Siemens is looking for a Senior Staff Software Engineer in Malvern, PA. According to the post, “The Senior Staff Software Engineer will perform analysis, design, implementation, and testing of advanced clinical informatics software and knowledge systems. The position includes being part of a small team aimed at spearheading early clinical informatics development efforts by establishing early business requirements, service and knowledge oriented architectures and rapid development of prototypes with minimal supervision. (S)he will report to the Senior Manager, R&D who is responsible for the day-to-day operations of the innovations center. ” Read more
Posts Tagged ‘healthcare’
News came this week that a man accused of defrauding a financial group out of close to a million dollars around an investment in a fictional mobile medical device tablet is scheduled to sign a plea agreement admitting that he committed mail fraud. The man, Howard Leventhal, had been promoting the Star Trek-influenced McCoy Home Health Care Tablet as a device that can instantaneously deliver detailed patient information to medical providers. (The product is discussed on the company’s still-surviving web site here.) He was arrested for the fraud in October and has been out on bail.
The interesting thing about this case is that the fake he was perpetrating isn’t very far removed from reality regarding the role mobile apps and systems will play in healthcare. There of course are plenty of mobile apps already available that help users do everything from monitoring their hearts to recording their blood-oxygen level during the night to see whether they have sleep apnea. Research and Markets, for example, says the wireless health market currently will grow to nearly $60 billion by 2018, up from $23.8 billion, with remote patient monitoring applications and diagnostics helping to drive the growth. But where things really get interesting is when mobile health takes on questions of semantic interoperability of accumulated data, and assessing its meaning.
The media has been reporting the last few hours on the Obama administration’s self-imposed deadline for fixing HealthCare.gov. According to these reports, the site is now working more than 90 percent of the time, up from 40 percent in October; that pages on the website are loading in less than a second, down from about eight; that 50,000 people can simultaneously use the site and that it supports 800,000 visitors a day; and page-load failures are down to under 1 percent.
There’s also word, however, that while the front-end may be improved, there are still problems on the back-end. Insurance companies continue to complain they aren’t getting information correctly to support signups. “The key question,” according to CBS News reporter John Dickerson this morning, “is whether that link between the information coming from the website getting to the insurance company – if that link is not strong, people are not getting what was originally promised in the entire process.” If insurance companies aren’t getting the right information for processing plan enrollments, individuals going to the doctor’s after January 1 may find that they aren’t, in fact, covered.
Jeffrey Zients, the man spearheading the website fix, at the end of November did point out that work remains to be done on the backend for tasks such as coordinating payments and application information with insurance companies. Plans are for that to be in effect by mid-January.
As it turns out, among components of its backend technology, according to this report in the NY Times, is the MarkLogic Enterprise NoSQL database, which in its recent Version 7 release also added the ability to store and query data in RDF format using SPARQL syntax.
The health care industry – and the American citizenry at large – has been focused of late on the problems surrounding the implementation of the Affordable Care Act, the federal website’s issues foremost among them. But believe it or not, there are other things the healthcare industry needs to prepare for, among them the October 1, 2014 date for replacing the World Health Organization’s International Statistical Classification of Diseases and Related Health Problems ICD-9 code sets used to report medical diagnoses and inpatient procedures by ICD-10 code sets. ICD-9 uses 14,000 diagnosis codes which will increase to 68,000 in ICD-10, which is a HIPAA (Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act) code set requirement.
Natural language processing has had the primary role in many solutions aimed at transforming large volumes of unstructured clinical data into information that healthcare IT application vendors and their hospital customers can leverage. But there’s an argument being made that understanding unstructured text of clinical notes that contain a huge stash of information and then mapping them to fine-grained ICD-10 coding schemes requires a combination of NLP, advanced linguistics, machine learning and semantic web technologies, and Amit Sheth, professor of computer science and engineering at Wright State University and director of the Kno.e.sis Center is making them. (See our story yesterday for a look at how the NLP market is evolving overall, including in healthcare.)
“ICD-10 has thousands of codes with millions of possible permutations and combinations. A rule-based approach is not effective to cover the huge number of ICD-10 codes.” Sheth says. Extracting the correct concepts, identifying the relationship between these concepts and mapping them to the correct code is a major challenge, with codes often formed by information from various sections of a clinical document that itself is subject to individual physicians’ style of recording information, among other factors.
