The Cross-Border Biotech Blog

Biotechnology, Health and Business in Canada, the United States and Worldwide

Tag Archives: NIST

Trends Update — Electronic Medical Records: Importance of Telemedicine, Implementation and Data Security

Since the Canadian and U.S. stimuli directed fuding towards electronic medical records (EMR), we’ve been following developments in the area as part of our Biotech Trends series here on the blog and have noted successes and failures.  A few recent stories highlight risks and benefits:

A recent Scientific American story (H/T @mikesgene) turned an analytical eye on the University of Pittsburgh Medical Center‘s implementation, the current iteration of which started in 2004.  Case studies have been an important part of the EMR narrative, and many so far have focused on Kaiser Permanente’s implementation, which is the world’s largest civilian system, so it’s nice to see an in-depth analysis of a different experience.  The article closes with a quote from  National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) Director Patrick Gallagher, who says the stimulus effort

“is about using technology to bring health care information together to reduce medical error, reduce the need for testing, put information in front of patients, and put information in front of researchers.”

A FierceHealthIT story reported on an initiative by the American Telemedicine Association, which is running a demonstration program with DocTalker Family Medicine.  DocTalker, founded by Dr. Alan Dappen (partnered with @drval) is providing remote health services to Association members and employees.  It’s being pitched as an employee benefit that can promote worker health and productivity by reducing the need for office visits and providing round-the-clock responsiveness. 

Telemedicine’s role in EMR also features in this story about a pacemaker developed by St. Jude Medical that allows patients and doctors at the Montreal Heart Institute to get data and alerts from the device, which also transmits cumulative data to the doctors in advance of patients’ follow-up visits.

With all of these electronic data floating around, security is key, but it remains an elusive target.  Dan Vorhaus tweeted about a ModernHealthCare.com article that highlights numerous security breaches this Fall.  Microsoft’s purchase this week of Sentillion, which focuses on EMR security, was for an undisclosed sum but you can bet it’s key to Microsoft’s EMR strategy.

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U.S. Stimulus Compromise (Updated)

Initial reporting (NYT, WSJ) on the bill coming out of the House-Senate conference committee this evening indicates that the $789 billion package will include most of the Bio-related provisions:

Update 10am: More details from ScienceInsider based on Pelosi’s fact sheet:

  • The Department of Energy’s Office of Science, which supports US physical science, will receive $1.6 billion.
  • $400 million will be provided to fund a new mini agency within DOE called the Advanced Research Project Agency-Energy. Obama’s energy secretary, Steve Chu, is a fan. Now congress has bestowed their blessing — and big money –on his dream energy program.
  • NASA will get $1 billion including $400 million for climate change research.
  • The National Institute of Standards and Technology will receive $580 million.
  • The National Science Foundation would receive the full $3 billion increase that the House had passed last month. That’s a 50% boost to its $6 billion budget. The breakdown of that number is not clear, but the House version contained $2 billion more for research grants; $900 million for three infrastructure programs, including a revived $200 million extramural facilities competition; and $100 million for two education programs.

Update 5pm:

  • The $3 billion in NSF funding breaks down as follows: $2.5 billion for research (peer-reviewed proposals); $100 million for the university research instrumentation program; and $400 million for national labs.
  • The NIST money is for infrastructure: $220 million for lab equipment and $360 million for facilities.
  • USDA gets $850 million for infrastructure.
  • NOAA gets $600 million for facilities and equipment.

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