IBM develops 3D patient record software

COPENHAGEN Tue Mar 10, 2009 3:18pm EDT

1 of 2. Dr. Hardy Christoffersen, chief surgeon at Thy-Mors Hospital in northern Denmark, stands next to a screen showing the test implementation of an IBM technology innovation, which uses a three-dimensional model of the human anatomy to visualize a patient's medical information, in this undated handout photo released March 10, 2009. The new software is expected to give doctors a better overview of a patient's history and save hospitals considerable time spent searching through records systems.

Credit: Reuters/Michael Bo Rasmussen/Baghuset/Handout

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COPENHAGEN (Reuters) - Physicians at Thy-Mors hospital in Denmark and IBM have developed patient record software that uses a three-dimensional computer model of the human anatomy to visualize a patient's medical information.

The new software is expected to give doctors a better overview of a patient's history and save hospitals considerable time spent searching through records systems.

"If you just need to know about the heart, you can click and get straight to the record and get the piece of information that you need," Kurt Nielsen, the hospital Director, told Reuters by telephone on Tuesday.

"You can get a quick overview of the health history of the patient," he said.

The software is designed to work with different types of electronic patient records and pulls information from these extensive and sometimes complex systems to display in a user-friendly interface.

On the model of the body, arrows indicate treated areas, and a mouse click on a specific arrow or body part automatically retrieves the pertinent medical information from the record, including past and current medication and diagnoses.

"We're going to use it. In the pilot we tried to use it on real patient record systems, and now we will have a clinical pilot. It can be adapted everywhere where you have electronic patient record systems," Nielsen said.

IBM and business partner Nhumi Technologies, a spin-off from IBM Research, will collaborate in the commercialization of the technology and plan to start marketing the tool in the Netherlands, Switzerland and Scandinavia and in other countries through partners.

The tool is also expected to improve doctor-patient dialogue by allowing physicians to illustrate relevant parts of the body in the model.

"This we believe is an added important benefit. We think that some of the time saved by the hospital will be used for better dialogue with patients," said Nhumi Technologies sales director Peter Lundkvist.

Lundkvist said IBM researchers worked with Thy-Mors staff from May to December last year to understand better understand their needs.

Thy-Mors, in West Denmark, was selected last year as a development partner because the hospital was preparing to purchase a new electronic patient record system.

(Additional reporting by Gelu Sulugiuc, editing by Will Waterman)

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