December 2009

NEWS REVIEW

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Philips Organises Conference on Sleep Apnoea

Philips Respironics recently organised a conference called “wake up to sleep”. The conference was based on the current scenario and future of sleep disorders in India.

17 key opinion leaders in the field of sleep medicine were present to discuss and brainstorm on various issues related to sleep disorders. Some of the prominent names are as below:

  • Dr JC Suri: HOD Pulmunary critical care and sleep medicine, Vardhaman Mahavir Medical College and Safdarjung hospital, New Delhi. Also President of Indian Sleep Disorder Association.
  • Dr Sujit Rajan, Sr Consultant, pulmonary Medicine, Bombay Hospital
  • Dr. Prashant Chhajed: Fortis and Saifee Hospital, Mumbai.
  • The topics that were discussed were:
  • Limited data available on prevalence of sleep disorders in India. Hence more studies and research required in the field.
  • Lack of awareness among general physicians and other specialists is an issue that needs to be addressed.
  • Economic event of sleep apnoea was discussed, citing some examples of disasters linked to sleep disorder.
  • Healthcare cost containment related to early diagnosis and treatment of sleep apnoea.
  • Long term (hypertension, type 2 diabetes, stoke, cardiac arrhythmias) and short term effects (excessive daytime sleepiness, loss of memory, lack of concentration etc.) of sleep apnoea.
  • Local service infrastructure to be provided by manufacturers of sleep diagnostics and sleep therapy equipments.
  • Need to look into import of quality products that are US FDA approved and CE marked.

Eight New AIIMS-like Institutions to be Constructed

In order to expedite the construction of eight new All India Institute of Medical Sciences (AIIMS)-like institutes in the country, Union health minister Sri Ghulam Nabi Azad announced incentives of up to Rs 10 crore for early completion of these projects. Speaking at the 37th convocation of AIIMS on Monday, Azad admitted that the institute was not able to concentrate on research, the main objective for which it was set-up, because of heavy patient load, especially from outside the capital.

With eight AIIMS-like institutions across India in the pipeline, the minister is confident that it will help in reducing the patient load at the institute. The ministry is also upgrading 19 medical colleges which will have super-speciality facilities.

Addressing a large gathering of students, professor and other AIIMS staff, President Pratibha Patil asked young doctors to devote a few year of their professional life to work for the rural sector and encouraged them to take up rural postings.

Narayana Nethralaya Pilots Breakthrough Telemedicine on iPhone

Narayana Nethralaya Postgraduate Institute of Ophthalmology, Bangalore which has been involved in pediatric community eye outreach programs for over 25 years has helped evolve a unique tele-medicine software which allows screening of rural and semi-urban infants for a potentially blinding condition called Retinopathy of Prematurity along with other common conditions including ocular cancers.

The institute has helped provide the access of this software on the iPhone. The new pilot will run for 36 months at which time we expect TeleROP to be deployed on a much broader scale across the country and soon in other countries.

NComputing bags ‘Project Panchdeep’ deal from  ESIC and Wipro

NComputing won a contract from Employee State Insurance Corporation (ESIC) and Wipro for ‘Project Panchdeep’, one of the largest e-governance projects in India. The project will aim to streamline insurance and healthcare services provided by ESIC to employers, employees and state and central government workers. The initiative includes the computerization of various set-ups across the nation. It will also issue 20 million medical ID cards that can be used at any ESIC facility and will also rollout Unified Information System. Wipro had bagged the project from ESIC worth Rs. 1182 crores.

NComputing’s L130 thin clients will be deployed for the project, and over 31,000 L130s will be connected to Wipro’s desktop PCs operating on Windows OS, which will then connect to the cloud computing environment in India at ESIC datacentres.

Carestream Health India Announces New Tabletop Laser Imager For High-Resolution Medical Imaging Printing

Carestream Health India has announced the availability of its latest innovation with the high-image quality Carestream DryView5850 Laser Imager. The machine brings tabletop convenience and outstanding reliability with extra-sharp 508 pixels-per-inch resolution that makes it ideal for medical imaging applications and digital mammography.

The new DryView 5850 laser imager addresses the need for affordable laser-quality film output from full-field digital mammography (FFDM) and CR-based mammography systems. It delivers extra sharp 508 ppi resolution every time on every size film. The imager, with two on-line film trays, supports DICOM printing for mammography and general radiography. With a simplified user panel and capability to change films in full room light, it is easy to operate. Moreover, the DryView technology does not use thermal print heads thereby requiring minimal maintenance. The product has been accorded marketing clearance by the US Food & Drug Administration (FDA).

“The compact nature and simplicity of use of the machine will be extremely helpful for imaging centers, hospital departments, and clinics alike. Besides, the high-quality of output will result in accurate and better diagnosis and treatment,” informed Prabir Chatterjee, Managing Director of Carestream Health India.

Carestream Health’s laser imagers are available in three models that range from tabletop systems designed for low to medium level output to fully featured units designed for high volume, multi-modality output These laser imagers offer output from PACS, CT, MRI, computed radiography and digital radiography systems, and other grayscale imaging applications.

The company has installed more than 60,000 laser imaging systems around the world that serve radiology departments, imaging centers and small clinics, dedicated modality printing and mobile applications. Its laser imagers deliver proven great performance and earn consistently high customer satisfaction ratings.

The company originated as a business unit within Eastman Kodak Company and brings from its former owner a proud history of innovation, more than 110 years’ experience in health imaging, and over 1,000 patents in digital and film imaging and information technology. As a result of its innovative product portfolio and broad global sales, service and distribution capabilities, products from Carestream Health can be found in approximately 90% of hospitals and dental practices around the world.

