Healthcare Technology Magazine

Siemens Healthcare Limited Expands Consolidation With New Assays

Siemens Healthcare Limited has announced the launch of a range of new assays to be used on ADVIA Centaur® and IMMULITE® XPi 2000 systems. The range includes anti-CCP used as an aid in the evaluation of Rheumatoid Arthritis (RA) and the first automated quantitative thyroid stimulating immunoglobulin (TSI) assay used in the diagnosis of Graves' disease.

The ADVIA Centaur anti-CCP assay is for use in the semi-quantitative determination of the IgG class of autoantibodies specific to cyclic citrullinated peptide (CCP) in human serum and plasma, aiding with the diagnosis of RA. The assay provides 96% specificity for an early accurate diagnosis of RA, ensuring improved patient care by allowing timely intervention and treatment.

The Siemens IMMULITE 2000 XPi thyroid stimulating immunoglobulin (TSI) assay specifically detects thyroid stimulating antibodies, which are the hallmark of Graves' disease, unlike the commonly used TRAb assay which detects both stimulating and blocking antibodies. This makes the assay highly specific, to aid in the disease's diagnosis. With a clinical sensitivity and specificity of 98.3% and 99.7% respectively, it ensures laboratories can provide a fast, easy and specific diagnosis.

Allan Thompson, Product Manager, Immunoassay at Siemens Healthcare Limited states, "The addition of the new assays to our extensive range will help laboratory staff integrate testing into routine workflow, reducing the need for send-away testing. This enables laboratories to reduce operational costs and time, as well as becoming more productive and efficient. We will continue to evolve our portfolio of assays in line with customer demands and expectations."

Healthcare Limited is also set to launch a further range of assays in the future. These will include the ADVIA Centaur holo-TC assay for improved resolution of vitamin B12 deficiency. The holo-TC assay, (also known as "Active B12"), measures the cobalamin attached to the carrier protein transcobalamin for a more accurate vitamin B12 deficiency diagnosis and better resolution of "grey zone" B12 results. In addition,an automated galectin-3 assay will be developed on the ADVIA Centaur to aid in the diagnosis and prognosis of patients with chronic heart failure. ADVIA Centaur PAPP-A and Free Beta hCG will be launched for early Down Syndrome screening in the first trimester, as well as Beta-trace Protein on the BN™ II or BN ProSpec® analysers a new biomarker for CSF leakage and residual renal function.

Verizon Enables Internet Of Things, Cloud And Big Data For Healthcare Providers

Verizon Enterprise Solutions recently forecasted that predictive analytics, cloud services and connected devices will be the key technology trends to watch in 2015, and one industry that stands to benefit greatly from these technologies is healthcare, especially as it relates to the evolving patient-centric care models.

In the current healthcare model, patients meet with care providers in care facilities, where doctors and technicians diagnose their illnesses and prescribe treatments using dated or aging collection tools. Patients with more severe or chronic conditions need to visit their provider more often, so their physician can track treatment progress and identify healthcare patterns.

What if care providers could collect patient health data remotely and modify treatments in real-time? How vastly would this scenario improve patient care? The good news is that the healthcare industry is quickly entering a technological era in which remote data collection and analytics are now a reality.

Connected medical devices, such as wireless glucose monitors, can regularly measure a diabetic patient’s blood-sugar levels and paired with data from insulin pumps can show the effectiveness of the insulin regimen. The care provider can modify the treatment accordingly, limiting the times the patient needs to visit the healthcare facility.

Similar connected tools can be used to diagnose diabetes, potentially reducing the need for extensive on-premises blood work. By analyzing the massive data sets produced and collected from patients outfitted with wearables or connected devices, care providers can improve the foundational research models used to identify illnesses. That additional data collected can feed predictive and analytics engines, helping pinpoint the factors that lead to certain conditions.

At the center of these new research and care models is an expandable computing core that handles the huge data and processing demands generated by predictive analytics, the transition to the cloud and the monetization of the Internet of Things (IoT). These technologies continue to evolve independently, but it is the combination of all three that could revolutionize healthcare.

GE Healthcare Focuses On Improved Workflow

Long wait times, disorganized data, slow results and anxiety before a procedure. Often, these pain points muddle the healthcare process for clinicians and patients. At the Radiological Society of North America (#RSNA14) annual meeting, GE Healthcare (NYSE: GE) has unveiled new technologies to address these issues – enabling more accurate patient data sharing and diagnosis; enhancing workflow and productivity for the clinician; and making the patient experience faster and more comfortable.

