Conference Report

Mobile Healthcare 2010 Industry Review, why you cannot miss it!…

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Mobile Healthcare Industry Review is going to be held on the 14th of December in London. The event takes place while there is an increased global attention to mobile healthcare and telehealth in general as both offer potential benefits especially regarding delivering improved, rapid healthcare and medical services to remote and rural locations, in addition to lowering the costs of healthcare on both patients and healthcare sectors. Mobile Healthcare 2010 is going to discuss with its attendees a number of highly useful and interesting topics. These topics include, for instance, a case study on how UK Healthcare Professionals are using Mobile, another session includes discussions on How UK Healthcare Professionals Use Mobiles and Mobility, Rapid SMS Aid in Rural Africa, a panel discussion titled “What’s Hot and What’s Not in Mobile Healthcare”, in addition to several other topics. Mobile Healthcare 2010 will be attended by a number of high-profile speakers. They include James Sherwin-Smith, CEO, Devices4, Ken Blakeslee, Chairman, WebMobility Ventures, Dr. Joey Mason, Partner, Delta Partners, George Macginnis, PA Consulting, Telehealth Expert, in addition to Anthony Lake, Executive Director, UNICEF. Registration for Mobile Healthcare 2010 Industry Review is still available for only £99. If you desire to attend this highly interesting event, please submit your registration by visiting the following link. http://www.mobilehealthcareindustrysummit.com/register/mobile_healthcare_review Read More about Mobile Healthcare : Intel Joins The European mHealth ... Read more

Abu Dhabi takes bold strides as center for health …

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Abu Dhabi  ** October 2010 – Abu Dhabi, the capital of the United Arab Emirates, advances as a healthcare innovation center this December as it hosts the World Health Care Congress Middle East, a premier meeting of key global healthcare stakeholders that will share best practices for improving the delivery of high quality cost-effective care. The Health Authority – Abu Dhabi (HAAD), the emirate’s regulatory body for the healthcare sector, is at the forefront in encouraging global innovations for health awareness, research and innovation. Since beginning an extensive healthcare restructure plan in 2007, it has launched numerous initiatives aimed at enhancing its health care knowledge base and continuing its development an a center of health care excellence. The emirate aims to create a healthcare system where everyone has full access to health care. Abu Dhabi has taken significant pro-active steps toward improving its health care system through the creation of HAAD four years ago. The restructured system provides independent systems for regulating, financing and providing health care. Recent efforts include Introduction of mandatory health insurance A far-reaching 12-point strategic plan for improving all areas of health care delivery Hosting international forums for management of chronic diseases, such as diabetes Expansion of hospital systems and health care services; Abu Dhabi has 39 hospitals and 572 health centers and clinics. The Abu Dhabi Health Services Co. (SEHA) plans opening two new major hospitals by 2013 Increasing its global reach through funding the Sheikh Zayed Institute for Pediatric Surgical Innovation at Children’s National Medical Center in Washington, D.C Partnerships with several of the world’s health innovation leaders, including Johns Hopkins Medicine International, Cleveland Clinic Foundation and Bumrungrad International in Thailand “Abu Dhabi is demonstrating a bold vision in the development of a health care system that is a leader not only in the Middle East, but around the globe,” said Vidar Jorgensen, Chairman of the World Health Care Congress. “The World Health Care Congress Middle East will bring the world’s top health care innovators and leaders to Abu Dhabi, where ideas will be exchanged and posted on the internet for the benefit of all. We are very excited for the opportunity to provide a global forum for the leading edge of health care innovation.” The World Health Care Congress Middle East will mark the next significant step in Abu Dhabi’s strategic commitment to excellence in health care and to developing a global center for health care innovation and research. The event will include a focus on health innovation, including a special health innovation summit, “Innovations to Watch” demonstration session and a poster exhibit dedicated to affordable health care innovations. H.E. Zaid Al Siksek, CEO of HAAD said: “Healthcare in the Emirate of Abu Dhabi is going through a period of pronounced private sector investment, radical changes to the insurance system and a shift in government focus from operational to regulatory responsibilities.” “Despite successes in reform, private sector participation and a marked improvement in the overall provision of care, many wards are operating at full or near-full capacity. Pediatric intensive care units were consistently more than three-quarters full in 2009. Growth is needed in services related to diabetes and cancer, while low capacity in gynecology and orthopedics means greater investment is required in those fields as well”, H.E. Al Siksek added. With the World Health Care Congress, Abu Dhabi and the Gulf region will hear from the globe’s top health care innovators while exchanging the knowledge it has garnered during its reform process. Produced by global health care conference leader World Congress, the conference will take a global approach toward discovering the top emerging innovations and best practices for improving health care delivery and financing. Key themes of the World Health Care Congress Middle East include: Hospitals and health systems Healthcare technology and interoperability Healthcare investment, financing and insurance Public and population health Education for health care professionals  Innovations in chronic disease management Key innovation speakers include:  H.E. Engineer Zaid Al Siksek, Chief Executive Officer, Health Authority – Abu Dhabi, United Arab Emirates Dr. Zakiuddin Ahmed, National Coordinator for Federal Ministry of E-Health, Pakistan Dr. Sultan Al Sedairy, Executive Director, Research Centre, King Faisal Specialist Hospital & Research Center, Saudi Arabia David Green, Chief Executive Officer, Project Impact, USA Dr. Preetha Reddy, Managing Director, Apollo Hospital Group, India Other WHCC ME featured speakers include: Michael J. Barber, Vice President, GE healthymagination, USA Hon. Joe Cassar, MD, Minister for Health, the Elderly and Community Care, Malta Jason Cheah, MD, Chief Executive Officer, Agency for Integrated Care, Singapore Lord Ara Darzi, Professor of Surgery, Oncology, Reproductive Biology and Anesthetics, Imperial College London; former Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State, Department of Health, United Kingdom Micheal Reid, Director General, Queensland Health, Brisbane, Australia Uwe Reinhardt, PhD, Professor of Economics & Public Affairs, Princeton University, USA Prof. Jianqin Sun, Huadong Hospital, Fudan University, Shanghai, China About World CongressWorld Congress, the leading global provider of healthcare conferences, forges health care communities by convening senior executives from all segments of the industry and government policymaking. Whether it’s our annual flagship event, the World Health Care Congress, its overseas counterpart, World Health Care Congress Europe, or one of our more specialized Congresses and Leadership Summits, we produce the premier industry forums that generate content that matters and foster connections that provide the lasting benefits.www.worldcongress.com WHAT: The World Health Care Congress Middle EastWHERE: Abu Dhabi, UAE, Beach Rotana HotelWHEN: December 5-7, 2010PROGRAM AGENDA: www.worldcongress.com/meMEDIA REGISTRATION: www.worldcongress.com/me/mediaContact: Patrick Golden 1+781-939-2511 patrick.golden@worldcongress.com About Health Authority – Abu Dhabi (HAAD): The Health Authority – Abu Dhabi (HAAD) is the regulative body of the Healthcare Sector in the Emirate of Abu Dhabi and ensures excellence in Healthcare for the community by monitoring the health status of the population. HAAD defines the strategy for the health system, monitors and analyses the health status of the population and performance of the system. In addition HAAD shapes the regulatory framework for the health system, inspects against regulations, enforces standards, and encourages adoption of world – class best practices and performance targets by all healthcare service providers in the Emirate. HAAD also drives programs to increase awareness and adoption of healthy living standards among the residents of the Emirate of Abu Dhabi in addition to regulating scope of services, premiums and reimbursement rates of the health system in the Emirate of Abu Dhabi.www.haad.ae/haad/ About Abu Dhabi Tourism Authority Abu Dhabi Tourism Authority (ADTA) was established in September 2004. It has wide ranging responsibilities for building and developing the emirate's tourism industry. These include; destination marketing; infrastructure and product development and regulation and classification. A key role is to create synergy in the international promotion of Abu Dhabi through close co-ordination with the emirate's hotels, destination management companies, airlines and other public and private sector travel-related ... Read more

