Microsoft announce HealthVault

Microsoft have today launched a beta Personal Health Record called HealthVault. The New York Times have a good writeup.

It includes health search, a personal health record, and the facility to upload data from compliant devices.

I wonder what Adam Bosworth, the former Google (and former Microsoft) exec, thinks of all of this? Over the past 18 months or so, all of the talk has been of Google and its work in this area. I was less than impressed by some of the screenshots of their efforts released during the summer.

On the other hand – first impressions of HealthVault (even though I have not yet even created an account yet) are good.

Which leads me to the conclusion that I need to do some reviews of these developments. I will include in this review, a recent invite I had from Israeli based iMedix (still in closed alpha) – haven’t forgotten you guys!

Critical condition for Irish healthcare?

This was the title of a recent piece from Siliconrepublic.com talking about current technology and IT usage in the Irish Healthcare system. It notes that during the recent General Election in this country, there were occasional thinly veiled references to "value for money" from public sector projects.

Whatever you can say about the opposition parties during the campaign, I wouldn’t agree that their references to these projects, and specifically PPARS, were thinly veiled – quite the opposite actually in that they were gunning for it for a long time before and during the campaign.

As the writer correctly highlights though – elections are all about simple messages; in this case more beds, more frontline staff…and feck the technology.

The mantra for IT in healthcare has not changed, and it is very simple – it "is a drive to remove or reduce paper from the workings of healthcare."

Unfortunately, this would have been the mantra from the business community 10+ years ago. They have since moved on to improving/redesigning processes and creating new business opportunities.

Health has a lot of catching up to do.

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24 years of progress?

Nearly 2 months since my last post…

A 24 year old home computing magazine – Commodore power play from 1983 – ended this particular stasis. An article entitled "England takes the VIC seriously" (the VIC 20) reviewed some business applications for the platform coming out of the UK. Quoting from the piece

..the University Hospital in Cardiff, Wales, has been using VIC-FILE, and information-handling and record-manipulation programe, for some time in the diagnosis and treatment of diabetics. Patients are hooked up to a machine that monitors their blood-sugar level. If this falls below a certain figure, the shortfall is corrected by means of a quantity of insulin automatically administered intravenously.

Before VICFILE was purchased, the readings from the machine for each patient were written on paper. This not only used up a great deal of time and paper but was also prone to errors. The introduction of VICFILE also has allowed the readings for each patient to be stored on diskette. Therefore the physician can print lists of readings for each patient whenever they are needed, and can quickly assimilate the information and prescribe the proper insulin dosage.

A clever use of a piece of hardware, never intended really for business use given its massive  16k ROM – but here apparently used  quite effectively to solve a real problem; this would be the equivalent nowadays of an Excel/Access solution.

The VIC-20 may no longer be there, but the pen and paper certainly remains…

Enterprise Ireland event – Semantic Web for e-Health

Found out about this from Brian O’Malley of Enterprise Ireland last week – one of their Technology Club events.

Dr Stefan Decker of NUIG and DERI will present on the topic “Semantic Web for e-Health – a first assessment and opportunities ahead“

Should be an interesting morning – the guys from DERI have been pretty active in Semantic Web developments over the past number of years. They have another event on next week in Galway looking at social networks – nice to see they are throwing their eyes at health;

Hopefully they will going in to this with an background knowledge of the healthcare situation in Ireland with regard to the use of IT. So to often one attends events where the understanding of how things currently work versus how they might work in their  blue sky version leaves some shaking their heads.

Innovation with a dose of pragmatism sometimes hits the spot better…

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Irish Minister diagnosed with a tumour on live TV by surgeon watching programme

A very interesting case. Irish Junior Minister Conor Lenihan was remotely diagnosed as he appeared on the Irish current affairs programme Prime Time in late December, while discussing the legacy of Charles Haughey.

According to the interview he gave yesterday to Morning Ireland, a Consultant Surgeon (who wished to remain anonymous) rang the show asked to speak to the Minister, advising him to seek advice.

Sure enough, a tumour was removed in early January. In the audio interview, he mentions how though non-malignant, the early intervention ensured that nerves along the jaw-line were not damaged – potentially this could have led to a palsy on the left side of his face.

The actual progamme that spurred the diagnosis is here (about 4mins 50 seconds in)

This type of story makes me feel good.

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