New cross-enterprise capabilities to improve workflow, connectivity, productivity

New imaging workflow functionality allows healthcare providers to access consolidated patient histories while sharing workloads across hospitals. Adoption of GE Healthcare's new web-based Cross-Enterprise Reporting1 capability provides clinicians with tools like voice recognition while giving them the ability to make a diagnosis anywhere with internet access. The new Cross-Enterprise Display capability gives radiologists a consolidated view of a patient's medical history – including all relevant prior images – to help make a more informed diagnosis. When combined, these new capabilities help to improve patient care by helping to reduce duplicate scans and create more collaborative care networks.

Ultrasound advancements inspired by clinicians for clinicians

GE Healthcare is showcasing clinician-inspired upgrades to its acclaimed LOGIQ E9 and LOGIQ S7 ultrasound systems that assist with everyday throughput and imaging challenges. These upgrades include improved image quality, new transducers and automated tools that help enhance exam productivity and speed with new design features that can help image efficiently and comfortably.

"We asked clinicians who use these technologies every day to tell us what they need, and we designed upgrades that are cost-effective and that give them more time, productivity and clinical confidence," said Brian McEathron, general manager of General Imaging Ultrasound for GE Healthcare. "These upgrades put GE's latest imaging technology in their hands without requiring a system replacement." Read more about these upgrades at

Optima XR646: Simplifying and enhancing the X-ray exam

GE Healthcare's latest digital radiography system, the Optima* XR646 handles larger patients like never before. The rugged table can lift patients up to 705 pounds with unlimited, or off-access, capacity. It moves in eight different directions and drops as low as 50 centimeters off the floor for easy access. Advanced features such as auto-tracking capability and auto image paste2 at the wallstand, a 510(k) pending advanced application, help increase productivity. The new touch-screen monitor produces images in less than three seconds allowing technologists to deliver fast results.

"The Optima XR646 is designed to simplify, shorten and improve ease of use for X-ray technologists during every step of an exam," said Michelle Edler, general manager of radiology and fluoroscopy for GE's Detection & Guidance Solutions business. "In addition to improving the user experience, the Optima XR646 helps overcome the daily imaging challenges to give clinicians the capability and confidence needed to make a quick and accurate diagnosis."

Discovery XR656 Plus advances radiographic clinical capabilities

GE Healthcare helps increase clinical confidence now and in the future with the new Discovery* XR656 Plus, a premium digital radiographic system equipped with advanced applications VolumeRAD* and Dual Energy. These clinical applications have gained widespread global acceptance with 45 published clinical papers and can be used for lung nodule detection in the United States.

A fully automated overhead tube positioning and tracking system speeds up workflow over traditional manual tracking. Automated image pasting software available at the wallstand or table offers additional productivity. A new bariatric table capable of handling patients up to 705 pounds moves in multiple directions for great flexibility in imaging patients.

The Optima XR646 and Discovery XR656 Plus are powered by GE Healthcare's durable next-generation FlashPad* wireless detector designed to meet clinical x-ray needs without compromise.

1Cross-Enterprise Reporting capability is currently available in all markets except for the U.S. and Canada 2Auto Image Paste for Optima XR646 is 510(k) pending at the U.S. FDA. Not available for sale in the U.S.

Open Source Health Announces openEMR Collaboration With More Then 50,000 Annual Downloads To Clinics In 200 Countries

Open Source Health Inc. is pleased to announce it has entered into an agreement with Medical Information Integration LLC, of Portland, Oregon, USA to add Open Source Health's technology for Integrative and Preventive medicine to their advanced openEMR platform making it the first of its kind globally. This will allow the thousands of clinics and practitioners serving millions of patients in over 200 countries to expand their practice from disease management to Integrative and Preventive Medicine.

"One of the barriers holding back the acceleration of integrative and preventive medicine is the Electronic Health Record platforms available in the USA and around the world", states Sonya Satveit, Founder and CEO of Open Source Health Inc. "Empowered Patients that want to take control of their health through an integrative and preventive approach yet have no systems support, this is holding back the adoption".