The Second International eHealth Conference 2011 …

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Pakistan is one of the main countries in the Middle East that have started to adopt telemedicine and e-Health. Both provide significant aid to the country in delivering healthcare services to remote and rural regions. Moreover, Pakistan established e-learning centers for training doctors and healthcare providers, like the one established at Holy Family Hospital in Rawalpindi. The ehealth Association of Pakistan is glad to announce its Second International eHealth Conference 2011 (SIeHC 2011), that will take place in Islamabad during the 22nd and 23rd of January 2011. eHealth conference 2011 will be carried out under the theme: “eHealth and the Road to the Millennium Development Goals” SIeHC 2011 is going to be conducted while there is an increasing global attention to the potential benefits telehealth and eHealth are able to offer, with focus on the fact that they both are able to significantly reduce the costs of healthcare services on patients and on healthcare facilities as well. Meanwhile, both applications promote the levels of doctors in healthcare facilities as they allow continuous consultations between younger and more experienced professionals. Pakistan eHealth Association’s Second International ehealth Conference 2011will discuss a number of interesting and useful topics, such as the rule and effects of eHealth adoption on the healthcare, economic and social aspects. Several presentations will also highlight new innovations in eHealth. SIeHC 2011 is also illustrating the role of healthcare providers in promoting the adoption of telehealth and eHealth in both public and private sectors. The event will discuss the role of mobile health and how it can overcome several technical issues experienced with telehealth, such as the lack of access to broadband internet connections. eHealth Conference 2011 will include sessions discussing the role of telehealth in disasters, and how they can aid in delivering services to the affected regions in a short period of time to minimize the devastating effects that follow such ... Read more

