‘The project is a huge breakthrough in the way medical information is collected, managed and stored, not only for institutions, but first and foremost for the citizen’ – CEO Dr. Linda Harnevo of Global Medical Networks.You’ve been planning your Great Barrier Reef scuba diving getaway for months. It’s day one and you’re eager to get below the surface and view the infamous coral reefs you’ve heard so much about. But shortly after leaping from the dive deck, you discover difficulty in clearing facial pressure – two musts for eardrum and blood vessel preservation. What’s going on? Granted it’s been a few years since you’ve donned wetsuit and gear but this was never an issue in the past.
Thanks to a new Israeli innovation available in the near future, you won’t have to wait until you’re back home to troubleshoot. LifeonKey, an ‘access anywhere’ patient and medical professional retrieval system, allows the Australian doctors on your case to instantly see information regarding that bout of pneumonia and sinusitis suffered last year, which is now affecting your holiday dive expedition plans.
“The LifeonKey technology benefits everyone involved,” CEO Dr. Linda Harnevo of Global Medical Networks, developers of the technology, told ISRAEL21c. A virtual database of patient information, the idea is based upon quick and easy access of patient records using sign-up information and access codes.
“For physicians the system saves time, provides the groundwork for accurate diagnosis and reduces risks of malpractice. For the patient it provides accurate, confidential and updated records,” Harnevo elaborated.
A healthcare platform technology for patients, LifeonKey is a subsidiary technology of Global Medical Networks headquartered in Or Yehuda near Tel Aviv, and in Baltimore, Maryland, with pending satellite offices in Trieste, Italy and Bucharest, Romania.
“The project is a huge breakthrough in the way medical information is collected, managed and stored, not only for institutions, but first and foremost for the citizen,” Harnevo explained. “The health community’s dependence on medical information and communication technology is growing and our solution allows medical institutions and medical policy decision makers a tool for comprehensive management, allowing for the availability of the patient’s medical information from anywhere at any time.”
Based on the general concept of continuous assessment, the project is geared towards collecting, storing and analyzing data collected locally and comparing it with other hospitals regionally, nationally and internationally. Secure patient information can be accessed via Internet, cell phone, PDA, disk on key, etc. The ‘fact finding’ aspect of the service provides information for decision-making and research, and reduces medical errors.
And medical errors – or malpractice suits – are not to be viewed lightly. According to a report issued by The Washington Institute of Medicine, conservative estimates suggest that in US hospitals, medical error accounts for one million injuries and 100,000 deaths per year. The same report estimates the total cost of US medical error as up to $50 billion.
The development and implementation of an eHealth Patient-Centric Network based on LifeonKey aims at decreasing those statistics. Six commercial companies are participating in the venture, including Novo Nordisk Pharmaceuticals, Abbot Laboratories, Cellcom and three telemedicine companies. In the long run, LifeonKey will create an asset for worldwide medical research, expand healthcare to rural outposts and create healthier societies.
“Studies by the Institute of Medicine have shown that automating paper-based processes, adopting electronic patient medical records and empowering clinicians with wireless technology can play a significant role in increasing patient safety and the efficiency and job satisfaction of healthcare professionals,” reported IBM Global Healthcare general manager Russ Ricci. “Information technology is also considered crucial in helping hold the line on escalating healthcare costs that now stand at more than $1.4 trillion per year.”
The innovation’s testing and trial phase is also timely. US Health and Human Services Secretary Tommy G. Thompson recently released an outline for transforming US health information delivery including electronic health records and a new network to link health records.
“Electronic health information will provide a quantum leap in patient power, doctor power, and effective health care. We can’t wait any longer,” Thompson told press.
The LifeonKey initial target markets include Europe and the US with partners on both major continents. Professor Moshe Hod, director of Rabin Medical Center maternal fetal division and participant in the LifeOnKey venture, praises the innovation calling it “…just the beginning” of improved medical and patient care treatment worldwide.