Healthcare IT systems need more intelligence to cope with medical device
2 October 2006
Cambridge, England. Healthcare providers will need more intelligence in
their core IT systems to cope with the data received from the increasing
number of wireless diagnostic and monitoring devices. That is the one
of the conclusions of a report recently published by Cambridge-based
analysts Wireless Healthcare.
The report sees manufacturers continuing to push wireless medical devices
into the consumer electronics market. Wireless Healthcare acknowledges that
this will help move care to the edge of the healthcare network, yielding
cost savings and delivering services to patients currently overlooked by
incumbent providers. However, it also warns that without intelligent
software applications to handle data collected from wireless monitoring
devices, clinicians will become overloaded and patients' expectations of the
system will not be met.
As Peter Kruger, Senior Analyst with Wireless Healthcare points out.
"This is rather like an online banking service without software to analyse a
customer's loan application. It is not difficult to imagine what would
happen if every time an online customer put in a request for a loan it had
to be read and approved by a manager."
The report identifies a number of key intelligent software components
that are currently under development, but casts doubt on whether these will
fit with the IT infrastructure being installed by major healthcare providers
such as England's NHS National Programme for IT. The three components are:
analytical engines, diagnostic tools, and disease-monitoring software.
Wireless Healthcare sees these components as complicated and expensive to
build using the 'big bang' approach to healthcare IT. The report found that
most applications are being developed as part of small-scale initiatives —
even where large IT vendors are involved.
Wireless Healthcare sees some of these intelligent healthcare
applications supporting services that expand outside of the incumbent
healthcare provider 's domain. As Kruger points out "This could lead to a
number of integration issues down the line. Over and above technical
considerations, clinicians may feel their jobs are under threat and that
healthcare services are being privatised by the back door."
The report "Wireless Based Remote Monitoring And Diagnostics", is