Telemedicine, A Middle East perspective…

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Africa Telehealth Conference 2010 held at Cairo discussed many important and interesting topics related to telemedicine in the MENA region. During the conference, many presentations were made by professors from different countries. They discussed the adoption of telehealth in Middle East and Africa, the benefits and the challenges affecting that adoption. Each professor mentioned his experience in this field and what are the right steps to adopt telemedicine in the region in a professional way. They also highlighted the importance of communicating with expertise in this field in order to avoid the mistakes of the previous trials using telehealth. Current situation of Telemedicine in Sudan: During the presentation of Dr. Abdelmoniem Sahal, Chairman of E-health group in Sudan, he discussed the current situation of telemedicine in Sudan. He mentioned that the adoption of telemedicine started in 2005 and it has been improving since then. He also discussed the challenges facing Sudanese healthcare providers in adopting telemedicine and how they should work to overcome these obstacles in order to improve the adoption of telemedicine in more extended way to gain more of its benefits. When we asked Dr. Abelmoniem about his impression regarding the event he said “It is an excellent opportunity to listen to the experience of the other expertise who work in this field from different countries in the world “He also mentioned that “beginning from 2005, we faced many obstacles during teleheath adoption. But starting form this year there is a new beginning,  I expect a strong coordination with Egypt and more benefits gained from the Pakistani initiative, and we are looking forward to improve working on the African Arabian network “ Dr. Abdelmoniem added that the main challenges that are facing Middle East and Africa are: 1-the huge fees demanded by mobile network providers.  2- The different issues related to Human resources, including non existence of expertise in the field of telemedicine, the lack of training programs. The 3rd challenge is the limited awareness of the importance of telemedicine and its role in healthcare which creates difficulty in finding aid from the public and the government. How Telemedicine helped in recent flood disaster in Pakistan: Professor Dr. Asif Zafar, Head of Department of Surgery, Project Director Telemedicine & e-Health Training Center Holy Family Hospital in Rawalpindi, Pakistan, discussed during his presentation the use of telemedicine in his country, giving an example of the e-learning training center at the Holy Family Hospital. He mentioned that Pakistan has experience in using telemedicine to provide healthcare services in a number of remote and rural areas. He highlighted how telemedicine training center at the hospital plays an important role, this center helped in training 100 doctors and nurses in two weeks time. In addition, Dr. Zafar focused on how telemedicine in Pakistan played a significant role during the recent natural disasters, and how it helped in providing healthcare services in flooded regions. He added that telemedicine lead to decrease cost affect on the patient and on the healthcare facilities in addition to decreasing the number of migrates from the affected regions.  In a presentation from India, titled “International teleradiology highlighting the role of telemedicine” Dr. Ashis Dhawad focused on the importance of telemedcince and how the Middle East and Africa can use the experience of Western countries such as US and Canada to gain more benefits. During the conference, we talked with Dr. E. Lyle Gross, MD, FRCPC, Physical medicine and Rehabilitation adjunct professor at the University of British Columbia, Canada. Dr. Gross mentioned that “In many ways similar to large countries where there Is a lot of space we need to connect people together and the future is going to be that all communities no matter how large or how small they are, particularly small communities, will benefit from the specialists and consultants in larger centers and when we don’t have the answers we can consult our colleagues in other parts of the world. So the cost savings to government, to insurance, and to people will be increased “ Dr .Gross added that “who can make these changes are leaders in business, leaders who provide the service, leaders in technology and leaders in the government. We have to bring them together and see people implement this. I believe that the private and the public working together is critical“ In addition, Dr.Gross said that “There are organizations not just hospitals that I have met and Telemed Providers is one of those organizations that is trying to bring all the key players together to provide a hub of service to both private and public “ During the event Andrew Graley, Regional director, Polycom mentioned that this conference has been a great opportunity because it illustrated that a lot of professional people, medical and paramedics, in the Middle East and Africa recognized that there is such a benefit from quick and also high quality telemedicine because it can save lives. He also mentioned that the future of telemedicine in Middle East and Africa is bright. In an interesting practical experience of videoconferencing using FVC Egypt equipment, Dr. Ryan Spaulding, from the University of Kansas School of Medicine Telemedicine Center, gave a live presentation and demo from Kansas explaining different type of telemedicine equipment and services the center has been using over the past few years and how affective it had been in improving patient care, particularly the home based elderly patients. Use of Telemedicine in Burkino Faso, West Africa: Dr. Peter Van Dingenen who is originally from Belgium but currently a volunteer medical specialist working in remove West Africa at Burkina Faso, explained how he and his team are helping the community in Burkina Faso to reach better medical care using simple telemedicine techniques and equipment.  He gave practical examples of many cases that were cured within days and weeks after they approached the affected areas and these cases had been there since years and were not treated because of lack of education and facilities. When we asked Dr. Oryema Johnson, MD, Texas Telehealth Technologies, USA about his impression regarding the event he said that it has been a successful event and he is impressed with it. Dr. Johnson added that the future of telemedicine in the Middle East and Africa is very Bright. Moreover Dr. Johnson mentioned that adopting telemedicine in the Middle East and Africa will eliminate the patients from travelling abroad for consultation and it will improve the local economy because a lot of money will be spent locally in the Middle East and Africa. Overall, we believe that the conference was a good place to network with similar and layout a foundation plan for telehealth in the ... Read more


