Thursday, December 29, 2011

Webcam measures heartbeat and breathing

Philips Healthcare developed a technology, called Vital Signs, that utilizes a simple webcam to measure bodily functions like heartbeat and breathing. The only thing one has to do is to position him or herself for 10 to 30 seconds in front of the camera. Philips claims that the measurements are as accurate as traditional ways of measuring the same functions using sensors attached to the body.
This application is also available for the iPad using the built in camera.

Tuesday, December 20, 2011

FDA clears Mobile MIM for x-ray, radiation oncology

Available from the appstore for your iPad and FDA approved for specific use. Mobile MIM has received FDA 510(k) clearance for Mobile MIM 3.0 for diagnostic x-ray and ultrasound viewing, as well as radiation treatment plan review and approval.
FDA clears Mobile MIM for x-ray, radiation oncology

Friday, December 16, 2011

Playing video games makes better surgeons

Look at this feature on discussing that video games might make surgeons better at their jobs
In this feature it is stated that video gaming could be beneficial for minimally invasive surgery. They report that surgeons that play a minimum of 3 hours of computer games per week make 37% few errors and are 27% more faster than surgeons that never play computer games when performing a simulated surgical task.

Wednesday, December 14, 2011

Serious Gaming: Staying Alive

Available on the web now and free for anybody to do: staying alive. Staying alive is a serious game in 3D (you can even play it using 3D glasses) that instructs about what to do when somebody has a heart attack. The first level takes place in the office and the second level on the soccer field. In both cases somebody gets a heart attack and you have to act in the right way to help him stay alive. Very instructive and easy to use, scores can be shared through facebook.

NAO Next Gen : the new robot of Aldebaran Robotics

Incredible what they can do with robots nowadays. Imagine this one being perhaps a little bigger and used in healthcare to help disabled or elderly people in certain tasks!

Tuesday, December 13, 2011

Serious gaming is beneficial for healthcare

There are many applications possible for serious gaming in relation with health and healthcare. This varies from training for professionals to facilitating the design of living environments for disabled people.
Te biggest advantage if 3D games and simulations is the ability to make people actively search for information and to experience lifelike situations, instead of receiving information passively. In doing this the 'gamers' have to make decisions and will directly experience the consequences of their decisions and actions. This interactivity is an effective learning method and therefore, serious gaming can be used effectively in many situations.
See a more extensive article (in Dutch) here: Zorgvisie - Zorg heeft baat bij serious gaming

Archiving of source data

At the conference on PACS and regional data exchanged organized by MedicalPHIT at Papendal, the Netherlands, dr. den Heeten presented on why to archive source data. Storing all source data produced by all modalities would be extremely difficult and expensive. However, This presentation had its focus on mammography screening. Each mammogram is first processed into the human interpretable format. These processed images are stored into the archive. However, the original images are better for computer processing and computer aided detection.
To achieve this they want to start using a Vendor Neutral Archive for storage of the original, raw, mammography data for research.
Den Heeten claims that using the raw data can optimize the current breast cancer screening and allow for a more individualized, patient-centered, screening.

Sunday, December 11, 2011

RSNA: Merge shows off Honeycomb and iConnect

Merge Healthcare showcased their move to the cloud with Merge Honeycomb and demonstrated its suite of interoperability tools at the 97th Scientific Assembly and Annual Meeting of the Radiological Society of North America (RSNA) held in Chicago Nov. 27 to Dec. 2.

Microsoft offers most of its health IT platform to GE venture

General Electric, through its healthcare IT business, and Microsoft plan to create a joint venture aimed at helping healthcare organizations and professionals use system-wide tools to improve healthcare quality and the patient experience.
Microsoft offers most of its health IT platform to GE venture

Friday, December 9, 2011

IEEE is working on standards for virtual environments.

Virtual worlds—those electronic 3-D environments where people interact in a somewhat realistic manner—are considered best suited for games and entertainment. But some organizations, including IEEE, see the worlds as a potential business tool for lots of other things, include health care, education, and research.

