April 2008

WORLD NEWS

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Tennessee with AT&T creates health info exchange

AT&T Inc. is partnering with Tennessee to provide the country's first statewide system to electronically exchange patient medical information.

The system is designed to securely transmit detailed patient information between medical professionals. It will allow doctors to access medical histories, prescribe medicines over the Internet and transfer images like X-rays, MRIs and CT scans.

Tennessee's program is seen as a model for other states and may be a springboard for interstate information sharing networks in the future. Doctors can use the system to remotely evaluate patients in rural areas who have less access to medical facilities. It will also link to the state Department of Health for access to the immunisation and disease registry, death certificate processing and medical license renewals. Tennessee Gov. Phil Bredesen has championed electronic records because of the inefficiency of the current paper-based system.  Antoine Agassi, director and chairman of the governor's eHealth Council, said Tennessee's deal with AT&T should keep costs down for individual subscribers. Doctors can apply for state grants to defray the costs of getting set up on the system. “Having the ability to get this from a pre-negotiated service level at a very, very competitive rate is a huge step forward,” he said.

Handwriting recognition integrated with smartpen

Vision Objects has integrated its MyScript handwriting recognition into Livescribe's Pulse smartpen and desktop application.

The Pulse smartpen captures handwriting and simultaneously records spoken information (lectures or conversations) while writing, ensuring the user doesn't miss a word. Users can tap directly on their paper notes and hear the corresponding sequence of the audio recording.

The system can search for words in handwritten text, and increases productivity by converting handwritten text into digital information.

Under a partnership agreement, Livescribe will distribute MyScript Notes for Pulse as an add-on application. Other applications include a translation tool that converts English into a wide range of languages and a calculator that carries out simple mathematical operations just by writing them down on paper.

Cardiac telemedicine reduces hospital admissions: study

The results of a 12-month trial of a cardiac telemedicine service supervised by the Greater Manchester and Cheshire (GMC) Cardiac Network, proves that the service avoids the need for immediate referral of patients with non-acute chest-pain symptoms to hospital care, in the majority of cases.

In an analysis of the results of the first 12 months' use of the telemedical ECG service from Broomwell HealthWatch across four PCTs (48 surgeries), GPs said that 58% of patients would have been referred to hospital if the ECG service had not been available to them. Over the 12-month period, this equates to nearly 2000 referrals to secondary care prevented by using the telemedical cardiac ECG interpretation service. Translated nationally across some 10,500 surgeries, the use of its ECG service could prevent up to 432,000 referrals per annum and could result in savings of around

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