An HIT

Hypercom (Scottsdale, Arizona) reported the introduction of its medMobile terminal in Germany as part of its global initiative for high-security electronic health card systems.

The mobile device, which the company refers to as "ultra secure," is specifically designed to support the thousands of physicians who make house calls/visits throughout Germany.

This is Hypercom's fourth healthcare device released in support of Germany's e-Health card program. It said that with this new product, it becomes the only transaction solutions provider offering what it terms "a complete family of high security data transaction products for German doctors, dentists, hospitals, pharmacies and other healthcare service providers."

Ulf Hönick, vice president, healthcare, for Hypercom, said, "Germany is initiating a sweeping advanced technology e-health system that will speed and streamline the delivery of vital data and significantly reduce the cost of the healthcare system. Hypercom is providing state-of-the-art high security systems and our unparalleled expertise to support Germany's migration to its new health card."

He added, "Our Germany-specific and global skill in healthcare data security and efficiency well positions us to expand our support for the migration to highly secure electronic health systems and programs."

In addition to medMobile, Hypercom's secure medLine product family for the German e-health card program includes the medCompact countertop, the medHybrid for data authentication and payment and the medModular unattended unit.

Hypercom's German base of operations is in Bad Hersfeld.

Germany's e-Health card program is one of the largest e-health IT projects worldwide, with a planned deployment of more than 80 million electronic health insurance cards. In addition to Germany, Hypercom's solutions facilitate electronic health care in a number of other countries, including Australia, France and the U.S.

NHS reports £220M fund to encourage innovation

A £220 million fund will be made available to encourage innovation within the NHS, Health Minister Lord Darzi said, during an event at the Science Museum in London yesterday to mark the launch of 'Innovation for a Healthier Future,' a series of initiatives to nurture and reward innovation within the NHS.

Building on the government's commitment to create an innovative health service, England's ten Strategic Health Authorities (SHAs) will each receive £2 million this year, and £5 million in each of the following four years to support frontline NHS staff in developing innovative ideas. The cash will be invested directly into a combination of projects on the ground and at regional level, speeding up the time it takes for innovative solutions to get from design bench to NHS bedside, the organization said. This will benefit patients directly and increase the quality of the care they receive, it added.

Many innovative ideas in the NHS risk not being developed due to a lack of funding. The fund has been made available to help bring these ideas about and empower the inspiration of the 1.3 million NHS staff and their colleagues in social care who make a difference each day to people's lives.

"This announcement is a huge step forward in implementing the recommendations set out last summer in my strategy on the future of the NHS," said Darzi "NHS staff have told me that accessing the funds to make ideas become reality can be a struggle and as a result, many great ideas never get realized. That is why I am delighted to announce that we now have a £220 million innovation fund available to get those ideas off the bench and to patient bedsides, day centers or GP surgeries."

St. Jude garners CE mark for Merlin.net PCN

St. Jude Medical (St. Paul, Minnesota) reported CE-mark approval of its Merlin.net Patient Care Network (PCN).

Merlin.net PCN is a secure, Internet-based remote care system that gathers and stores data from the implant procedure, a clinic follow-up visit or from remote follow-up transmissions of patients with implanted cardiac devices. The system includes a range of features designed to improve clinic efficiency and to enhance patient care by giving physicians better and more immediate access to information. With its open architecture and standards-based interface, Merlin.net PCN can be fully integrated with all standard electronic health record (EHR) systems in hospital or clinic settings.

Until recently, the only way for physicians to check on their patients' devices was for a patient to come to their clinic in person. Now, information from a patient's implanted device can be transmitted remotely from the comfort of a patient's home. St. Jude Medical patients with compatible devices can use the Merlin@home transmitter to send data directly from their devices to Merlin.net PCN. Physicians can even use Merlin.net PCN to schedule the remote follow-up to take place at night, while the patient is sleeping.

Remote monitoring provides daily checks on the patient's device. If the check reveals an event that may require timely intervention, an alert will be posted on Merlin.net PCN and transmitted to the physician via email, fax or SMS text. Merlin.net PCN offers a set of flexible tools that allow the physician to choose when, where and how alerts are communicated during off-clinic hours, including the transfer of alerts to after hours support services. Alert-triggering events are not restricted to device performance, but also include clinical episodes such as atrial tachycardia (AT), atrial fibrillation (AF), and ST segment change notifications for remote disease management.

"The success of Merlin.net PCN in the United States has been built through a combination of tools that offer physicians more control over their patients' device monitoring and features that help their clinics run more efficiently," said Eric Fain, MD, president of the St. Jude Medical Cardiac Rhythm Management Division. "We are delighted to now offer these benefits to our customers and to patients in Europe."

Merlin.net PCN will be launched in Europe this spring.

Gemalto launches Sealys terminal

Gemalto (Amsterdam, the Netherlands), a leading digital security company, reported the launch of its Sealys e-health terminal, specially designed for the German market. The company said the Gemalto terminal is "remarkably compact and offers a large display for greater ergonomics."

The product has been approved by Gematik, the authority in charge of defining and approving the healthcare infrastructure in Germany, establishing that it meets the security requirements of the country's e-healthcare system.

Gemalto said the new product is "fully and immediately operational with the current healthcare system" in Germany, and also has all the necessary features to operate in online mode in the future German Telematik infrastructure, due to be implemented in 2010.

New services available via the terminal include access to a patient's electronic medical file and emergency data such as blood group, allergies and ongoing treatment records. Doctors also will be able to issue electronic prescriptions that facilitate data exchange with pharmacists and reduce fraud, while eliminating paperwork.

The Gemalto terminal offers optional connection of biometric and contactless devices, allowing doctors to sign e-prescriptions using their fingerprint or any contactless device.

"Our customers will benefit from perfect interoperability along with deep knowledge of the application, and not simply from a terminal point of view as any hardware vendor," said Jacques Seneca, executive vice president of the Security Business Unit for Gemalto. "This new release has been developed to incorporate the latest technological advances requested by German health professionals."

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