To enable the more widespread use of virtual environments the IEEE is working on standards for virtual environments to, for example, be able to use an avatar in multiple environments. See the article published recently on The IEEE insitute website.
Currently application of virtual environments in healthcare is limited but starting to gain interest in education and training.

Thursday, December 8, 2011

Three European Hospitals up to Stage 6 of the EMRAM scale

Besides the hospital in Hamburg, Germany that received Stage 7 on which I reported earlier on this blog, three other European hospitals have obtained Stage 6 on the HIMSS Analytics Electronic Medical Record Adoption Model (EMRAM) scale.
Azienda ULSS 18 Rovigo (Local Healthcare Authority), Italy, Hospital Clinic I Provincial de Barcelona, Spain, and Inselspital, Bern University Hospital, Switzerland, have all achieved the accolade – the second highest rating on the scale.

Wednesday, December 7, 2011

Computing Now: Medical Ultrasound Imaging: To GPU or Not to GPU

Since its introduction in the latter half of the 20th century, ultrasound has enjoyed a unique place in medical-imaging practice. Perhaps most well-known for its ability to scan a developing fetus inside a mother's womb, this imaging modality stands out from others such as computed tomography and magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) in terms of real-time applicability and cost-effectiveness. An ultrasound system's compact size is another distinguishing feature of this modality. Modern-day ultrasound scanners are small enough to fit within a rollable trolley or even a portable tablet device. Such portability has made ultrasound indispensable for on-field medical assessments, emergency response, and other agile applications

PACS market matures, but where's it heading?

Found at

Most European hospitals with more than 250 beds now have PACS, but many smaller hospitals and imaging centers still lack the technology. While more than 7,400 European sites have PACS, another 3,350 are still without radiology PACS, writes market analyst Theo Ahadome. To read his article about the latest trends, click here.

New website launched: Doctors Helping Doctors Transform Healthcare

A new website has been launched called Doctors helping doctors transform healthcare. The authors of the website believe that health IT can and should be used to make care better, safer, and more value-laden. The website was started by a couple of pioneers on health IT and Meaningful use to help guide other doctors to find their way in the health IT jungle to put the health IT to the use for better healthcare.

Just launched, the site already contains a load of blog entries, movies, etc concerning topics like EHR Benefits, Meaningful Use, and Transforming Care.

Free on-line display calibration tool by Qubyx

On their website, Qubyx claims that too much is being paid for so-called "medical displays". They claim that any premium LCD display can be calibrated to meet the highest medical standards with an image quality that matches or even surpasses the most overpriced displays on the market.

To demonstrate this claim, they introduced a free webased calibration tool called Display Test. Display Test is easily accessible anywhere, free of charge, fast to use, and does not require a measurement device, according to the company. It measures luminance reproduction accuracy of a display based on randomly generated test combinations of letters and numbers displayed with varying luminance that have to be repeated by the user. By doing this, the just noticable differences are recorded.
To receive the test results, an e-mail address has to be provided, also enabling to setup a date for the next scheduled test.

Tuesday, December 6, 2011

RSNA: Putting patients in charge of image sharing makes for better care

A discussion I raised earlier on this Blog (here) is the fact that it would be well feasible to make patients responsible for their own data and remove the data sharing problem from the list of hospital IT. In the US, pilots are running to assess the possibilities of having the patient share his or her own data. One of the pilots is supported by the RSNA and mentioned here.

