News from HIMSS

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Microsoft Corp. launched its BizTalk Accelerator for HL7, software designed to support HL7 messaging and enables sharing of patient information within and between healthcare systems and organizations.

With BizTalk Accelerator for HL7, Microsoft said that healthcare organizations can take advantage of the open HL7 standard to enable disparate line-of-business applications to exchange sets of clinical and administrative data in real-time.

The company also previewed updates - due for release in June -- that will make Microsoft Office InfoPath 2003, an information-gathering and management program, more secure and reliable. The upgrades include increased support for digital signatures; enhanced document recovery, data submission and filtering controls; additional handwriting support for PC tablets' and improved ability to handle InfoPath attachments in email.

Eclipsys Corp. showcased the latest version of its Sunrise XA Clinical Manager and previewed some additional features coming with the release of version 3.5 in June and version 4.0 in late 2004 or early 2005.

Sunrise XA allows healthcare providers immediate access to patient data from the time a patient enters the facility's emergency room through the final billing process when he or she is dismissed. The technology's workflow features include access for nurses to lab results, orders and patients specifics in real-time and an analytical component that helps a physician determine the best course of treatment relative to cost.

Upcoming enhancements to Sunrise XA include workflow features for emergency department use and a pharmacy component.

At HIMSS 2004, Eclipsys also unveiled an alliance with Wolters Kluwer Health, of Chicago. The multinational information services firm's SkolarMD and Clineguide order sets will enable Sunrise XA users to access a library of decision support materials from textbooks, drug references and healthcare databases. The company says the order sets cover 90 percent of inpatient and ambulatory conditions in medicine and pediatrics.

Extreme Networks Inc. offered its high-performance switching systems at HIMSS 2004, designed to deliver a network infrastructure required for PACS, support of IP convergence for the delivery of voice, video and data, and its Unified Access (UA) architecture for the seamless integration of wired and wireless LAN for automated patient records and bedside care.

At the conference, the company launched its new Altitude 300 wireless port, a Wi-Fi-certified dual-radio Access Point (AP) capable of concurrently supporting 802.11b/g and 802.11a connectivity with Wi-Fi Protected Access (WPA) security. The Altitude 300 works with Extreme Networks' Summit 300-48 switch, a next-generation 48 port device supporting wired and wireless networking with standards-based Power over Ethernet (PoE) and advanced management and authentication capabilities.

By the end of the year, Extreme Networks says the Altitude 300 will be compatible with all Summit models.

InSiteOne introduced a new SAN product designed to address storage requirements of large healthcare facilities, including both digital image data and enterprise-wide information storage. The new SAN option enhances the company's InDex Nearline product, which enables onsite storage for recent studies, as well as additional hospital and medical data.

The new SAN will be implemented with Hewlett-Packard Co.'s IT infrastructure.

Provox Technologies Corp. launched its VoxNotes, a speech recognition-based medical documentation and workflow management system at HIMSS 2004. Provox describes VoxNotes as a patient encounter-driven documentation technology, which joins VoxReports - designed for radiology speech recognition applications -- in the company's product portfolio.

The difference between the two products is that radiologist workflow primarily is order-driven, while VoxNotes, among its capabilities, presents a daily schedule for a physician and acts as a patient documentation checklist. Once a patient is selected, the dictate mode is activated, allowing the physician to create notes using speech recognition technology. The technology also can track system performance of the physician and the editors.

"When a physician is done," adds Stephen Rothschild, Provox's vice president of marketing, "he or she can edit it themselves or sign off, if it is complete."

VoxNotes installations were set to begin in March.

Emageon officially released its Intelligent Visual Medical Record