Information technology  

Healthcare IT systems need more intelligence to cope with medical device data

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 available from 


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