The EMR platform (known as the Electronic Medical Record or Electronic Health Record) is used to manage the patient's health record and provide medical practice management including back office functions such as insurance billing, provider calendar and prescription issuance. The USA, India Indonesia, Kenya and Mexico represent the top five countries utilizing the openEMR platform.

OSH is offering it's base functionality for integrative and preventive health to the open source community allowing the global dissemination to over 200 counties. Then, OSH will offer the thousands of practitioners and clinics the option to add OSH's proprietary Artificial & Learning technology, which acts a plugin to the openEMR platform, dramatically reducing the clinic's operating costs and increasing revenues as they expand their healthcare programs. OSH will charge a fee to the provider's for the use of the OSH proprietary technology as healthcare is delivered over the cloud.

Electronic Medical Records Market (EMR) to See 7%+ CAGR in Europe, North America and Asia adds electronic medical record (EMR) market research reports for Europe, North America and Asia regions to its store. The electronic medical record market in North America is considered as the largest market, which is poised to grow at a CAGR of 7.96% from 2012 to 2018. The European electronic medical market is considered to be the second largest market in this segment and it is anticipated to grow at a CAGR of 7.15%.

The Asian electronic medical record market is the third largest market, preceded by North America and Europe, and it is projected to grow at a CAGR of 7.88% from 2012 to 2018. The European electric medical record market report defines and segments the concerned market, with appropriate analysis and forecast of revenue. It also helps in identifying market trends and recent market developments.

The healthcare industry in Europe is considered to be one of the biggest industrial sectors, which is expected to boom further owing to the recent technological advancements taking place in the medical field. Increased ageing population in Europe has fueled the demand of adopting such highly efficient technically devices to deliver utmost level of patient care and better operability in hospitals as well as clinics.

Countries that have contributed to this demand in the European region are U.K., Germany, France, the Netherlands, and Spain. In the recent times, it has been observed that there is huge disparity among sophisticated IT equipments offered by healthcare providers. This fierce competition among top healthcare companies has significantly led to driving the market growth of electronic medical record in Europe.

Various other factors, such as implementation of EMR systems, increasing mergers and acquisitions among companies dealing with EMR's, and the overall demand to modernize healthcare IT facilities have collaboratively helped in progressing the growth of EMR market in Europe. Furthermore, the need to have rapid access to confidential patient information has also triggered the market growth in countries, especially in U.K. 

The European EMR market is segmented by component, deployment, application, end-user, product, and geography. On the basis of components, the European Electronic Medical Record (EMR) market is segmented as hardware, service and software. On the basis of deployments, the market is classified into on-premise, web-based, and cloud-based.



Will Telemedicine Transform Healthcare In 2015?

Healthcare professionals are looking toward 2015 with predictions for the future of healthcare. With advances in healthcare that include telemedicine, telehealth, and mHealth options, medical professionals are taking note of the paradigm shift in healthcare; while others have embraced the future and jumped right into telemedicine. Now, more and more frequently, patients are meeting with their doctors via online video consultations, transforming the ease and accessibility of healthcare.

"Throughout the patient population, the number of individuals seeking and adopting ways to take their healthcare out of the doctor's office and into their homes is on the rise," says Daniel Gilbert, president and CEO of CloudVisit Telemedicine. "Providers' ability to deliver services remotely is a strategic asset for any medical practice wishing to increase patient engagement. It's the basis for expanding your organization's reach and growing your patient population."

CloudVisit Telemedicine: Easy and Convenient

With the availability of today's technology, telemedicine offers ease of communication to fill in the gaps in patient care, continue care without the hassle of getting to the office, or to be available for immediate, but not emergency, care. Another facet of telemedicine is convenience -- patients find that virtual sessions with their providers are simply less time consuming and stressful and more enjoyable.

CloudVisit offers a simple process to get started using telemedicine. With a variety of options, CloudVisit has a telemedicine solution to suit the needs of any provider. Whether you are an individual provider looking to test out the telemedicine waters, or a group that is ready to jump in with all the telemedicine tools available, including health monitoring devices, CloudVisit Connect or CloudVisit Private Practice will give you all that you need to kick start your online practice.

Growing your telemedicine practice can be as easy as asking your patients to take advantage of your teleheath offerings. The provider-patient bond is based on trust; studies show that patients invited by their physician to experience the practice's telemedicine options, usage in the practice goes up quickly.

