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EU awards Health -eLife as project of the month
The European Union awarded project of the month status to the Health-eLife project, which aims to promote the deployment of network-based services across Europe.

The project supported by the EU eTen initiative, uses doc@HOME technology, from UK-based telehealth services firm Docobo, that enables health providers to manage patients with terminal diseases in their own homes, initially for heart disease, respiratory disease and diabetes. The system provides patient information in a format compliant to HL7 messaging standards and is therefore compatible with current developments in Electronic Patient Record and existing primary and secondary care healthcare computing systems. The system works by staff keeping track of their patient’s progress and sending them messages when they need to communicate with their patients.

In this project, two of the products of Docobo, viz., the HealthHUB handheld patient monitoring device, and the web-based doc@HOME system are being used. The two products are designed to work together in helping clinicians and nurses monitor the health status of their patients, without having to hospitalise these patients, since with these devices authorised general practitioners, clini-cians and nurses can access their patient information at any time and from any location, using their secure access codes.

EU eTen spokesperson said, “The focus of Health-eLife is the exploration of implementation requirements for the deployment of the new doc@HOME Tele-Health service and the preparation of a business plan to attract investors and formalise deployment.”

e-Health records gets a push by the US government
Sate governments in the United States are promoting the use of electronic health records in order to give a boost to the use of information technology in the field of medicine so that doctors statewide can have access to patient records. Already, these governments have started organising task forces of hospitals, doctors, insurers and other groups to develop plans for such regional systems.

Federal government’s call in 2004 to develop electronic patient records throughout the United States has led to many state governments taking up e-Health records initiative. 38 states are now participating in statewide or community discussions, while 21 of them are leading the coordination of efforts.

However, most of such endeavours are in the initial stage, with only plans for a technology system being ready. The implementation of these plans will take time, money and effort. “The dollars continue to be the major limiting factor,” said Dr. Kenneth W. Kizer, chairman and chief executive of the Medsphere Systems Corporation, a California health information technology company that sells electronic health records using an open-source platform, known as OpenVista. Many of the nation’s hospitals do not even have the money to bring the systems to their own institutions, he said. At the same time, health experts and officials say that allowing hospitals to choose their own programme would present a major challenge in creating a seamless statewide system. If a state is to capture economic benefits of electronic health records — including reductions in medical errors and duplication of tests — doctors treating patients will need access to patients’ records no matter where the patient approaches.

Common IT system for patient records in Singapore
A programme to help general practitioners manage patient health records and r

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