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Kaiser, Microsoft test medical records technology

Kaiser Permanente and Microsoft Corp. recently announced a partnership that the two giant companies hope will push forward the effort to digitise medical records and safely transfer sensitive health data.

Kaiser’s 156,000 employees will be eligible for a pilot program connecting the Oakland health maintenance organisation’s health records with Microsoft’s HealthVault, a free, Web-based medical database the technology giant launched in 2007.

The slow shift of the American health industry to digitised records has been fraught with complications, particularly that hospitals, medical groups and insurance companies typically have closed computer systems that do not allow for the exchange of information.

Kaiser members already have the ability to schedule appointments, e-mail their doctor, re-fill prescriptions and access test results online through the HMO’s health record, called My Health Manager, which is used by more than 2 million people, or nearly a quarter of Kaiser’s 8.7 million members.

Kaiser will consider offering HealthVault to its members by the end of the year if the employee pilot, slated to end in the fall, proves successful, Silvestre said. 

The Mountain View Internet company has announced collaborative arrangements with the Cleveland Clinic and other providers. Partners previously announced by Microsoft, which is based in Washington, include the Mayo Clinic in Minnesota.

Virtual 3-D human body developed in India

A virtual three-dimension human body capable of replacing cadavers in surgical studies has been developed by a medical graduate in Kerala.

The software, titled ‘3-D Indian,’ developed by Dr Jerome Kalister, has been referred to the Medical Council of India (MCI) for tests and approval.

The software could help surgeons to perform robotic surgery on the brain, heart and liver, pinpointing the precise location of nerves and organ parts.

“The important thing is that cadavers cannot be reused whereas surgical methods can always be learnt through the 3-D virtual body,” Jerome said.

Many uses which cannot be performed on a real body could be used in the 3-D structure to identify the relative orientation, shape, position and texture of the human body with the plenty of options available in the software, he said.

The only objection being raised against the software was that students would not get a ‘feel’ of the human body, but Jerome said: “Skill is not developed by doing cadavers. I do not think students, teachers or anatomists are benefited by the feel.”

The software could also be marketed in certain countries where cadavers were not allowed for medical studies, he said. 

InterComponentWare establishes ICW labs

InterComponentWare (ICW) announced today the formation of ICW Labs, a Silicon Valley based R&D organisation focused on deepening ICW’s use of leading technology as part of its eHealth solutions. ICW Labs will be headed by Thomas Odenwald, veteran SAP technology leader and visionary.

The new ICW Lab is chartered with expanding the ICW eHealth solution set, which delivers fully interoperable, secure and reliable communication of medical data and associated informatio

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