Doctor Do Little - InformationWeek

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Software // Information Management

Doctor Do Little

6.45 million. That's how many iPods Apple Computer sold from June to September, some as large as 60 Gbytes.

100,000. That's how many smart cards, with 32 Kbytes of storage and basic medical information like name and address, prescriptions, allergies, and recent lab results, that Mount Sinai Medical Center and eight affiliated hospitals hope to issue next spring. The mobile data revolution isn't exactly taking the medical world by storm, but innovators like these around New York City are needed to prove the value and help drive progress.

The cards have a patient's photo and a microchip to hold data. They're read by devices attached to PCs, requiring patients to enter a PIN to access data. The project builds on a smart-card pilot program launched in 2003 by Elmhurst Hospital, an affiliate of Mount Sinai. For this effort, Siemens and Mount Sinai are co-developing card technology that Siemens plans to sell to others. The project represents the largest medical smart-card program to date and could eventually cover all the facilities' 500,000 patients. It also could serve as a model for a regional health information network effort, says Paul Contino, Mount Sinai's VP of IT.

Nothing wrong with thinking big. Someday, people may take access to and control of their medical records as seriously as they do Desperate Housewives reruns on a video iPod.

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