College of American Pathologists
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Cap Today



January 2008

Raymond D. Aller, MD
Hal Weiner

New resource directory for health care IT grants New resource directory for health care IT grants

The Healthcare IT Transition Group has introduced The Health IT Grant Resource Directory 2008, a reference guide detailing available state and national funding prospects.

The directory provides health care institutions, health information organizations, and software vendors with thousands of potential sources of funding for health information technology.

The directory is published in a searchable electronic format and is divided into five regional volumes—New England, Middle Atlantic, Southeast, Midwest, and West/Southwest. Each grant is identified as being regional, state, or national.

In addition to providing specific information about how to contact each granter, the directory offers information on grant application deadlines, whether applications are by invitation only, and how to approach private funding entities. The directory also explains how information technology vendors can help their customers secure grants.

For more information or to purchase the directory, go to

Project HealthDesign teams making hay with PHRs Project HealthDesign teams making hay with PHRs

They are the novel nine—nine innovative projects to develop the next generation of personal health records and improve specific aspects of a person’s health care.

Under a $4.1 million initiative called Project HealthDesign, nine teams, largely from universities and health care organizations nationwide, are developing unique personal health record applications. The program is funded through a grant from the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation and California HealthCare Foundation.

Prototypes of most of the teams’ designs have entered a testing phase that is scheduled to run until the conclusion of the 18-month-long program in May. A little over a year into the initiative, the projects are proceeding very well, says Patricia Flatley Brennan, RN, PhD, professor of nursing and industrial and systems engineering at the University of Wisconsin-Madison, where the project is based.

Challenges have arisen, however, in part because the new technologies were designed largely based on user input. One of the challenges, says Dr. Brennan, is getting patients to consistently document information in the course of everyday living. For example, patients may find it difficult or time consuming to record their food intake or activity levels at certain intervals. But the teams came up with creative ways to overcome such challenges, she adds. “One of our teams is using a cell phone with a camera in it to capture pictures of meals, as opposed to having people describe their meals,” she says. “Another group is using a pedometer with a Bluetooth connector so that the amount of activity a person has is able to easily be uploaded into their computer system.”

The nine projects underway are based on the following:

  • a tool that consists of a Web portal that would help sedentary adults become more physically active, developed by a team at the Research Triangle Institute, Atlanta. After inputting personal information about their activity level and lifestyle, patients receive a customized plan to increase their physical activity through small realistic and sustainable changes in their daily routine, such as taking the stairs instead of an elevator.
  • a software application to help breast cancer patients better understand and coordinate their own care, developed by a team at the University of California, San Francisco. The PHR also integrates various data, such as doctor appointments and prescriptions, into the patient’s electronic appointment calendar and provides links and prompts to additional information.
  • a portable touch-screen computerized device that would provide information on the uses and side effects of medications and help elderly patients track and organize their medications to improve transitional care. This is being developed by a team from the University of Colorado at Denver and Health Sciences Center. The medication information is transferred to the device using a scanner that reads the bar code on the medicine bottle. Future applications would, among other tasks, help patients order refills and prepare for doctor visits.
  • a personal digital assistant for managing chronic pain that is not associated with cancer, developed by a team at the University of Massachusetts Medical School, Worcester. The prototype allows users to track their pain levels on a day-to-day basis and print the data in a graph form to share with their health care providers. It also translates complicated medication regimens into clear prompts, alerting patients when it’s time to take a medication and indicating the exact dosage.
  • a computerized “conversational” assistant that provides a daily check-up at home, developed by a team at the University of Rochester, NY. The computer asks patients a series of voice-activated questions about their conditions and interprets that information to determine patient status. It also recommends personalized treatments and collects longitudinal data to share with patients and their doctors.
  • tools to help patients manage chronic illnesses by communicating with their health care pro¬viders via cell phones and the Internet, developed by a team at the University of Washington, Seattle. For diabetes patients, the team is developing a device that allows patients to record their blood glucose levels, blood pressure, food intake, and exercise levels. Users can then quickly upload this information over a cell phone to their health care providers, who can sync it over the Internet with the patient’s medical record and offer feedback and direction.
  • an application to help adolescents with chronic illnesses tran¬sition from pediatric into adult care settings so they can play a greater role in managing their health. This is being developed by the Art Center College of Design, Pasadena, Calif., Children’s Hospital of Orange County (Calif.), Stanford University School of Medicine, and Moto Development Group, San Francisco. The team is considering various health tools, such as a mood meter to track how patients feel each day and a reminder device that would prompt patients toward behaviors that would enhance their health. This project is in the predesign phase.
  • an application to help diabetics understand and track aspects of their daily self care, developed by a team at Walter Reed Army Medical Center, Washington, DC, and formerly at Joslin Diabetes Center, Boston. The team will focus on six domains of diabetes self management: nutrition/diet, physical activity, blood glucose levels, medications, emotional state, and how these domains are interrelated.
  • an application to help caretakers of children with cystic fibrosis track medications, manage refills, and perform other tasks, developed by a team at Vanderbilt University Medical Center, Nashville. The PHR application works with a device, disguised as a teddy bear or other age-appropriate entity, that dispenses medication at established intervals and notifies parents or others when medicine has or has not been taken.
  • Although the intent of Project HealthDesign is to develop the PHR of the future, some of the grantees are likely to implement their projects in the first half of this year, says Dr. Brennan. Others, such as the Art Center College of Design group, are in the research stage. “They may not have a fully formed tool for quite a while,” she says. “But I’m confident that we have a couple [of teams] that will be there pretty quick.”