"It's encouraging to review the statistics that support the safety, efficacy and adoption of telemedicine," says Gilbert. "We look forward to working with our current clients and new providers who seek ways to join the telemedicine movement. We will continue to be a leader and innovator in providing safe, secure telemedicine modalities that improve patients' access to healthcare and overall quality of life."

New Ultrasound Technology Helps Clinicians Instantly Assess Body Tissue That May Be Diseased

At the Radiological Society of North America (#RSNA14) annual meeting, GE Healthcare (NYSE: GE) announced FDA clearance for a new software enhancement for its acclaimed LOGIQ E9 ultrasound system called Shear Wave elastography. The new expert tool instantaneously generates a precise, quantifiable measure of tissue stiffness, providing clinicians with accurate and consistent data which may be used to identify underlying disease. Stiff tissue found during routine physical exams can be an early indication of disease and a gradual change in liver tissue stiffness can indicate the progression of liver fibrosis.

Shear Wave’s power to provide a quantifiable measure of tissue stiffness may help enable clinicians to assess disease in the liver, breast and other organs immediately. Previous strain elastography technology required clinicians to manually palpate a patient to identify stiff tissue and produced a measure of stiffness relative only to other tissue within the same patient’s body. GE Healthcare’s Shear Wave elastography uses acoustic energy from the ultrasound transducer to automatically and instantaneously produce a numeric measure of stiffness on an absolute scale.

“Giving physicians the ability to non-invasively measure and quantify tissue stiffness in a consistent way can help boost their productivity and clinical confidence and can be a valuable tool in the diagnosis and management of disease,” said Brian McEathron, general manager of General Imaging Ultrasound for GE Healthcare. “This expert tool for our LOGIQ E9 is among a series of upgrades we made by listening to users and designing cost effective upgrades to help address everyday imaging challenges.”

The technology measures the speed of the Shear Waves as they travel through tissue in the body. It instantly and continuously displays the results on a 2D real-time, color-coded ultrasound image, with a low speed corresponding to softer tissue and a high speed corresponding to stiffer tissue.

“Being able to instantaneously view a color-coded ultrasound image with numeric results for tissue stiffness during patient exams means more efficiency in how we assess and manage patients’ disease,” said Dr. John McGahan, a Sacramento-based interventional and diagnostic radiologist. “It also offers a less invasive method of staging liver fibrosis for the patient, which should give both clinicians and patients more confidence in the results.”

Liver fibrosis can result from various types of chronic damage to the liver and Cirrhosis, the end stage of fibrosis, affects millions of people worldwide. Liver fibrosis is currently assessed using needle biopsy, an invasive procedure that may not be conducive to repeat biopsies. Ultrasound Shear Wave elastography is a non-invasive, low cost, portable way to help physicians assess liver fibrosis that is suitable for use in a variety of clinical settings. The LOGIQ E9 enables Shear Wave elastography to be performed rapidly at the same time as an abdominal ultrasound exam.

GE Healthcare Life Sciences Licenses CRISPR Gene Engineering Technology Patents From Broad Institute

GE Healthcare Life Sciences (NYSE: GE) and the Broad Institute of MIT and Harvard have announced the signing of a non-exclusive license agreement granting GE Healthcare Life Sciences access to intellectual property held by the Broad Institute relating to the CRISPR-Cas9 gene engineering system for research purposes. The CRISPR-Cas9 system allows scientists to modify gene expression in order to gain insights vital to the understanding of disease.

“This agreement provides a strong foundation for new, differentiated gene editing products which harness the power of the CRISPR-Cas9 system, extending our existing RNAi and gene expression portfolio to encompass the broadest range of gene modulation technologies,” said Michael Deines, General Manager of Dharmacon, part of GE Healthcare Life Sciences.

Issi Rozen, Broad Institute Director of Strategic Alliances, commented “Consistent with the Broad’s mission to accelerate the understanding and treatment of disease, we are committed to empowering the global research community by making this technology broadly available to scientists for research around the world. Granting a non-exclusive license to GE Healthcare’s Dharmacon will help drive this availability.”

Eric Roman, General Manager of Research & Applied Markets, GE Healthcare Life Sciences added, “In line with the strategy outlined at the time of acquisition in March 2014, this license is a crucial step in our further development of Dharmacon’s added-value tools and technology offerings for the bioscience research community.”

