Medical Device Dailys

A real-world performance test of a web-based personal health record from e-health specialist InterComponentWare (ICW; Walldorf, Germany) demonstrated the scalability of the company's LifeSensor suite of hardware and software by simulating accessibility to millions of records by 10,000 users while simultaneously handling requests from 20,000 doctors and pharmacists.

The performance test conducted by the Hewlett Packard European Performance and Benchmark Center (Boeblingen, Germany) showed system performance remained stable at a peak-load performance capacity of 700 simultaneous record accesses.

ICW said this performance level means that over a prolonged period up to 8,500 users could process personal health records at any given moment.

During the 10-day test period, simulated users entered or updated records for their most recent medical appointments and created new appointments while doctors processed larger amounts of data while synchronizing their patients' personal health records with their own local patient documentation systems.

The test across a database of 10 million personal health records, followed the strict German data protection requirements where only patients have access to their personal information but may also permit their doctor, pharmacists, hospitals or other healthcare providers to use the data.

The LifeSensor performance test scenario also served as a validation and demonstration of the Hewlett Packard infrastructure for health informatics.

Response times were stable and consistent at less than two seconds, according to the ICW report that characterized the test scenario as "extreme conditions" for verifying capacity, performance and scalability.

The LifeSensor software suite also met security requirements set for the performance test, according to ICW.

ICW currently provides consulting services for the implementation of the electronic health card in Germany, is involved in the Austrian eCard project and recently won the pilot project for the national health card in Bulgaria.

UK firm adds genotyping software

Tepnel Life Sciences (Manchester, UK/Stamford, Connecticut) and SoftGenetics (State College, Pennsylvania) have entered into an agreement to market and distribute SoftGenetics' GeneMarker genotyping software for use with Tepnel's Elucigene QST*R products.

The Elucigene QST*R kits are a line of rapid DNA diagnostic tests that use STR markers to detect the three most common viable autosomal trisomies: trisomy 21 (Down syndrome), trisomy 18 (Edwards syndrome) and trisomy 13 (Patau syndrome).

The companies said the combination of GeneMarker software with QST*R will "considerably streamline the data analysis process and results-reporting time for users of the Elucigene diagnostic test kits."

Tepnel, which has laboratories, manufacturing and operations in the UK, U.S. and France, focuses on high-growth niche opportunities within molecular diagnostic and biomedical research markets with its test kits, reagents and services.

SoftGenetics specializes in genotyping software. Its GeneMarker product is compatible with electrophoresis systems from Applied Biosystems (Foster City, California), GE Healthcare Life Sciences (Uppsala, Sweden), Beckman Coulter (Fullerton, California) and SpectruMedix (State College).

UK funds £1M grant for end-of-life research

UK Care Services Minister Ivan Lewis last week reported a £1 million grant to help build what he said is the world's first institute for research into end-of-life care.

The Cicely Saunders Institute for Palliative Care will enable researchers in the field to work alongside each other in a purpose-built building for the first time and to both deliver palliative care solutions to patients and provide education, patient information and support.

This project follows on the recently launched End of Life Care Strategy, backed with £ 286million of UK government funding. Lewis said the grant is part of the government's commitment to provide high-quality care for all adults approaching the end of their life.

Cicely Saunders International is working in partnership with King's College London to build the new institute. Cicely Saunders International was set up in 2002 to promote and carry out research, teaching and training into palliative care. Based at Kings College Hospital in southeast London, the organization is internationally recognized in palliative care research.

The new building, which is scheduled to be finished by November 2009, will bring together academicians, healthcare professionals, community organizations, patients and caregivers. The Department of Health grant will help meet the costs of constructing and fitting the institute with teaching space for researchers and students, as well as public spaces for patients and healthcare professionals.

The institute will provide the capacity to increase the numbers of doctors and nurses trained at Kings College London in best practices in end-of-life care, with facilities for research to discover better ways to care for patients at home, support caregivers and prevent and control symptoms.

Lewis said, "People coming to the end of their lives and their loved ones deserve high-quality, compassionate and dignified care, on their own terms. This new funding will help to make this a reality and signals our determination to build up research and increase the evidence base underpinning end-of-life care services."

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