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Telehealth and telemedicine is currently one of the significantly growing fields in healthcare industry. This is due to the fact that both fields have various advantages that can truly improve the levels of healthcare and medical services. Africa Telehealth 2010 conference, currently taking place in Cairo, Egypt, is aiming to discuss the adoption of tele-health, the benefits and the challenges affecting that adoption. The event was organized by Texas Telehealth Tech (TTT) and sponsored by leading telemedicine solutions provider, Polycom & FVC, Gross Remote Conferencing, and emerging Telemedicine company in the Middle East, Telemed Providers. The event extends from 23th – 25th of October with Health Imaging Hub contributing as the official media sponsor. In this report, we highlight the events and sessions that took place during the first day of the conference. The first day of Africa Telehealth 2010 included a number of highly interesting sessions. After welcoming the attendees, the event started with a presentation from Dr. Sahar Saleem, Radiology Professor, Faculty of Medicine (Kasr El Aini), Cairo University. She spoke about telemedicine in Egypt, mentioning that the first radiology practice in the country, also the first in Middle East, took place in 1922. Dr. Saleem briefly spoke about radiology statistics in Egypt, such as number of MRI units in the country (160), and their ratio in relation to population (2 MRI units per million capita). She also added that PACS systems are currently used in Egypt but on a very limited scale. Dr. Saleem confirmed during her presentation that telemedicine represents a suitable solution against a number of obstacles hindering the improvement of healthcare services, such as lack of specialists and equipment in rural areas, over population and over-crowded cities such as Cairo and Alexandria, where patients need a lot of time to reach radiology centers. Dr. Saleem added that telemedicine can improve the level of radiologists in Egypt as a result to continuous discussions and consultations with their colleagues in Western countries such as US and Canada, adding that such discussions can be useful if they take place between radiologists in Arab countries. She concluded that the expansion in telemedicine adoption in Egypt will be highly cost-effective, not only for patients, as they will no longer need to travel for long distances to radiology centers, but also for hospitals and healthcare facilities. Remote presentations during the 2010 Africa Telehealth Conference: The following session was a keynote speech conducted by Dr. E. Lyle Gross, MD, FRCPC, Physical medicine and rehabilitation adjunct professor at the University of British Columbia, Canada. Dr. Gross spoke during his presentation about the beginning of telemedicine in the United Sates. He also confirmed that telehealth has been taking an increasing role throughout the last years; he explained that UNESCO Chair of Telemedicine was introduced in 1999 in order to extend the use of telemedicine in several developing countries, especially in Africa. Dr. Gross added that that telemedicine has been used in several countries such as US, France, Canada, UK, Pakistan, Sudan, Kenya and Burkina Faso. The presentation also included highlighting a number of challenges that hinder the expansion of telemedicine adoption; such as the technology barriers including the fact that various locations do not have broadband internet access. He also added that bureaucracy, natural crisis, along with cultural and lingual differences, all play a role in limiting the use of telemedicine in several countries. Dr. Gross concluded his session with his prospects and expectations for telemedicine. He said that an inter-disciplinary collaboration along with team working and enhanced communication will surely improve the adoption of telemedicine in the near future. Professor Dr. Asif Zafar, Head of Department of Surgery, Project Director Telemedicine & e-Health Training Center Holy Family Hospital in Rawalpindi, spoke during his presentation about the use of telemedicine and e-learning training center in Pakistan. He noted that the country has an experience in using telemedicine to provide healthcare services in a number of remote and rural areas. He discussed the role of telemedicine training center at Holy Family hospital in Rawalpindi, which succeeded in training 100 doctors and nurses in two weeks time. Professor Zafar also highlighted the role of telemedicine in Pakistan during natural disasters and how it helped in providing healthcare services in flooded regions. He noted that telemedicine adoption in the county will continue to increase following the collaboration with Pakistan and US, the involvement of both public and private sectors in the country, and the use of teleradiology service via mobile network service providers. The following sessions included several speakers from Egypt; they started with a presentation conducted by Professor Manar El Tonsy, Radiology department, Faculty of Medicine, Ain Shams University, she spoke about teleparasitolgy and its uses especially in tropical medicine. She added that such service would reduce the cost and time needed for diagnosis and treatment of parasitic infestations. She showed an example of a Leshmainasis patient, who was referred to her from Iraq, he had very poor health condition due to improper diagnosis for two years. Dr. El Tonsy confirmed that if there was a system for tele-parasitolgy it would significantly help that patient, through online consultations and discussions between doctors in Iraq and Egypt, to reach an accurate diagnosis much earlier. The following session included Dr. Heba Yossef, Assistant Professor of forensic medicine and clinical toxicology, Faculty of Medicine, Ain Shams University, who spoke about an applied model program “E learning forum” that provided educational services for both under- and post-graduate students through the faculty’s website. She highlighted the benefits offered by the model and how it improved the skills of the students. Professor Yossef also noted a number of technical obstacles that faced their model including the lack of sufficient IT support. The next session was conducted by Professor. Sahar Talaat, pathology professor, Faculty of Medicine (Kasr Al Aini), Cairo University. She spoke about the E-learning project which offered medical education to students at her faculty. Professor Talaat highlighted the objective and the benefits of the project, which included flexibly, active learning and interactivity between students and their professors. She added that the e-learning courses were developed in the faculty starting from 2006, and they now include 13 courses. The next speaker in Africa Telehealth 2010 first day was Professor. Essam Ayad, pathology professor, Faculty of Medicine (Kasr Al Aini), Cairo University, and the head of telepathology unit at the Italian Hospital in Cairo, Dr. Ayad spoke about the collaboration between the Italian Hospital in Cairo and CIVICO Hospital in Palermo, Italy, in developing telepathology project. He highlighted the steps of the project and the devices and equipment used during preparation. Dr. Ayad discussed the benefits of the telepathology project for both patients, as it saved their time and money, and for doctors, by providing medical consultations with Italian colleagues. Dr. Ayad concluded that the telepathology project has extended to involve other hospitals in UK, US, and Italy. Dr. Sahar Saleem conducted the next presentation, which was discussing teleradiology in Egypt. She highlighted the goals of teleradiology in the country and how it can be used to provide radiology services in remote areas and over-populated cites as well, in addition to the opportunity teleardiology offers to Egypt to be a link between Arabian, African countries and the Western ones.  Dr. Saleem discussed medico-legal issues and medical liabilities involved in teleradiology. She noted that teleradiology services in Egypt are following ACR standards for interpretation and reporting. Africa Telehealth 2010 continued with several very interesting web-conferences on its first day. The first one connected the attendees with Dr. Ryan Spaulding, from Telemedicine Center, School of Medicine, University of Kansas. Dr. Spaulding spoke on his presentation about telemedicine service in Kansas; he highlighted the benefits of the service in the State as it includes delivering healthcare to various remote and rural areas with limited access to medical services. Dr. Spaulding discussed the use of telemedicine to provide healthcare at schools and how digital equipment such as digital otoscope and digital stethoscope were used to transfer medical images through the internet to doctors for consultations and discussions for accurate diagnosis. Another benefit for telemedicine service in Kansas, discussed during the presentation, was providing healthcare to chronic patients at their homes, which significantly improved their quality of life, saved their time, and decreased costs on both the patients and healthcare facilities. The presentation also discussed several telemedicine projects involving collaboration between The University of Kansas and locations in Armenia, Nepal and Uganda. Dr. Spaulding concluded with mentioning a number of obstacles that are still hindering the adoption of telemedicine such as technical issues and limited access to broadband internet access in several counties, along with cultural and time differences between various countries. The final section on the first day of Africa Telehealth conference 2010 included a live teleconference from Pakistan, where presentations from Dr. Shagufta Umer and Dr. Mohamed Afzal and colleagues from Rawalpindi College of Medicine took place. The presentations discussed the use of telemedicine at Holy Family Hospital in Rawalpindi to provide ENT and obstetric-gynecological services in remote regions in Pakistan. The presenters discussed the clinical benefits of using telemedicine and how it helped in reducing costs on both patients and healthcare settings. It is worth mentioning the first day of Africa Telehealth Conference 2010 had very useful and interesting discussions between the attendees. One of the major points highlighted was the medico-legal aspects of telemedicine and its variations in different countries. Dr. Spaulding mentioned that the US law considers telemedicine consultations as a form of a doctor’s visit to a patient outside his clinic. Dr. Saleem commented that in certain countries, such as Egypt, the medico-legal aspects organizing telemedicine are still vague as the service itself has been recently introduced in the country. Mr. Zaheer, the CEO of Telemed Providers said that in developing countries of Middle East, where there is no clearly defined legal structure available for telemedicine, it can be utilized under the supervision of the local consultant. Africa Telehealth Conference 2010 will continue for two days aiming to offer its attendees with useful and interesting knowledge about the latest in the fields of telehealth and telemedicine. Telemedicine, A Middle East ... Read more