Check out the story on this topic on Health Imaging:
RSNA: Putting patients in charge of image sharing makes for better care

RSNA: Dedicated 3D labs offer many benefits

The production of 3D images using an on-site 3D lab, especially in larger healthcare institutions is a must according to Bradley J. Erickson, MD, PhD, of the Mayo Clinic in Rochester, Minn.
He states that 3D imaging is of growing importance in radiology especially in the multi-disciplinary communication and therefore a dedicated 3D lab should be established to achieve, among others:
  • Higher standardization: With an on-site lab, it’s easier to get the same set of views for the studies that are performed.
  • Single point of contact: A referring physician only has one place to call if there’s a question about an image. If there’s no lab, the radiologist will still get a call and that could impact workflow.
  • Enhanced teamwork: 3D labs can act as a uniting force in an enterprise. Since the systems are expensive, there would likely be one central resource pushing departments to work together.
  • Administrative buy-in: Since the lab would be an investment, COOs, CIOs and other decision makers who go with an on-site model will be on board from the start, and departments won’t likely have to worry about having the carpet dragged out from beneath the project later on.
Erickson also said that a 3D lab shouldn’t be considered a major money-maker, but departments should be in the black.

Read more about this topic in the Health Imaging report on RSNA: Dedicated 3D labs offer many benefits.

RSNA: CT Colonoscopy running on an iPad

Researchers from the University of Pisa, Italy presented on their work on CT Colonoscopy using an iPad running OsiriX HD. They compared the image quality and time to read on both the iPad and an iMac desktop computer also running OsiriX in a retrospective sudy of 23 CT Colonoscopy exams. According to their results, all lesions detected on the iMac were also identified on the iPad and their segmentation was correctly assessed in all cases. The downside of the iPad is in the fact that the evaluation was more time-consuming on the iPad.
The iPad 2 will not substitute for standalone workstations, because they have large displays and multiple image processing tools, among other advantages, according to Neri, whereas the iPad’s advantage is its portability. Nevertheless, the iPad 2 may be used for discussions of cases in multidisciplinary sessions. More about this presentation can be found on HealthImaging.

Monday, December 5, 2011

RSNA: Philips introduces digital MRI scanner

The digital MRI scanner introduced by Philips at the RSNA already received the Action Award of the High Tech Systems Platform in the Netherlands. The first system is installed at the Catharina Hospital in Eindhoven, the Netherlands. Philips claims that with this novel MRI it is possible to scan faster and more accurate. According to Philips, the signal to noise ratio is improved up to 40% and the scantime is reduced with 30%.

Haptic controlsystem wins Tata Steel Prize

A new haptic control system designed by Oscar van de Ven has won the Tata Steel Prize on November 23, 2011 in Haarlem, the Netherlands. The new haptic control system was designed as a mastersproject at the Technical University of Delft. The haptic feedback in this new system is improved to achieve faster and more accurate interaction. Initiallym the system was designed for production tasks, but the inventor believes that in due time the same technology can be used in medical applications.

Friday, December 2, 2011

TED: Visualizing the Medical Data Explosion

To see a very illustrative presentation on the medical data explosion that was caused by the introduction and constant improvement of Computed Tomography visit TED and watch the talk by Anders Ynnerman called 'Visualizing the medical data explosion'

Anders Ynnerman especially focusses on visualization of full body CT scand for evaluation and workup of virtual autopsies. To perform this task he also shows the virtual autopsy table they developed.

Thursday, December 1, 2011

RSNA: Siemens shows prototype system of kinect based interaction

At the RSNA, Siemens has demonstrated a novel prototype for interaction with medical imaging data in, for example, the operating theater.

Based on the Microsoft Kinect capabilities, Siemens has demonstrated a free hand interaction with the ability to interact with the data without the need of any input devices other that your own hands. Intentions are to develop this prototype further to also include speech, thus providing an easy and versatile 3D visualization environment in the operating theater.

RSNA: Two handed 3D manipulation from Digital ArtForms

At RSNA Digital ArtForms is demonstrating a novel way to interact with radiological data called iMedic3D. This system utilizes two controllers based on magnetic tracking that are specifically designed for this task.

The way of interaction with the data is very intuitive and easy to learn. After a short introduction one can easily manipulate both 2D and 3D data. Exploration of the data utilizes novel ways of performing segmentation and window/level setting using the same two controllers.

Other than the systems that are using devices like the kinect, this system is more versatile because of the availability of 4 buttons on each manipulator.

For more information visit the website of DigitalArtForms