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New platform for connecting PHR

IBM has announced a collaboration with Google and Continua Health Alliance on new software to enable data to be easily moved from remote personal monitoring devices into Google Health personal health records (PHRs).

The new IBM software provides a platform for connecting personal health devices – increasingly expected to be mobile, wireless and interoperable – to personal health records.

The platform has been developed using open standards and is compliant with Continua Health guidelines. It will enable personal medical monitoring, screening and monitoring devices to automatically stream data results into a patient's Google Health Account or other PHR. Once stored in a PHR, the data can also be shared with physicians and other members of the extended care network. Automatically streaming patient monitoring and vital signs data should help add to the value of PHRs for citizens, by avoiding the need for manual data entry and ensuring PHRs are current and accurate.

The development should help health professionals provide more timely feedback to patients on their conditions, suggest treatments, and help improve overall quality of life.

Google Health allows users to store, manage, and share their medical records and personal health information securely online. Google Health was officially launched last May, is free to users and available online at www.google.com/health.

IBM developed the software based on guidelines from Continua Health Alliance, a globally recognised organisation dedicated to enabling interoperable personal healthcare products and solutions. 

Queensland trials telehealth project

The Australian state of Queensland has launched a telehealth project in the local government district of Ipswich to improve the efficiency of treatment for patients with chronic disease.

The Telehealth Lifestyle Coordination (TLC) project will monitor and manage chronic disease sufferers without the need for patients to leave their homes. If successful, the system could be rolled out nationwide.

The pilot project aims to show that telehealth is a viable alternative – or supplement to – hospital care.

Telehealth enables patients who don't need constant supervision to lead as normal a life as possible, while managing their illness.

A small HomeMed unit is installed in a patient's home. The unit instructs the patient to take vital sign readings and ask tailored questions. The vital sign reading is then transmitted over telephone lines to a website where it is checked against pre-set parameters. If any readings exceed pre-set parameters, the data is red-flagged and a healthcare provider alerted.  

Chinese to have better medical facilities

China's State Council passed a long awaited medical reform plan which promised to spend 850 billion yuan (USD 123 billion) by 2011 to provide universal medical service to the country's 1.3 billion population.

The plan was studied and passed at a meeting of the State Council chaired by Premier Wen Jiabao. The government has been deliberating medical reform since 2006.

According to reform plans, authorities would take measures within three years to provide basic medical security to all Chinese in urban and rural areas, improve the quality of medical services, and

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