2010 Africa Telehealth Conference…

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Bridging the gap between nations taking place on 23rd-25th October, 2010 Background: Over 80% of healthcare problems in Africa are caused by a handful of communicable diseases and issues which remain untreated due to lack of adequate ... Read more

SIIM 2011 Annual Meeting, Call for Abstract…

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With the ongoing advances in medical imaging and healthcare IT fields, The Society for Imaging Informatics in Medicine (SIIM) is playing a major role in highlighting the latest in diagnostic imaging IT. SIIM is going to hold its next annual meeting in June 2011. The meeting will take place at Gaylord National Resort and Convention Center, Washington, DC.   SIIM Call for Abstracts: SIIM has recently started calling for abstracts for its next meeting. The due date for submitting them will be the 10th of September 2010. Authors are going to be informed about acceptance on the 1st of November 2010. The Society for Imaging Informatics in Medicine is encouraging authors to submit abstracts that discuss actual trials more than those describing future plans or general reviews of subjects. Moreover, SIIM listed a number of topics and the submitted abstracts are to be indexed under one of them. The topics include: Advanced Visualization, Automated Reporting, Business Analytics, Dashboards, and Knowledge Warehouses, Clinical Workflow, Data Management, Enterprise Imaging and other Specialties, Image Processing and Analysis, Interoperability and Integration, Meaningful Use of EHR Technology, Practical Imaging Informatics, Radiation Dose and Image Acquisition, Reading Room, in addition to Vocabularies, Ontologies, Natural Language Processing, and Miscellaneous section that includes topics not included in the previous categories.SIIM mentioned that abstracts are to be submitted in English only. There are two formats for the abstracts; authors should choose one of them, first is Hypothesis-driven abstracts; which include hypothesis, introduction, methods, results, discussion, conclusion, and keywords. The other format is Descriptive Abstracts, including background, evaluation, discussion, conclusion, and keywords. In both formats, abstracts are to be within 800 and 1,200 words in length.For submitting abstracts for the next SIIM annual meeting, please visit this link, ... Read more

