – such as current medication, allergies and long-term conditions – and will be shared by health professionals across England unless patients object.

Any details they want held back will remain on their full patient record – the DCR – in their local area.

The cross-party group of MPs said they found “it difficult to clarify exactly what information will be contained in the SCR and what the primary uses of the record will be”.

We still have some way to go before patients and the profession can see tangible benefits of the new system

Kevin Barron, of the Health Committee

They also said maintaining its security – with different members of staff having different access authority – presented a “significant challenge” despite the controls and audit systems put in place.

They said the project had been poorly communicated to patients and that delays to the system – some parts of it are two years behind schedule – meant progress had been slow.

The MPs said Connecting for Health and the government had to make more effort to get doctors and local NHS staff on board.

Committee chairman Kevin Barron, a Labour MP, said: “We still have some way to go before patients and the profession can see tangible benefits of the new system.”

And Joyce Robins, of the Patient Concern group, said e-records had been communicated to the public like a “sales pitch”.

Dr Vivienne Nathanson, of the British Medical Association, said: “Public and professional confidence in the programme is low and its credibility is at stake.”

A spokeswoman for the Department of Health, which was responding for NHS Connecting for Health, said e-records were about improving care and that it would consider the recommendations of the committee.

“NHS Connecting for Health is continuing with the careful and considered introduction of the summary care record in a small number of early adopter PCTs.”


Google Health Boss Quits

Adam Bosworth 

Google is losing the boss of its Google Health project, Adam Bosworth. Danny Sullivan received the following statement from Google:

Adam is a great talent and was instrumental in starting Google Health. He is now on vacation and has decided to pursue other opportunities after that. Marissa Mayer is taking over the health team in the interim until a new team leader takes over. Google is moving forward with work on our health products.

 Screenshots of the new Google Health project emerged last month on Google Blogoscoped:

 Google Health Screenshot

Adam’s bio is still available on Google’s management page.

Royal Society of Medicine PDA and Smartphone Workshop, October 9th, London

RSMRegister now for the 2007 Royal Society of Medicine PDA and Smartphone Workshop in London on October 9th.The workshop aims to cover a wide range of topics about mobile computing in healthcare and is being run by Dr Mo Al-Ubaydli and myself.

Register here.

Miscroft Common User Interface

CNET has a short peice about Microsoft’s new Common User Interface project and the work they are doing with the UK’s NHS. They also mention Intel’s Mobile Clinical Assistant project and quote Tim Smokoff, general manager of Microsoft’s health care unit saying we can expect more aquisitions in addition to recent the purchase of MedStory and Azyxxi.