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A healthcare software solution to improve follow-up care of patients

Monitoring patients once they have left hospital is a vital part of follow-up care, but many small clinics and hospitals find it difficult to provide.

EUREKA's MADISON project has developed a new computer package which will give small institutions the technical means to improve follow-up of outpatients by accessing the servers of larger hospitals. Using the new software, they can access and use the data held in the larger institutions to better follow patients' medical and nutritional care and to set up automated prescription services.

The project focused in particular on nutritional follow-up, so the software could be used to monitor diabetes in children or other illnesses where diet is all-important. This could, for example, help to reduce the long term complications caused by diabetes such as damage to the eyes, nerves and kidneys.

"Nutrition is of critical importance for certain patients," says Bernard d'Oriano, Managing Director of Fichier Selection Informatique, the French company leading the project. This is increasingly the case given Europe's ageing population.

"Elderly people can become malnourished very quickly, even if they are still eating and can become critically ill within the space of three weeks." This is a common problem, but one that requires hospitalisation, a costly process that can take weeks. Using this new computing tool, the patient's doctor could alert the hospital when they think the patient is in danger and the hospital could help to monitor the patient's diet.

The MADISON project also developed a new software package that allows doctors to send prescription orders electronically. "The doctor at the patient's bedside enters the prescription onto a laptop or a PDA (Personal Digital Assistant) and sends it via the Internet directly to the hospital's in-house pharmacy," explains Philippe Corteil, Managing Director of the Belgian partner, Medical Business Channel.

The pharmacy can then instantly dispense the medicine and keep an accurate account of both what is going to the patient and the stock available in the pharmacy. At the same time, it enables the prescribing doctor to see what other medicines have been prescribed for the patient and to be alerted if there is a potential clash of medicines.

For d'Oriano, being part of a EUREKA project was advantageous in several ways. "Above all, it brought me the means a loan, as well as a Belgian technical partner with whom we were able to work, and a certain reputation and recognition," he says.

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EUREKA is
A European network for market-oriented R&D
- strengthening European competitiveness
- promoting innovation in market-oriented collaborative projects
- involving industry, research institutes and universities across Europe
- resulting in innovative products, processes and services.

Source : Eureka