Voice control solutions for better dental care

TietoEnator, one of the largest IT services providers in Europe,specializes in consulting, developing and hosting its customers’ business operations in the digital economy. The company offers state-of-the-art ICT solutions and IT services for healthcare and welfare service providers. Now this Nordic IT giant has developed a voice control solution for recording dental findings in an electronic patient data record. The development work was carried out in cooperation with three Finnish joint municipal authorities, providing primary healthcare services. The purpose of voice control is to promote the efficiency and quality of oral healthcare.

“For dental professionals working alone, voice control means greater efficiency, more accurate information and improved hygiene at the workplace, as they can record their findings via microphone during the actual dental examination. The dentist or hygienist no longer needs to make initial notes on paper or move back and forth between the computer and the customer,” says Jouko Kallio, Chief Dentist at the joint municipal authority for primary care in the Kaarina-Piikki� region.

The basic idea of voice control is to imitate, with vocal commands, the use of a mouse and keypad and to record any findings in the graphical dental picture, which is included in the patient records, in the Effica system. The application is based on the Speech Magic and Speed SDK solutions by Philips.

Results of a pilot project have shown that the application increases the efficiency of dental professionals working alone, as it omits the need for time-consuming manual note-taking and recording. This also improves the quality of the treatment, as it reduces the room for errors. The more efficient workflow also results in significant cost savings and better use of manpower.

Siemens takes ehealthcare to the Generation NeXt

Siemens Medical Solutions, one of the world’s largest suppliers to the healthcare industry, has introduced ‘Generation NeXt’- which comprises two innovative ultrasound systems. They have the potential to give a big impetus to e-Health. The ultrasound systems, named as Acuson X300 and Acuson Antares, were both unveiled at a recent cardiology congress.

The Acuson X300, the latest member of the new Siemens X Class of Ultrasound systems, is an ultra-compact, performance-oriented system, which is uniquely positioned to become the go-to system in busy settings such as emergency rooms. With an operator-friendly console that helps to reduce arm and hand movement, and its small, lightweight transducers, the X300 takes the pain and pressure out of routine scanning. A flat panel display, height adjustable control panel and its light weight design enables a comfortable scanning position for the user, even in tight exam spaces such as the patient’s bedside. The system’s TGO (tissue grayscale optimization) technology delivers consistent image quality, while advanced Hanafy lens transducers enable improved image uniformity when scanning technically difficult-to-image patients.

With the introduction of shared service capabilities to the Acuson Antares ultrasound system, the benefits of a revolutionary design as well as the outstanding image quality and versatility will now also be available to the cardiologist. The Antares system, premium edition, 5.0 release is equipped with a high-resolution 19-inch flat panel display, mounted on an articulating arm for optimal viewing position. Other ergonomic design features include the natural and extended reach zone concept that places controls and peripheral devices, so that they are easily accessible allowing for more comfortable patient exams, and improved examination and departmental workflow.

NHC, Singapore goes into e-Health mode in a big way

Headquartered in Mortsel, Belgium, Agfa HealthCare is a leading name in healthcare across the globe. On 6 December 2006, it has signed a contract with National Heart Centre(NHC) of Singapore, the national referral centre for cardiovascular diseases, and part of the Singapore Health Services (SingHealth) public healthcare cluster. NHC provides comprehensive preventive, diagnostic, therapeutic and rehabilitative cardiac services to local and overseas patients.

NHC will implement the Agfa HealthCare solution to manage adult cardiac catheterisation, echocardiology, and nuclear and vascular studies. The installation will include Agfa Heartlab Cardiovascular solution, a web-based cardiovascular information system comprised of image management, structured reporting and a web-based portal, and will also include a web-based scheduling module and the Heartlab clinical research tool for statistical data mining and reporting.

“SingHealth is extremely excited about the installation of the Agfa Heartlab Cardiovascular solution,” said Dr. Soo Teik Lim, Senior Consultant Cardiologist at NHC. “Agfa HealthCare’s solution will significantly enhance clinical workflow, resulting in a much improved working environment, that will ultimately increase the quality of patient care,” he added.

A phased implementation is expected to be completed by June 2007. When fully installed, the Agfa HealthCare solution will manage cardiology images and information, and create cardiology reports for more than 80,000 exams.

