Past Meetings

New Healthcare Technology Stimulated by Defense and Homeland Security

7/18/03  Back

Health Tech Net’s monthly meeting started with general announcements from its members. Members are encouraged to participate within subcommittees of their interest. The Privacy and Security Committee will be having their first meeting on July 21st, and the Open Source Task Force continues to hold its monthly meetings before each month’s Health Tech Net meeting. 

Dr. Nicholas Guzman, Senior Associate for the Center for Emergency Preparedness at George Washington University spoke about the use of information technology in homeland security, particularly in prevention, detection, response and recovery in natural or man-made public health emergencies. One example of information technology in detection is the Biological Aerosol Sentry and Information Systems (BASIS). BASIS detects airborne biological incidents for special events (i.e. large assemblies, dignitary meetings, major sporting events, etc. ) by placing sensors in and around potential target areas. Another example of the use information technology in homeland security issues is the “ESSENSE” system that surveys patterns of symptoms and identifies those symptoms that may express an agent (i.e. anthrax or SARS) attacking an organism. Groupings of symptoms interact with ESSENSE technology to determine an attacking agent. ESSENSE monitors abnormal occurrences of symptoms to detect possible biological attacks.

Dr. Dean Scribner of the Naval Research Lab spoke about advanced neural electronic interfaces. Specifically, he described the use of silicon chip technology in retinal prosthesis. This technology aids blind patients to re-gain sight. The technology involves the use of infrared imaging devices.

Claudia Tessier, Executive Director of MoCHA (Mobile Healthcare Alliance), described the CCR, or Continuity of Care Record, which is a standard specification being developed jointly by ASTM International, the Massachusetts Medical Society, and HIMSS (Health Information Management and Systems Society). She discussed new standards-development efforts to create a vendor and technology neutral patient dataset to be used at the end of each provider/patient encounter. The purpose of the system would be to avoid medical errors, and eliminate duplicate testing and guesswork. This way, providers would be able to access basic information about the patient, and the information can be easily updated should the patient change providers. The database would contain information on allergies, health care plans, and reasons for patient transfers. The effects of the database would be to increase quality of care, improve efficiency and decrease costs. The CCR website can be accesses at