    Free software for detecting infectious disease outbreaks Free software for detecting infectious disease outbreaks

    The National Institutes of Health has released a free software program, TranStat, that allows public health authorities at the site of an infectious disease outbreak to quickly analyze data.

    Users of the software, which is available at, can enter and store infectious disease data to hasten the detection and treatment of new disease cases. The data include details about infected individuals’ gender, age, and onset of symptoms; close contacts; and interventions they received. The program also prompts field personnel to enter details about exposed but uninfected people. TranStat does not collect names or other personal identifiers.

    The system uses the information it collects to statistically determine the probability that people contracted a disease from each other. TranStat also estimates in real time the average number of people one individual could infect and the rate at which that infection could occur in a particular setting.

    Aperio secures license for digital pathology technology Aperio secures license for digital pathology technology

    Aperio Technologies has obtained an exclusive worldwide license from Los Alamos National Laboratory for the use of LANL’s Genetic Imagery Exploration, or Genie Pro, image pattern recognition technology for the digital pathology market. Aperio will incorporate Genie Pro into its Spectrum digital pathology information management software, where it will serve as a preprocessing engine for various tissue scoring algorithms, such as finding tumor regions in digital immunohistochemistry slides. The company will also offer Genie Pro as a general pattern recognition tool for applications that include rare event detection, content-based image retrieval, and tissue classification.

    Aperio Technologies, Circle No. 186

    Impac donates $1.6 million e-health record system Impac donates $1.6 million e-health record system

    Impac Medical Systems has donated a $1.6 million integrated e-health record system to the Toronto-based Michener Institute for Applied Health Sciences, a post-secondary institution devoted exclusively to applied health science education. The system is a combination laboratory, radio-therapy, and hospital information system that reflects the workflow practices of health care teams in a simulated educational environment.

    Impac’s donation comprises equipment, software, professional services, and faculty training.
    “This significant investment represents a major contribution in support of Michener’s interprofessional curriculum and simulated clinical workflow,” says Paul Gamble, DrPh, president and CEO of the Michener Institute. “It’s an ideal public-private partnership where both institutions have the opportunity to learn, and together, create innovative solutions for the applied health science community.”

    Impac Medical Systems, Circle No. 187

    Dell to market InfoLogix services and technology Dell to market InfoLogix services and technology

    Dell has entered into a strategic agreement to expand its relationship with InfoLogix, a provider of wireless technology and services.

    Dell, which markets InfoLogix’s radio-frequency-identification–ready medical carts under an earlier agreement, will now offer InfoLogix’s information technology consulting services and RFID-based tracking technology.

    Dell, Circle No. 188
    InfoLogix, Circle No. 189

    Contracts Contracts

    Norman Physician Hospital Organization, Norman, Okla., has purchased licenses of eClinicalWorks’ electronic medical records software to streamline practice operations for more than 100 providers in 31 affiliated practices. EClinical Works is collaborating with the health system to create an interface with Norman’s Meditech system to streamline laboratory workflow.
    eClinicalWorks, Circle No. 190

    Thunder Bay Regional Health Sciences Centre and North York General Hospital, both in Toronto, have selected mTuitive’s xPert for Pathology synoptic reporting solution to meet Cancer Care Ontario’s 2008– 2009 CAP/CS aligned data standards for pathology reporting. The standards were developed by Cancer Care Ontario in conjunction with the College of American Path¬ologists Cancer Committee, Centers for Disease Control and Preven¬tion, and American Joint Committee on Cancer.
    mTuitive, Circle No. 191

    Saint Vincent Health System, Erie, Pa., has contracted to install TheraDoc’s Expert System Platform and Infection Control Assistant solution.
    TheraDoc, Circle No. 192

    St. Louis-based American Pathology Laboratories has contracted with WebPathLab for the vendor’s anatomic pathology computer system, also called WebPathLab.
    WebPathLab, Circle No. 193

    The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services has awarded contracts totaling $22.5 million to nine health information exchanges for trial implementations of its Nationwide Health Information Network. The awardees include:

    • CareSpark, Tricities region of eastern Tennessee and southwestern Virginia
    • Delaware Health Information Network
    • Indiana University, Indian¬a¬polis metroplex
    • Long Beach Network for Health, Long Beach and Los Angeles, Calif.
    • Lovelace Clinic Foundation, New Mexico
    • MedVirginia, central Virginia
    • New York eHealth Collaborative
    • North Carolina Healthcare Infor¬mation and Communications Alliance
    • West Virginia Health Information Network.

    The awardees will participate in the NHIN Cooperative, a collaborative effort to improve how private health information is exchanged among providers, patients, and other health care stakeholders.

    Dr. Aller is director of automated disease surveillance and team lead for disaster preparedness Focus B, Los Angeles County Department of Public Health. He can be reached at Hal Weiner is president of Weiner Consulting Services, LLC, Florence, Ore. He can be reached at