News Column

Patent Issued for Policy-Driven Relocation of Electronic Healthcare Records in a Network Environment

May 27, 2014



By a News Reporter-Staff News Editor at Information Technology Newsweekly -- A patent by the inventors Bennett, Craig A. (Woodstock, GA); Kol, Tomer (Yoqneam-Illit, IL); Stevens, Richard J. (Rochester, MN); Witting, Karen A. (Croton-on-Hudson, NY), filed on March 9, 2006, was published online on May 13, 2014, according to news reporting originating from Alexandria, Virginia, by VerticalNews correspondents.

Patent number 8725533 is assigned to International Business Machines Corporation (Armonk, NY).

The following quote was obtained by the news editors from the background information supplied by the inventors: "The present invention generally relates to computer databases used to store electronic records. More specifically, the present invention relates to managing the accessibility of electronic healthcare records in a distributed domain.

"When an individual visits a physician, hospital, or clinic, numerous records related to the visit may be created. Records such as lab results, x-rays and other images, prescriptions, and notes regarding treatment decisions, provide a few common examples of records that may be created as a result of a treatment encounter between a patient and a physician. Such records also often reflect the diagnosis of some disease or condition along with a prescribed course of treatment. Historically, the records related to a particular individual or treatment encounter have been maintained by the provider responsible for creating the record. For example, an individual's primary care physician typically maintains any records related to treatment encounters between the individual and the primary care physician. Thus, when an individual visits the primary care physician for an annual physical exam, the records related to the exam are created and stored at the office of the primary care physician. Similarly, if an individual receives care at an emergency room, the attendant hospital has historically maintained records of the care provided at the emergency room.

"Like records maintained for virtually every other profession, healthcare records have begun to migrate from paper to electronic forms, and computer databases are frequently used to store electronic healthcare records. Computer databases are well known systems used to store, maintain, and retrieve data. Generally, a database is a collection of data that is organized in a manner to allow its contents to be easily accessed, managed, and updated. The most prevalent type of database used today is the relational database, which organizes data using tables, and relationships between tables. For example, the DB2.RTM. family of RDBMS products (relational database management system) available from International Business Machines (IBM) provides a sophisticated commercial implementation of a relational database.

"As more and more health care providers are turning to computer databases and practice management applications to create, store, and manage patient data, the ability of providers to share electronic records with one another has become increasingly viable. Accordingly, a great deal of interest has been focused on creating regional, national, and even global networks of shared access to electronic healthcare records, and many initiatives and pilots programs are either underway or being considered. The general goal of these projects is to provide a physician rendering treatment with access to all of the relevant electronic records for a patient, regardless of the location of the records or the healthcare provider involved in treatment.

"A number of network models have been proposed to use in providing physicians with shared access to healthcare records. At one end of the spectrum is a fully centralized approach where the data records for a group of providers is stored using a data warehouse model. In a data warehouse model, data records created by many providers are stored in a centralized data center that may accessed by each of the providers. An advantage of this approach is that the data center may be optimized to meet specific quality of service targets (e.g. performance, availability, backup/recovery). At the same time, however, this model requires broad agreement among providers that all data records will be managed by a central authority; a requirement that may not be practical for electronic healthcare records. For example, issues over privacy concerns may prevent deployment of a single, nationwide electronic health record warehouse. Moreover, the scaling and reliability issues associated with a single warehouse approach are daunting. Consider, for example, how large such a warehouse would be that would contain all healthcare records for all citizens in a country as large as the United States.

"At the other end of the spectrum is a fully distributed or federated approach. A federated model integrates multiple, heterogeneous, data sources. This approach allows each provider to access records distributed across multiple database management systems as though they were stored locally at the provider. Using this approach, electronic records regarding a given patent patient may be assembled on demand to provide a complete healthcare history of the individual. However, one drawback to using a fully federated model is that users may experience inconsistent quality of service levels provided by the diverse set of data sources. Moreover, many providers may be unwilling (or unable) to manage a local infrastructure with reasonable quality of service levels. Thus, issues such as partial failures due to network connectivity and/or (un)scheduled down time may prevent a fully federated approach from being a workable approach to sharing access to electronic healthcare records.

"In between these extremes are hybrid approaches where some records may be centralized across local, state, or even national boundaries and others are stored in distributed or federated data stores. When new records are created, they may be stored in either a centralized or a local data store; however, problems may arise in deciding whether to store a particular record in a centralized or local data store. Moreover, the relative importance of a particular electronic healthcare record may change with the occurrence of contemporaneous events. Accordingly, there remains a need for techniques to manage electronic healthcare records stored using a hybrid approach; one that leverages the advantages of a centralized warehouse and the high-availability services it may provide, while still allowing at least some portion of the electronic records to remain federated across a number of distributed data nodes."

