The end of H2HCare

From ENN

Bank of Ireland and Enterprise Ireland are nursing losses following the collapse of H2Hcare,
a Dublin software firm that had raised more than EUR2 million in
funding. H2Hcare was founded in 2000, and developed technology to
manage medical applications and patient records online. The firm was
wound up at a creditors meeting last Tuesday with debts of between EUR2
million and EUR2.5 million.

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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ATM access to Health Records

Last Week, I took a couple of photographs of the good and bad of ATM user interface design.

First, the bad – from the local Spar shop. I choose to withdraw €30 and got this response.

Poor design in action here. A few days later, at an Ulster Bank ATM, a more intuitive approach. After inserting the bank card (below), you are informed what notes are available.

Then I wondered – Ok, apart from the User Interface design issue – what’s the connection here? This morning, I came across an old post from Hans Oh discussing the Canadian Health System, and a quote from a tired sounding CIO on the difficulties associated with developing a regional or national EHR (electronic health record).

"You can’t walk up to the health ATM, stick your tongue in it and get a
health check. The ATMs have been pretty successful at showing how
somebody can get their balance anywhere in the world and draw money.
Health doesn’t work as simply as that."

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Medicom merge with Systems Solutions

From the Medicom press release

The newly-formed company aims to provide support both to and between
the primary care, secondary care and pharmacy sectors in a fully
integrated manner in the months and years ahead.The merging of these
two entities will allow for increased synergies between pharmacies and
primary care professionals which will bring time and cost benefits in
addition to benefits for patients.

IMT have interview with Howard Beggs here, the piece below is extracted from this and throws light on the 2004 takeover of the Quantum – developers of GP Clinical.

“Back in 2004,” he said, “the then owners of
GP Clinical decided the business was no longer profitable and went
about selling their business. We were one of a number of companies to
be offered the business for sale. The GPs using the GP Clinical
software were right to express frustration with the fact that the
company they had invested time and money in had been sold off, but we
were surprised to receive the brunt of that frustration. It was
perceived that the acquisition was a predatory move when, in fact, it
was quite the opposite. We simply took over the management and support
of the customer base in the hope and anticipation that the majority
would ultimately migrate to our mainstream products.”

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Lazy passwords and MySpace

A post from the Guardian Technology Blog last week on a breakdown by Bruce Schneier of "typical" MySpace passwords. Typical here is in the context of the 34,000 accounts that were phished from the social networking site – but are these representative ?

From the analysis

The top 20 passwords are (in order):
password1, abc123, myspace1, password, blink182, qwerty1, fuckyou,
123abc, baseball1, football1, 123456, soccer, monkey1, liverpool1,
princess1, jordan23, slipknot1, superman1, iloveyou1 and monkey.

Amazing –  password has been overtaken by password1. Looking at the examples, at least some comfort might be taken from the fact that the most basic alphanumeric combinations are seeping through…

Update : regarding my naive final comment – MySpace requires a password at least 6 characters long, including a number/punctuation.

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Patients and their search for online health answers

Steve Rubel highlighted an interesting health related item a couple of weeks back.

Pew Internet and American Life project released a study on how people search for health information online – one of the main points being raised was the fact that most people do not check the veracity/context of the results.

According to Rubel,

Clearly, people are turning to search for health information, ignoring
the source and then going online to find peers for further reassurance.
This represents a huge fundamental shift in healthcare. No longer do
the health professionals hold all the cards. The patient is empowered
with information that may very often be inaccurate, and they are basing
at least some of their decisions on it.

Irish Radio Station TodayFM had a brief interview with an Irish General Practitioner on the subject on friday evening last (Ronan Boland of He pointed out that that patients getting information online is nothing new, but of course was in no way a replacement for a consultation and diagnosis with a medical professional.

My first experience of this was in 1995, when hospital doctors were beginning to relate stories of  patients self-diagnosing and in some cases, pointing  medics to online resources. There has been much anecdotal evidence since, especially with rarer conditions, that patients are often very well-informed; the web has enabled research beyond the medical libraries and textbooks.

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