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Efficient Giving

The Bureau of Labor Statistics recently reported that US manufacturing productivity’s average annual rate of growth (AARG) from 2007 to 2010 is 2.0%. In addition, the report cited that from Jan 1972 to August 2010, the number of people employed in US manufacturing jobs fell from 17,500,000 to 11,500,000 while manufacturing value rose 270%.

Upon reading these statistics, I began to reflect on how technology has radically changed every facet of how we live, work, and connect with each other. I began to ponder, if we could measure and plot our country’s “compassion curve” against the Information Age (circa 1975 – present) would it reflect the same growth and efficiency gains that have been realized by our manufacturing sector? Could we conclude that our society has become increasingly more insensitive and greedy, or more compassionate and giving? Read More »

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Beyond Meaningful Use… I Have a New Meaningful Use EMR, Now What?

After implementing electronic health records and operating on meaningful use, you may ask yourself – ‘now what’?

Now that your hospital or medical practice has an EMR, you are in a unique situation to utilize this resource for several other research capabilities beyond quality reporting. EMRs provide an outlet to access rich clinical data for research use, along with several other secondary uses. They can provide a platform for clinical recruitment, along with recently being recommended to use to document extreme situations, evaluating devices and drugs to provide early information helping to identify side effects that may have been missed during clinical trials.

What are additional secondary uses for EMRs that you have seen in your medical practice places and hospitals? Please share below and feel free to read more on this topic.

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Future of the Emergency Department: Views from Australia & New Zealand – Part I

Welcome to the first in a series of posts from the Cisco Australia and New Zealand (ANZ) healthcare team.

We’ll be providing regular news and insights from the region covering healthcare issues as well as the role of technology in supporting them.

This is the first of a two part video series on the future of the emergency department.

At a Digital Hospital Design conference hosted by Health Informatics Society of Australia (HISA) and chaired by Brendan Lovelock, head of the healthcare practice for Cisco ANZ,  industry spokespeople and medical specialists shared their views on how they envisaged the emergency department in the future.  Watch our video summary on what they said.

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Healthcare Technology in the 21st Century

By Jason Kohn, Contributing Columnist

Is the cloud the cure for what ails you? It could be, if service providers and telehealth device manufacturers have anything to say about it.

Home healthcare monitoring technologies have become big news in the last few years, and are poised to become even bigger. According to a recent Berg Insight report, remote health monitoring of chronic diseases generated €7.6 billion ($10.01 billion USD) globally in 2010, and is growing at 9 percent each year. MarketResearch.com projects the market for telehealth monitoring equipment alone to reach $3.1 billion by 2017.

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Are your Wireless Medical Devices up to the Coexistence challenge?

An interesting article titled “Wireless Medical Device Coexistence” (found here) was passed my way recently.  The article made a case that by creating a formalized testing strategy the risks associated with the coexistence of wireless technologies could be reduced resulting in a safe and effective wireless medical device. After reading it – I began to consider the problems we all face with wireless device coexistence and began to ask myself if such testing would improve the coexistence challenge.

Many medical devices today include wireless interfaces that utilize 802.11, Bluetooth or even ZigBee all within the ISM (Industrial, Scientific and Medical) band.  The criticality of such connectivity varies widely across the various medical device types that exist.  The most critical of these devices require continuous wireless connectivity with a “zero or near zero” packet loss factor.

The paper points out that the IEC-60601-1-2 is the standard used for EMC (Electromagnetic Compatibility) testing of medical devices, but the standard does not include testing recommendations to determine the conditions necessary to maintain a wireless connection when subject to interference.  Now some of you Biomedical and Clinical Engineers might point to the ISO-14971:2007 standard, but this is focused on identifying the risks during the product lifecycle and does not specifically address the RF aspects.

So I wonder, if the industry created a testing standard for medical device coexistence (in the ISM band), would this advance our cause and allow more of us to get a better night sleep?  The article provides some examples of a suggested testing strategy (you can read it here), and I won’t debate the finer points but have to ask if this would result in a safer and more effective medical device. Read More »

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