In a brazen attempt to change the way doctors view patients’ medical records, IBM is using virtual avatars to display location-sensitive information derived from the EMR. We imagine one day we’ll all be 3-D laser digitized, MRI’ed, and our own imagery integrated with something like this.
“It’s like Google Earth for the body,” said IBM Researcher Andre Elisseeff, who leads the healthcare projects at IBM’s Zurich Research Lab. “In hopes of speeding the move toward electronic healthcare records, we’ve tried to make information easily accessible for healthcare providers by combining medical data with visual representation, making it as simple as possible to interact with data that can improve patient care.”
For example, when a patient visits a doctor’s office today and complains of back pain, the doctor will ask the patient about any history the patient can recall, do tests, and visually and physically examine the patient. After that, the doctor will usually sort through stacks of paper records but will most likely not have access to the full patient history and similar complaints.
The ASME 3-D avatar will allow doctors to click on the 3-D avatar of the human body-here the spine-and instantly see all the available medical history and information related to that patient’s spine, including text entries, lab results and medical images such as radiographs or MRIs. Or the doctor might be interested only in information related to a particular part of the heart; in this case, the practitioner can zoom in, narrowing the search parameters by time or other factors.
Using advanced machine learning and state-of-the-art 3-D modeling techniques, the IBM researchers are working to overcome key technical challenges including integrating heterogeneous data sources and complex text-based information–so-called unstructured data–and linking that data to the anatomical model in a meaningful and easy-to-navigate way. ASME also uses SNOMED, the systemized nomenclature of medicine that encompasses approximately 300,000 medical terms, to create a bridge between graphical concepts and text documents.
IBM press release: IBM Research unveils 3-D avatar to help doctors visualize patient records and improve care …
ScienceRoll interview with Andre Elisseeff from IBM Zurich Research Laboratory…
(hat tip: ScienceRoll)