Posting in Healthcare
By digitizing the healthcare history of its athletes, Team USA hopes to speed diagnosis and treatment.
Team USA can cross one big task off its list for the London Olympics games and forthcoming events: finding a place to store thousands of pallets with boxes of paper medical records for its athletes. And then paying to transport all the records to that location.
That's because the U.S. Olympics Committee (USOC) is working with GE Healthcare IT and Performance Solutions to convert those records into an extensive electronic medical records system that will support the care of the more than 700 athletes who will compete in the London 2012 Olympic and Paralympic Games. Information for the volunteers who support the USOC is also being added over time.
Over the past three months, the USOC and GE Healthcare have been populating the system with current medical information for athletes who are expected to compete in London. While all of the legacy records aren't being added immediately because of the sheer magnitude of that data migration effort, any athlete who has suffered a recent injury is having that information included. The system will also include current laboratory and training results that could have a bearing on treatment during the games.
All of this information can be accessed both by the USOC medical staff and by the athletes themselves, according to the USOC and GE.
Dr. Bill Moreau, the USOC managing director of sports medicine, said that the electronic system is far more convenient than the existing paper trail the USOC doctors use. It will allow specialists to share images and diagnostics results more easily, which can help speed diagnosis and treatment. His team is working on customized forms that will allow it to collect far more details information than in the past, Moreau said.
The fact that the system can be accessed through an Internet portal -- from anywhere around the world where there is connectivity -- gives U.S. Women's National Team player Alex Morgan a sense of "ease." She said it has been a challenge in the past to gain access to records or updated health information. Long after the London games, the GE solution will help provide Morgan with secure access to her information regardless of where she is training or competing.
Jan De Witte, president and CEO of GE Healthcare IT and Performance Solutions, said the EMR solution being used by the USOC is based on the GE Centricity Practice Solution, which includes applications for records-keeping and practice management.
Benefits of the electronic system will include support for more collaborative diagnosis and analytics that will allow doctors to pinpoint trends and gain more insight into how various health factors affect athlete's performance, De Witte said.
The system supports the range of equipment that GE already provides to the USOC through its long-term sponsorship of the USOC, which extends through 2020. The software integrates with the GE diagnostic imaging systems used in U.S. Olympic Training Centers, including MRI, X-ray and ultrasound technologies.
(Photo courtesy of GE Healthcare)
May 24, 2012
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I really like the idea of having a one-place goto for holding ALL of my medical history and records. I travel (by choice as an RV-er) and find that visits to Docs across the country make it difficult to keep the records properly gathered and organised. BUT with the well documented hacks into some credit services, governmental facilities and the like by whatever group that desires to hack (whether for simple 'look-at-me' credit or malicious intent)... THESE are the things that keep me from placing medical history in the hands of an electronic company. Other issues of concern...  SEVERELY limiting access by an insurance company (denial of service claims due to some reason they may or may not claim),  COST of the providing the electronic service, and  will a cloud based service be available when access is required for the patient (that is long term service - will the company still be in business, -or- will the internet provider be online at the time of need). IF the patient were to obtain and carry the electronic records on a flash drive than that may prove to be a safer way to limit hacking, access and other concerns. However, this makes the records available TO the patient which I have found many Doctors to shy away from - with some legitimate concerns about the patient performing self-diagnosis. Use of a flash drive record would make available all records to any Doctor in any location (as long as you carry the flash with you). Records for related services such as dental, physical and occupational therapy, ER or 'immediate-care' facility visits (bone breaks, eye injuries, etc), and pharmaceuticals could all be placed onto the flash. Trouble is getting any of these facilities to actually place them onto a flash FOR the patient to carry out with them. Anyway... my $0.02 what's yours ??
Personally, I think it's a tradeoff. I've had more trouble with paper-based breaches of my privacy and personal information than I have had with anything electronic. I also feel like a flash drive would be difficult to keep updated.