HIMSS Virtual Conference & Exhibition, who should …

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With the huge advances in internet that made the whole world seems like a small village, a wide range of organizations are taking advantages of the internet to be able to provide maximum benefits to their members. HIMSS Virtual Conference & ... Read more

A Special Report from SIIM 2010
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At SIIM 2010, Herman Oosterwijk discussed issues that deal specifically with PACS connectivity. He outlined the following  problems: Network Issues: A well defined and managed network infrastructure is essential. Proper IP addressing and port number assignment has to be done. Duplicate IP addresses can create issues and are not always easy to troubleshoot. In case this is suspected, a “netscan” utility will show all IP addresses and potential duplicates. Note that DICOM devices rely on fixed IP addresses, as almost none of the PACS vendors make use of the dynamic configuration capabilities defined by the DICOM standard. Dynamic IP addressing is fine as long as the router does not re-assign them to a different address, e.g. when being re-booted or replaced. Note also that DICOM has an “official” assigned port number, i.e. port 11112, which is more reliable than the often used “well-known” port 104. Not necessarily falling under the network but related is the need to manage AE titles making sure they are also unique. Realize that some devices have multiple AE’s with potential different AE titles. Incorrect net mask definitions and/or VLAN specifications might make certain destinations unreachable. A rather frequent occurrence is the incorrect setting of the switch, e.g. to half duplex or mismatching the device setting, especially when auto-negotiating is configured. Switch issues result in major performance issues and can only be made visible when using a network sniffer. DICOM Header Issues: The DICOM image header is generated through mapping RIS data, generation of the modality and manual input by a user. Either one of these sources can potentially generate incorrect and/or invalid data in the image header. Problems are unfortunately not always detected. For example, an incorrectly identified study might be archived in the PACS and get “lost”, only appearing when the data is migrated, which could be years later. Some PACS systems are more conservative than others and check every attribute, while other are more liberal and don’t necessarily complain. A header with an Institution ID exceeding the maximum length of that field might be stored by vendor A while being rejected as an invalid image when being migrated years later. In this particular instance, the Institution ID could have been mapped from the RIS using a worklist, while not checking for any length violations (note that the source of the data, i.e. the HL7 data elements might not have the same restrictions). Missing and/or incorrect patient demographics can be caused by the RIS being down, or a technologist not using the worklist. This will cause a study to be unverified or “broken” at the PACS. Some PACS applications sort and display images according to image and/or series number instead of according to slice orientation and body part causing the images to be displayed in the incorrect order. When retrieving comparison exams, one can run across some of the older date and time formats in the header, which might cause issues as well. Hanging Protocol Issues: Hanging protocols not working is almost always related to incorrect header information or the wrong interpretation of the headers. A common mismatch is related to the way CR and DR systems organize their images into series. Some create a new series for each view (e.g. a Chest PA and LAT), some group them together in a single series. If the viewing software can only be configured to show different series next to each other, there will be some really unsatisfied radiologists. Another frequent issue occurs when some modalities modify automatically series and study descriptions, not taking the values from the worklist and therefore causing these descriptions not matching the hanging protocol configurations at the view station. CD import issues: These issues almost always can be traced back to non-compliance with the DICOM standard and/or corresponding IHE profile. Frequent issues are the absence of DICOM image files because the vendor is only providing their proprietary format, a missing directory file, mismatch of the so-called meta-file header with the actual data content, incorrect transfer syntaxes such as compression, and several others. A recent issue has also been splitting up studies over multiple CD’s. In many cases, one can convert the images to an acceptable format that can be imported; however, in some cases it is impossible to read the proprietary information, causing a repeat exam. One also need to make sure that patient identifiers are replaced, including the Accession Number otherwise the integrity of the PACS database could be compromised. SOP Class support: Modalities are eager to support new SOP Classes as they contain more information and allow for better viewing and processing. PACS systems traditionally lag with their support for this new functionality. The most common mismatches are due to non-support of the PACS for the enhanced CT and MRI SOP Classes, Structured reports, such as generated by CAD devices and Ultrasound units for measurements, and for new specialties such as ophthalmology, dentistry and endoscopy. In most cases, a modality can be “defeatured” to fall back to an older SOP Class, or alternate encoding (e.g. burn in the CAD marks into a secondary capture), in some cases, one will be stuck with the proprietary information (e.g. MRI spectroscopy). Transfer syntax support: In addition to missing SOP Class support, PACS systems might not support the specific encoding, i.e. transfer syntaxes. Occasionally, a PACS system might mishandle a Big Endian encoding from an older modality, JPEG or wavelet compression support. Many PACS systems do not (yet) support the MPEG files created by endoscopy and surgery exams. UID issues: Even although this is a “header issues, it is mentioned on its own because of the frequency and severity of its impact. Some devices create “illegal” UID’s because their algorithm creates sometimes empty values or subcomponents with leading zero’s. Most PACS systems will either refuse these images or quarantine them. Some modalities issue a new UID when an image is resent, which requires someone to delete these duplicates at the PACS. Some modalities re-use a UID therefore requiring a PACS SA to fix those as well. Modality Worklist issues: A worklist should match the studies to be performed at a modality, no more and no less. A “broad” worklist is generated by matching modality (e.g. CT, MR), location (e.g. station name or scheduled AE title), and other parameters such as the scheduled date/time range. Some Modality worklist providers provide too much data (e.g. all of CR exams instead of only the ones for the ER), some provide not enough differentiation (e.g. only the bone-scans) and some provide not enough. Filtering at both the MWL provider and modality is often required. Note that single value matching using e.g. the Patient ID or Accession Number with a barcode scanner, card reader or other scanner works much better. Remedies are reconfiguring the modality worklist provider, interface engine, or sometimes changing the input data by the scheduling department. Burned-in Data: Many Ultrasound units and any frame-grabber interface have the unfortunate side-effect that all of the information on the screen is captured, including the patient demographics. This can create major issues when the patient demographics is incorrect, which happens in most cases because a technologist forgets to select a new patient or makes an incorrect selection. The only remedy is to replace these pixels with a “paint-brush” application, which however is very rarely supported by most PACS vendors. Many users put “X-es” over the incorrect text, with as serious risk that a receiving application might not support these overlays, presentation states, or, even proprietary annotations. There are open source utilities available that can take care of these pixel replacements. Loss of annotations: Many PACS systems still support proprietary solutions to store annotations. When displayed on the PACS workstations from the same vendor, they appear, however, when displayed on another vendor’s workstation, such as used by a referring physician, night hawk service, or 3rd party web servers, they will disappear. The only solution is to generate compatible overlays (some modalities and workstations have this option) and/or upgrade all of your devices to support the DICOM Softcopy Presentation ... Read more