The intellectual property license from the Broad Institute includes the first granted patent for the use of CRISPR technology in eukaryotic cells and is based on work described in Broad Institute core member Dr. Feng Zhang’s 2013 Science paper. In October 2014, GE Healthcare Life Sciences launched Dharmacon Edit-R Gene Engineering System, its CRISPR-Cas9-based platform for creating permanent and heritable gene knockouts in cells in one-to-two weeks versus the previous one-month timescale. The license granted by Broad will enable further platform development by incorporating the patented technologies and the launch of additional, complementary gene editing tools for the scientific community.

Dharmacon is a trademark of GE Healthcare companies.

The Procura Workforce Management Solutions Reduce Provider Costs and Enhance Scheduler Satisfaction

At the operational level, managing a large volume of home care operations can be compared to a "supply chain management" workflow that is well known in other industries such as manufacturing. The "demand" are the clients and patients in the community who need specific services that require specialized skillsets potentially combined with complex care delivery schedules.

The "supply" is the cadre of employees, contractors, and other business partners who have the required skills, with the particular capacities to deliver them as dictated by regulation, availability, and other factors which may include the observation that your employees may pick up shifts at hospitals or residential care facilities. Given we are a service oriented business, we can consider this concept to be a service chain management workflow. The provider managing this complex workforce needs to control the quality of the service, reduce travel costs, ensure that the appropriate documentation is prepared, and confirm that the services have been delivered in order to facilitate payment. Procura's Advanced Workforce Management system is designed to solve the needs of high volume businesses.

"Group Scheduling, Cluster and Shift-based Scheduling, tiered authorizations, cascading billing rules, Procura's Scheduling Genius™ rules-based search algorithms, Procura Mobile for Smart Phone™, the upcoming Procura mHealth™ enhancement called Smart Sync™, our Employee Portal, Offers and Acceptance workflow, and our referral inbox solutions are tailored to service chain management requirements. This is why organizations with ten million all the way up to quarter-billion dollar budgets and higher select Procura's solutions and have actively contributed their ideas to our roadmap. We take the paper out of the business so that you can focus on 'peoplework'," states Isaac Alexander, Chief Software Architect of the Procura Group of Companies.

Smaller organizations may be able to accomplish these things on paper and via the memory of their coordinating personnel. As the business begins to scale beyond an employee headcount of 300+ per location, and into the thousands for regional or corporate call center management models, the need to bring improved efficiencies through automated workforce service management is required.

"It's no secret that just over 25 years ago I was an evening and weekend supervisor at a home care agency that was growing and had hit the inflection point where paper-based management and software half-measures no longer worked," says Scott Overhill, CEO of the Procura Group of Companies. "When I came to work for Procura in 1993 you can surmise where my areas of focus were when we redesigned the Procura solution. Procura's use of automation in the 'front office' workflow is unparalleled for that reason."

Procura Mobile Releases Group Scheduling Solution for Supplemental and Shift-Based Staffing

Procura announced today that an existing capability of its popular smartphone application has been adapted to utilize its Shift-based Group Scheduling system to support supplemental staffing. Referred to in the health community as "Clusters" or "Building Designates", for the past thirty years home care providers have provided a more efficient way of delivering personal support services by reducing travel time and booking staff to one cluster for a defined shift.

The Procura Mobile solution permits employees to 'dovetail' services to multiple clients in a facility or any environment that has a large population of clients receiving care. The solution includes an access-driven function that keeps the shift open while permitting the employee to verify and document against the client services as they are delivered.

"Procura has been at the forefront of helping healthcare providers effectively manage services for over 15 years via our mobile application, our telephony-based IVR system and traditional paper-based methods which are rapidly being replaced by mobility," stated Scott Overhill, CEO of the Procura Group of Companies. "What we have done is operationalize the solution so that both the office and the field staff are 'in sync', providing a more efficient and effective scheduling and time and attendance capability."

The best part is that the supplemental staffing and the cluster care coordination model has been supported with no additional programming effort by Procura's development team. This is an excellent example of Procura's overarching design philosophy, which is to build a robust solution that anticipates a number of modes of operation that recognizes the complexity of operations where providers and their funding sources find compelling value in the drive towards efficiencies and automation.

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