“Agfa HealthCare continues to build global momentum in the area of cardiology,” said Reid Losee, Global Cardiovascular Business Director for Agfa HealthCare. “We are pleased to add NHC to the list of world-class healthcare facilities that have chosen the Agfa HealthCare solution for cardiology image and information management,” he pointed out.

An Xpert’s help

The US-based Thomson Corporation, a global leader in providing essential electronic workflow solutions to business and professional customers, has recently announced the launch of Thomson Clinical Xpert� for PDAs(Personal Digital Assistants) . A powerful new medical reference and decision-support tool, Thomson Clinical Xpert puts authoritative drug, disease and laboratory information instantly into the hands of physicians and other prescribers, nurses, pharmacists, and clinical trainees, thereby facilitating them to make important decisions at the point of care, and reducing the chances of medical errors.

The launch of this new application, which will help address the quality and safety issues such as drug interactions, comes at a time when medical errors and patient safety continue to be a global concern and prove detrimental to more than 1.5 million patients a year. Whether in the hospital or a medical office, Thomson Clinical Xpert enhances healthcare professionals’ ability to make the right decisions quickly, helping to avoid errors and improve the qualityof care.

Dr. Jerry Osheroff, Chief Clinical Informatics Officer at Thomson and lead author of the American Medical Informatics Association Roadmap for National Action on Clinical Decision Support, said Thomson Clinical Xpert will be a useful tool in efforts to improve the safety and quality of healthcare. “We know that clinicians are committed to eliminating errors and ensuring the most effective care for their patients,” he said. “Thomson Clinical Xpert improves point-of-care access to consistent, authoritative medical knowledge for all those who play a direct role in patient care, reducing the risk of medical errors. The ultimate beneficiary is, of course, the patient,” Osheroff added.

Thomson Clinical Xpert features premium content from Thomson Micromedex, one of the most respected providers of evidence-based clinical information. It also features drug interaction tools, convenient medical calculators and ‘Xpert Alerts’� electronic advisories regarding key drug changes or treatment studies delivered directly to users’ PDA, desktop or PDR net account.

Experienced physicians, pharmacists, toxicologists, nurses and other healthcare professionals at Micromedex has developed and reviewed Thomson Clinical Xpert content, giving clinicians information of unparalleled authority and accuracy, including: A searchable database of more than 4,000 drugs with comprehensive indications, dosage and interactions information; details on more than 400 laboratory tests and their interpretations; toxicology reports on more than 200 of the most common poisons and drug overdoses;a comprehensive disease database that offers differential diagnoses,therapeutics and evidence-based recommendation ratings; detailed information about alternative medicines.

IBM partners a patient-friendly healthcare model

Geisinger Health System, one of the major fully integrated healthcare providers in the USA, serving more than two million residents throughout central and northeastern Pennsylvania, is one of the leading players in the US’ electronic health records movement. Recently the organization entered upon a strategic partnership with IBM, with an objective to improve patient outcomes, and provide more personalized care and information that will facilitate patients and their doctors to make better and smarter decisions.

As part of the agreement, Geisinger Health System and IBM will collaborate to design and implement a first-of-its-kind Clinical Decision Intelligence System (CDIS) that leverages the health system’s rich reservoir of clinical data. The CDIS, which employs open standard based technology, will serve as the foundation for Geisinger’s integrated clinical, financial, operational, genomic and other medical data in a format that allows for rapid analysis and reporting of vital insights from a plethora of patient encounters.

Besides, the CDIS will create an environment that will enable physicians and medical researchers at Geisinger to identify important clinical trends, facilitate to ensure that patients receive all recommended care, support clinical trials, identify best practices and perform innovative health services research.

As part of the relationship, Geisinger will also collaborate with the IBM Research Healthcare and Life Sciences Institute on new projects that may involve innovative distribution channels in retail healthcare; remote patient monitoring; interoperable patient centric networks and translational research.

“Healthcare is at a critical juncture and innovation will play a major role in its transformation,” said Dan Pelino, General Manager, IBM Global Healthcare and Life Sciences. “By combining the technical and business expertise ofIBM with Geisinger’s unique clinical and operational expertise, we have the potential to create a leading, patient centric care approach for the broader healthcare market,” he added.

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Related January 2007