SIIM 2010, products highlights
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Realizing the significant importance of SIIM 2010 annual meeting, a wide range of companies competed to showcase their products in the event. The SIIM 2010 was carried out under a key topic, which was "Value innovation through imaging ... Read more

Most Common Issues as Reported at SIIM 2010…

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Skip Kennedy, Kaiser Permanente talked about the top PACS problems. An important issue is what to do if the system goes down. One of the things people focus on is to get a better reliable system, in other words, how to get more "9’s in your uptime (99,999%?). However, each "9" relates to a substantial amount of investment and money. It might be better and more cost effective to come up with alternate workflows, a good test system, work- around, because a system will go down one time or another. Performance is an issue as well; as Skip mentioned, most people never had a call about the system being too fast, but many people are complaining about it being too slow. A stopwatch is a tool that every pacs administrator needs, but should be the last resort as real-time data about performance is a must and often not readily available. Real time performance dashboards are a must, however require significant IT investment. These type of investments can be made by major institutions, however, open source tools, and built-in tools are needed. A major issue is the disparity of the systems and data, e.g. if one wants to know the steps involved with a simple exam, one might need to do data mining of the HIS, to find out when it was ordered, the RIS, when it was scheduled and completed, the modality, when it started, the PACS when it was read and the voice recognition system when it was signed off, reported and faxed or securely emailed to the physician. This leaves open the time that it was actually be read by that physician. David Clunie from Radpharm also gave some examples in case the PACS system does not perform as you might expect. One of the examples that he gave was with regard to the display of annotations. For example, a drawing on the image at thon modality or workstation might not be visible in the  CD viewer, in the web viewer, or another PACS or EMR. This is despite the fact that everyone is DICOM and/or IHE compliant. Overlays can be sent a) in the pixel data, i.e. "burned in", b) in the image header, or c) as a Presentation State, all of these solutions being totally DICOM "legal" but if one system uses method a) and the receiver uses method b), there is no true interoperability. To diagnose this problem, one could send the images with known annotations to simulator, run validation tools, send test images to the receiver system using the sets of test images used by IHE and tweak and/or modify sending ... Read more