GE Healthcare Collaborates with InterComponentWare (ICW) to Deliver eHealth Solutions

In order to further promote the exchange of clinical expertise beyond imaging solutions, GE Healthcare is delivering global solutions enabled by ehealth technology partner ICW headquartered in Walldorf, Germany. This collaboration drives eHealth solutions such as virtual and personal patient health records, and master patient index, in order to match clinical information to the right patient, as well as care and disease management IT solutions. The combination of these solutions can help to optimize workflows across vendors, care providers and institutions, and supports safer diagnoses and better patient care. The result is expected to reduce costs and enhance productivity for all parties.

GE’s Centricity RIS/PACS is a web-based solution that offers an extremely fast streaming technology which enables the system to run in region-wide and multi-hospital environments even under low bandwidth conditions. Its full XDS capabilities offer the radiologist to access information from multiple systems even beyond radiology on a single desktop.

On top of its embedded Maximum Intensity Projection Module/Multiple Planar Reconstruction (MIP/MPR) functionality Centricity RIS/PACS provides advanced clinical tools and 3D technology in order to easily evaluate huge sets of data. This supports cost-effective image exchange projects throughout several care providers and vendors. At the same time, fast access to vital patient information is leading to more timely and safe diagnoses for patients.

GE Healthcare’s long-lasting experience in medical devices and IT has led to a series of new technologies, driving the commitment to interoperability further. It also launched a remote viewing and image sharing workstation (AW-Server) where all processing is done on a web-based server. Office PCs virtually turn into a multi-modality 2D, 3D and 4D postprocessing workstation. The efficient combination of AW-Server with Centricity RIS and PACS promotes extensive reporting capabilities, streamlined radiology workflows and a smooth collaboration between internal clinicians and referring physicians, enabling safe diagnoses and thus better patient care.

Centre to Infuse Health and Life Cover for Over Six Crore Poor Families

The insurance regulator has proposed a new consolidated health and life cover for over six crore poor families that will replace all  existing insurance schemes sponsored by the central and state governments. The Insurance Regulatory and Development Authority (IRDA) plans to provide every poor family a life cover of Rs 1.5 lakh and a medical cover of Rs 1 lakh. An integrated cover will cost Rs 1,500 per annum, of which the Centre will bear half the premium and the rest will be shared equally by the states and the beneficiaries.

The proposal, estimated to cost Rs 12,000 crore, will cover most families in the unorganised sector and will replace all other central and state-sponsored insurance schemes. The insurer, who underwrites the policy, will also get a profit, making the scheme commercially viable.

In this case, the Centre’s share of the premium works out to around Rs 6,000 crore per annum, and about Rs 30 a month for a poor family. Today, both the Centre and the states spend over Rs 4,000 crore on social insurance schemes with different claim ratios. It is believed that the insurance coverage and costs can be optimised with a well-designed scheme that integrates all the risk covers: health, partial and full disability, and death.

IBM Creates POC Diagnostic Test

IBM scientists have created a one-step point-of-care-diagnostic test, based on an innovative silicon chip, that requires less sample volume, is significantly faster, portable, easy-to-use, and can test for many diseases, including cardiovascular disease. The results are so quick and accurate that a small sample of a patient’s serum or blood, could be tested immediately following a heart attack, to enable the doctor to quickly take a course of action to help the patient survive.

The diagnostic test uses capillary forces to analyse tiny samples of serum, or blood, for the presence of disease markers, which are typically proteins that can be detected in people’s blood for diagnostic purposes.

IBM scientists have encoded the forces of capillary action on a microfluidic chip made of a silicon compound, similar to those used in computer chips, thus leveraging IBM’s vast experience in developing and manufacturing silicon semiconductor wafers. The chip, which measures 1 x 5 centimeters, contains sets of micrometer wide channels where the test sample flows through in approximately 15 seconds, several times faster then traditional tests. Uniquely, the filling speed can be adjusted to several minutes when the chip requires additional time to read a more complex disease marker.

IBM scientists designed the chip with flexibility in mind in both its form and uses. Due to its small size the chip can be embedded in several types of form factors, depending on the application, including a credit card, a pen or something similar to a pregnancy test. Besides diagnosing diseases, the test is also flexible enough to test for chemical and bio hazards.

Lifeclinic International Forays into India

Lifeclinic International, Inc., the world’s leading manufacturer and distributor of automated blood pressure monitors and Health Stations has launched nationally here in Hyderabad through its Indian partner Lifeclinic India. Lifeclinic’s products are FDA approved and meet AAMI (Association of Advanced Medical Instrumentation) and WHO (World Health Organization) standards. Lifeclinic’s entry into the national market brings a critical service which will allow individuals to engage in their own health and wellness.

The Lifeclinic Automated Health Stations provide tools for a natural transition into self-healthcare and chronic disease management. It helps identify early risk factors and prevent progression. The machines can be ideally installed in any public place like: airports, bus terminals, railway stations, super markets, shopping malls, health clubs, corporate offices and large medical stores. Railway stations and metro railways can keep these health stations in waiting rooms, ticketing counters; star hotels for their guests, corporate houses for the benefit of their employees.

In addition to its unique, self-testing technology, its new Web-enabled health stations provide healthcare professionals and employees with data-tracking and management tools to enhance program effectiveness. Lifeclinic’s blood pressure monitors, health stations and health management systems make it easy for individuals to take an active role in their healthcare while enabling corporate management to reduce healthcare costs and improve the health and productivity of their employees.

More than one thousand employers have installed several thousand Lifeclinic self-testing health stations at worksites as a part of their Corporate Wellness Program. The Lifeclinic LC500 provides automated measurements of blood pressure, pulse, weight, body fat, Blood Oxygen and BMI. Peripheral input ports interface with various personal health devices, including glucose meters and pedometers. The LC500 is Internet-ready for secure, HIPAA-compliant, connection to health and wellness tools.

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