January 23, 2007 11:19 AM PST

IBM's answer to medical mashup: A search engine

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IBM has created a medical records search engine that, if implemented, would produce a mashup of an individual's records from hospitals, pharmacies, laboratories and physicians.

The company unveiled the Nationwide Health Information Network (NHIN) on Tuesday to the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. IBM had a one-year contract with the agency to develop a prototype network that would allow standards-based medical records systems to communicate with one another. The company is demonstrating the system at the Third Nationwide Health Information Network Forum this week in Washington, D.C.

In 2005, President Bush mandated that digital health records be available for use by 2014. Several groups developing technologies to that end have been caught between providing shared time- and cost-effective medical data on individual patients and populations, while protecting patients' privacy.

The IBM project differs from other medical records management systems in development in that it is a communications network among various medical database systems, rather than a centralized database, according to Tom Romeo, the director of federal health care at IBM's Global Business Services.

IBM's prototype network searches medical databases connected to it for patient information by name, date of birth and address. Security for the system is based on HIPAA (Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act) standards, according to Romeo, and the data is only imported for view if the system finds an exact match.

The system, which is currently being tested at seven hospitals and 24 physicians' offices, requires patient authorization for a search to be performed. The data is only available for a one-time view at the time of search, remaining on the networks of the hospitals' and physicians' systems where it was originally stored. The system is software and hardware "agnostic," according to IBM, and "adheres to open standards" so that different systems can connect through it.

NHIN could also allow government regulatory agencies such as the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention access to data--in which patients' identities would be kept secret--for studying medical trends, according to Romeo.

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mashup, IBM Corp., patient, HIPAA, physician

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Nice approach
It is a nice approach and I heard that IBM has launched social networking tool called Lotus Connections. They should like the two to create a powerful application in this space.

Please read my review of currently available health-based social networking and information sites here: <a class="jive-link-external" href="http://www.technacular.com/category/healthcare/" target="_newWindow">http://www.technacular.com/category/healthcare/</a>
Posted by vikas_is (1 comment )
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This IBM's answer to "medical mashup"...
... looks like a great idea. How about extending this (if one does not already exists) to the "global business intelligence" spectrum!
Posted by Commander_Spock (3123 comments )
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Re: A "global business intelligence" mashup...
... that can show just "How Strong The Union" is? Very Strong" one should think; at least, in a certain industrial sector (banking) from the rocking "Christmas" Bonuses!
Posted by Commander_Spock (3123 comments )
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IBM's Answer
IBM's credibility on ANYTHING dealing with medical issues, went out the window when they severly decreased their retirees benefits. IBM is much better at creating HUGE, retirement packages for their board members and CEO's (Gerstner's was worth $250 million)than at rewarding the efforts of the people who actually made them famous.
Posted by bob1ole (1 comment )
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