SIIM 2010 Starts With a Great Kick-Off…

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Dr. Bradley Erickson from the Mayo clinic,  Chair of SIIM, kicked off the annual meeting  in Minneapolis, with a slogan "Value innovation through imaging informatics", i.e. how to get additional information from images, such as "buried" inside the image pixels and/or metadata. He also added “Buying CT, MR is like dating, buying a PACS/RIS is like getting Married” and therefore, to know exactly what your requirements are and making sure a vendor meets your needs is critical.  As a matter of fact, divorcing a vendor is even more painful than just replacing a modality. Therefore, the emphasis of SIIM has changed recently from covering RIS –PACS to include 3-D, CAD, but most importantly business analytics, i.e., how to run business well. These topics are important to understand to makes sure that one can select the proper partners. Dr. Raymond  Geis discussed politics and business intelligence. Against the political background of the cost of healthcare in the US being unsustainable (quote from Obama), increasing  national and global competition for radiology contracts, the  FDA being more pro-active in reviewing imaging and PACS systems, there is a major investment going to be made. The ARRA will invest $27B in healthcare IT to reform healthcare. Money is already being spent right now as 52% of the US hospitals increased HIT budgets. Now, there is still a lot of confusion about the so-called "meaningful use" criteria that systems have to meet to be candidate for any ARRA money, and also, the implementations are still less than 10%, for example, CPOE with decision support is only implemented in 7.4% of the institutions right now. Business analytics is different than data collection: Data describes what is happening. If you have a lot of data, data is going to decide for you how to model what is going on and see new paths, which is where the analytics part comes in.  There is no question that future business analytics, i.e. innovations that increase value will be strongly rewarded. Dr. Bradley Erickson (Mayo Clinic)  discussed advanced image visualization and 3-D. The main innovation this past year is that "thin clients are starting to act fat", i.e. 3-D applications are starting to have more of the fat client functionality. In addition,  ipads, laptops are now able to run these applications and also now work on high latency networks and low bandwidth. There is more workflow support in the applications: simple mouse clicks will support going through the steps of the processing. Unfortunately, these tools still do not integrate well with RIS (Radiology Information System) : it is not known what studies are in process, reported, completed etc. There is more reporting capability within 3-D, especially in structured format such as  direct information about a stenosis to report. More and more of these applications run on mainstream hardware, it is not required to have specialized hardware processors anymore. Outsourcing as part of Teleradiology providers is becoming more popular as well. Dr. Keith Dryer (Mass General) gave a presentation about cloud computing. The question of the computing is whether it is on the ground or in the sky? We see applications moving from client based, to server based, and now cloud (internet based). The advantage of cloud computing is definitely to allow far better cross enterprise communication, while needing a lower capital investment and have immediate upgrades, automatic remote access. However, as he mentioned, the forecast is still partly cloudy which means that a lot of work needs to be done still. Dr. Anthony Seibert from UCDavis discussed DR changes. Many vendors now offer portable wireless detectors which allow for "POS" or Point Of Service imaging  for the OR (Operating Room), ER (Emergency Room) and bedsides. It is easy now to retrofit existing radiology rooms. Detectors are now providing capabilities and is going beyond static to provide fluoro, and digital tomosynthesis.  Another upcoming modality is CT cone beam acquisition. The trend is getting more images, increasingly complicated hanging protocols, and last but not least in many cases higher patient dose. The public is demanding information about the dose. An important development is the definition of standardized dose index for DR/CR: instead of the S number, EI, etc. ,AAPM is proposing a new standard, unified among different vendors. This will allow technologists better manage and control the exposures. In addition to the emphasis on CT and fluoro dose, there is also a major initiative for pediatric imaging: Image gently: to have kid-size exposure factors, and for adults: the Image wisely campaign. AN important development is the IHE REM profile (Radiation Exposure Monitoring) which defines how modalities can accurately report the dose to reporting systems using new DICOM objects. Dr. David Weiss discussed: multimedia reporting, in particular, how the operation can become "reporting centric". The reporting system should connect with the information system, combine information with CAD and RIS. Radiologists spend sometimes up to 50% of their time  on report and not where they should spend the time, i.e. the interpretation of images. Critical result reporting has to be fast, time efficient, and require a multilevel security and audit trail support. This needs multivendor cooperation and communication, which is still a major ... Read more

Primary Healthcare Conference In Oman, Special Report…

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Healthcare service is one of the most continuously changing fields. New trends, procedures and applications are emerging every day, including combining other technologies with healthcare services for improved outcome, such as the role of information technology (IT) in enhancing healthcare services, and the use of sophisticated techniques in order to produce high quality images allowing further understanding of previously unclear mechanisms. In order to cope with these changes, Crown Plaza hotel, based in Sohar, Oman, hosted the primary health conference.  The conference was the 5th national conference and 8th Gulf Conference to be held; it was launched by the Health Minster in Oman, Dr. Ahmed bin Mohammed al Saeedi and took place for two days. The conference was organized by the directorate-General of Health Services in the Northern Batinah Region. It was carried out under the theme "Orienting primary healthcare to cope with the needs of patients and the community.” Several attendants from Oman, GCC countries and UK joined the conference. Discussions were mainly focusing on the recent challenges facing the enhancement of healthcare services, in addition to the strategies and policies carried out to involve society, individuals, government, and private sectors in order to build a partnership targeting the elevation of healthcare service levels. Moreover, the conference was aiming to meet the international approach to reform primary healthcare services according to environmental and social changes. In addition to extending and organizing the healthcare services delivered to the community, according to the requirements and expectations of its citizens. Ideas were shared between healthcare experts in the gulf area and worldwide, since the conference provided a perfect chance to share experience between the participated audiences. ... Read more

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