Alme for Healthcare brings the personal virtual assistant to the disease management space. Next IT’s Alme natural language platform has a history in other sectors, including financial services, where it’s servicing loan-insurance for SWBC; transportation, where it’s enabling self-service for Alaska Airlines customers; and Aetna, where it’s supporting new user registrations, among others. In fact, Aetna is one of the customers it’s working with on the new healthcare virtual assistant that is designed to improve patient outcomes and quality of care.
The personal assistant functions in a multi-modal model, supporting both talking in natural language and typing; across multiple platforms, including smart phones and tablets; and with multi-lingual capabilities. The conversational language assistant is based on what Next IT notes is a comprehensive patient ontology, support for goal-based conversations (such as helping patients stick with treatment plans), and interactive concept illustrations (pointing out where to do at-home injections, for example).
“We’re working on disease management,” says Fred Brown, founder and CEO of Next IT. “People see their doctor every six months and then sort of forget what they’re supposed to do. So we want to provide real-time help and assistance for them, and an escalation path to a live medical professional when needed.”
KnowMED walked away the big winner of the Semantic Start-Up Competition. The Semantic Web Blog caught up with CTO Matthew Vagnoni, MS, and CEO Jerry D. Scott to further discuss the company’s winning entry, the Clinical Discovery Platform, for helping the health care sector semantically integrate data and ask natural language questions of that data, to support clinical research and complex decision-making.
The problem that the health care industry at large faces of not being able to easily and efficiently integrate and share data across organizations’ borders is equally a challenge right within the institutions themselves. “Large modern health care organizations are somewhat insular,” says Vagnoni.
At Medical City Children’s Hospital in Dallas, as an example, there are three separate electronic health record systems just for its neonatal division. The diverse formats and vocabularies made it difficult to try to ask questions of this data for research or efficiency purposes. But within two months of deploying KnowMED’s Clinical Discovery Platform, Vagnoni says, most of the data was integrated into a single view, “so clinicians could interact with it almost like using Google. …We combined the data from all the different sources so that clinicians could go in and ask questions [that reflect] how they think, not how [the information] is in the data schema.”
Susan Young of the MIT Technology Review writes, “The intensive care unit (ICU) is one of the most data-intense rooms in a hospital, but the information streaming out of heart monitors, ventilators, and pressure sensors is generally not integrated and analyzed to enable a deeper understanding of the patient’s condition. To change this, Boston-area startup Etiometry is building a clinical-decision support system that can interpret large volumes of real-time patient data and provide doctors with a snapshot view of actionable information.” Read more
ARMONK, N.Y. and SEATTLE, June 6, 2013 /PRNewswire via COMTEX/ — IBM and Brightlight today announced that Seattle Children’s Hospital is using IBM Big Data technology to improve treatment of its young patients. With over 350,000 patient visits annually and thousands of data points associated with each patient, Seattle Children’s Hospital can run queries on patient data in seconds, rather than minutes, to provide quicker, more effective care and diagnosis. Read more
What are the possibilities for RDF (Resource Description Framework) as a Universal Healthcare Exchange Language? It’s an issue to be explored next week at a SemTechBiz workshop in San Francisco.
The healthcare sector is rife with medical vocabularies and localized terminologies. In fact, says David Booth, Senior Software Architect, KnowMED, one of the leaders of the upcoming event, “some people have characterized the problem as not being one of a lack of vocabularies but of too many vocabularies.” To some extent that can’t be helped, because specific languages have grown up with various medical specialties and healthcare subdomains. What can be helped, though, is to create semantic connections among these vocabularies, to avoid the disconnects that can harm patients, researchers, and others.
[UPDATED: April 18, 2013, 11:46am]
The upcoming Semantic Technology and Business Conference in San Francisco is set to host a thought-provoking panel on RDF as a Universal Healthcare Language. The President’s Council of Advisors on Science and Technology (PCAST) identified the need for a universal healthcare exchange language as a key enabler in addressing this problem by improving healthcare data portability. Many familiar with Semantic Web technology have recognized that RDF / Linked Data would be an excellent candidate to meet this need, for both technical and strategic reasons. Although RDF is not yet well known in conventional healthcare IT, it has been beneficially used in a wide variety of applications over the past ten years — including medical and biotech applications — and would exceed all of the requirements outlined in the PCAST report. Read more
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