In addition to the background information obtained for this patent, VerticalNews journalists also obtained the inventors' summary information for this patent: "Embodiments of the invention provide techniques for intelligently relocating data from a collection of federated data sources to a centralized warehouse. One embodiment of the invention provides a computer-implemented method of selecting a location to store an electronic record, the method generally includes receiving the electronic record from one of a plurality of health care providers, wherein each of the plurality of health care providers maintains a local data store of electronic records, and wherein the plurality of health care providers have shared access to a centralized data store, retrieving a set of data location policies used to determine which electronic records are to be accessible from the centralized data store, and evaluating the electronic record, based on the data location policies, to determine whether the electronic record should be accessible from the centralized data store. If so, the method generally further includes storing the electronic record in the centralized data store and updating a data location registry to indicate the location of the electronic record.

"Another embodiment of the invention provides a computer-readable medium containing a program which, when executed, performs an operation for selecting a location to store an electronic record. The operation generally includes, receiving the electronic record from one of a plurality of health care providers, wherein each of the plurality of health care providers maintains a local data store of electronic records, and wherein the plurality of health care providers have shared access to a centralized data store, retrieving a set of data location policies used to determine which electronic records are to be accessible from the centralized data store, and evaluating the electronic record, based on the data location policies, to determine whether the electronic record should be accessible from the centralized data store. If so, the operation generally further includes, storing the electronic record in the centralized data store and updating a data location registry to indicate the location of the electronic record.

"Still another embodiment of the invention includes a system for storing electronic records, the system generally includes a centralized data store having respective communication links to a plurality of local data stores each maintaining electronic records, wherein each of the local data stores is maintained by a respective health care provider, each having access to electronic records stored in the centralized data store, and a data access manager configured to determine whether to store an electronic record, received from one of the health care providers, in the centralized data store.

"Still another embodiment of the invention includes computer-implemented method of providing accessibility to electronic records. The method generally includes, providing a centralized data store having communication links with a plurality of health care providers, wherein each of the plurality of health care providers maintains a local data store of electronic records, and wherein the plurality of health care providers have shared access to the centralized data store. The method generally further includes managing the accessibility of the electronic records from the centralized data store by selectively storing the electronic records of the local data stores at the centralized data store, so that each of the local data stores have access to the electronic records at the centralized data store; wherein the accessibility is managed on the basis of predefined events which cause a data manager of the centralized data store to make the electronic records of the local data stores available at the centralized data store and subsequently make the electronic records of the local data stores unavailable at the centralized data store.

"Still another embodiment of the invention provides a computer-implemented method of accessing electronic records. The method generally includes receiving, by a computer of a first health care provider, a request from a centralized data store for local electronic records stored by the computer of the first health care provider, wherein the centralized data store has communication links with respective computers of a plurality of health care providers inclusive of the first health care provider. Additionally, each of the plurality of health care providers may maintain a local data store of electronic records, the plurality of health care providers may have shared access to the centralized data store, and the centralized data store may manage the accessibility of the electronic records from the centralized data store by selectively storing the electronic records of the local data stores at the centralized data store. Further, according to the method of this embodiment, each of the plurality of health care providers may have access to the electronic records at the centralized data store, wherein the accessibility is managed on the basis of predefined events which cause a data manager of the centralized data store to make the electronic records of the respective local data stores available at the centralized data store and subsequently make the electronic records of the local data stores unavailable at the centralized data store. The method generally further includes providing the requested local electronic records to the centralized data store."

URL and more information on this patent, see: Bennett, Craig A.; Kol, Tomer; Stevens, Richard J.; Witting, Karen A.. Policy-Driven Relocation of Electronic Healthcare Records in a Network Environment. U.S. Patent Number 8725533, filed March 9, 2006, and published online on May 13, 2014. Patent URL: http://patft.uspto.gov/netacgi/nph-Parser?Sect1=PTO2&Sect2=HITOFF&p=29&u=%2Fnetahtml%2FPTO%2Fsearch-bool.html&r=1416&f=G&l=50&co1=AND&d=PTXT&s1=20140513.PD.&OS=ISD/20140513&RS=ISD/20140513

Keywords for this news article include: Hospital, Information Technology, Information and Data Management, International Business Machines Corporation.

Our reports deliver fact-based news of research and discoveries from around the world. Copyright 2014, NewsRx LLC


For more stories covering the world of technology, please see HispanicBusiness' Tech Channel



Source: Information Technology Newsweekly


Story Tools






HispanicBusiness.com Facebook Linkedin Twitter RSS Feed Email Alerts & Newsletters