News Column

Patent Issued for Systems, Apparatus, and Methods for Developing Patient Medical History Using Hierarchical Relationships

August 5, 2014



By a News Reporter-Staff News Editor at Information Technology Newsweekly -- From Alexandria, Virginia, VerticalNews journalists report that a patent by the inventors Padate, Priya Balvant (Palatine, IL); Vassa, Ashish (Palatine, IL); Chu, Jeff (Buffalo Grove, IL); Jain, Nikhil (Barrington, IL); Brown, George (Boston, MA), filed on November 25, 2009, was published online on July 22, 2014.

The patent's assignee for patent number 8788287 is General Electric Company (Schenectady, NY).

News editors obtained the following quote from the background information supplied by the inventors: "The present disclosure generally relates to systems, methods, apparatus, and articles of manufacture to process electronic patient information. More particularly, certain examples provide systems, methods, apparatus, and articles of manufacture to provide access to and graphical representations of relationships between patients and link electronic information related to those patients.

"Healthcare environments, such as hospitals or clinics, include information systems, such as hospital information systems (HIS), radiology information systems (RIS), clinical information systems (CIS), and cardiovascular information systems (CVIS), and storage systems, such as picture archiving and communication systems (PACS), library information systems (LIS), and electronic medical records (EMR). Information stored may include patient medical histories, imaging data, test results, diagnosis information, management information, insurance information, and/or scheduling information, for example. The information may be centrally stored or divided at a plurality of locations. Healthcare practitioners may desire to access patient information or other information at various points in a healthcare workflow.

"Efforts are underway nationally to connect healthcare information systems and make them interoperable in a secure, sustainable, and standards-based manner. However, the required information infrastructure is still under development, both for the National Health Information Network (NHIN) led by the federal government, as well as for the many small Regional Health Information Organizations (RHIOs) across the nation. Many challenges remain for health information exchange in the United States and elsewhere. Additionally, there is a need for standardization and interoperability of healthcare information among participants in exchange networks. Furthermore, there is a need for systems providing centralization versus distributed data architectures.

"In the current medical environment, access to patient medical records is cumbersome and fragmented. Typically, medical records are maintained at individual clinics. If a patient visits more than one clinic, a patient may have a plurality of medical records. For example, a patient may visit a first clinic and create a first medical record and the patient may subsequently visit a second clinic and create a second medical record. If the second clinic does not have access to the first medical record, the examination and diagnosis at the second clinic may be duplicative and inefficient.

"The lack of comprehensive medical records is also duplicative and inefficient for the patient. For example, a patient typically fills out similar forms at each clinic the patient attends. The patient may fill out a form with the patient's medical history, various conditions, allergies, heredity information, or other information. The individual clinic then maintains their own record for the patient. As a patient may visit a plurality of clinics in his or her life, the patient may repeatedly fill out the same information. In some circumstances, the patient may not fill out the same information, and various medical records at different clinics may contain partial and/or out-of-date information.

"In addition, the decentralized nature of patient medical record information is perpetuated by entities other than medical clinics. For example, medical record information may be maintained by insurance entities, pharmaceutical entities, and/or laboratory entities. An update of the patient medical record at any one of these entities does not ensure the other entities are updated. Accordingly, the patient medical record information differs depending on the entity. Accordingly, it is difficult to locate a medical record that is completely up-to-date, and a treating physician may not be able to obtain a complete picture of a patient's health prior to treatment. Additionally, as a consequence of patient information being decentralized and a patient not having access to his or her patient medical record information, the information available to a patient regarding his or her health status is typically of a general nature."

As a supplement to the background information on this patent, VerticalNews correspondents also obtained the inventors' summary information for this patent: "Certain examples provide systems, methods, apparatus, and articles of manufacture to provide access to and graphical representations of relationships between patients and link electronic information related to those patients.

"In some examples, an apparatus provides access to electronic health information for a first patient and one or more patients connected by relationship to the first patient. The apparatus includes a first patient indicator representing a first patient and providing a link to electronic health information for the first patient, the electronic health information to be accessible to a user by selecting the first patient indicator. The apparatus includes a second patient indicator representing a second patient and providing a link to electronic health information for the second patient. The apparatus includes a connection providing a graphical indication of a relationship between the first patient and the second patient and connecting electronic health information for the second patient for access in connection with electronic health information for the first patient. The connection is to provide a graphical indication of a priority of the relationship between the first patient and the second patient based on a defined relationship hierarchy. The apparatus includes a graphical indication of a type of relationship between the first patient and the second patient. The first patient indicator, the second patient indicator, the connection, and the graphical relationship indicator are displayed for user interaction together on a display via a user interface.

"In some examples, a tangible computer-readable storage medium includes a set of instructions for execution on a processor. The set of instructions, when executed, implement a system for graphical display of and access to electronic health information for a first patient and one or more patients connected by relationship to the first patient. The system includes a first patient indicator representing a first patient and providing a link to electronic health information for the first patient, the electronic health information to be accessible to a user by selecting the first patient indicator. The system includes a second patient indicator representing a second patient and providing a link to electronic health information for the second patient. The system includes a connection providing a graphical indication of a relationship between the first patient and the second patient and connecting electronic health information for the second patient for access in connection with electronic health information for the first patient. The connection is to provide a graphical indication of a priority of the relationship between the first patient and the second patient based on a defined relationship hierarchy. The system includes a graphical indication of a type of relationship between the first patient and the second patient. The first patient indicator, the second patient indicator, the connection, and the graphical relationship indicator are displayed for user interaction together on a display via a user interface.

"In some examples, a computer-implemented method for graphically displaying and providing access to electronic health information for a first patient and one or more patients connected by relationship to the first patient. The method includes generating and displaying a first patient indicator representing a first patient and providing a link to electronic health information for the first patient, the electronic health information to be accessible to a user by selecting the first patient indicator. The method includes generating and displaying a second patient indicator representing a second patient and providing a link to electronic health information for the second patient. The method includes providing a graphical indication of a relationship between the first patient and the second patient using a graphical connection between the first patient indicator and the second patient indicator and linking electronic health information for the second patient for access in connection with electronic health information for the first patient, the connection to provide a graphical indication of a priority of the relationship between the first patient and the second patient based on a defined relationship hierarchy. The method includes generating and displaying a graphical indication of a type of relationship between the first patient and the second patient. The first patient indicator, the second patient indicator, the connection, and the graphical relationship indicator are displayed for user interaction together on a display via a user interface."

For additional information on this patent, see: Padate, Priya Balvant; Vassa, Ashish; Chu, Jeff; Jain, Nikhil; Brown, George. Systems, Apparatus, and Methods for Developing Patient Medical History Using Hierarchical Relationships. U.S. Patent Number 8788287, filed November 25, 2009, and published online on July 22, 2014. Patent URL: http://patft.uspto.gov/netacgi/nph-Parser?Sect1=PTO1&Sect2=HITOFF&d=PALL&p=1&u=%2Fnetahtml%2FPTO%2Fsrchnum.htm&r=1&f=G&l=50&s1=8788287.PN.&OS=PN/8788287RS=PN/8788287

Keywords for this news article include: Medical Records, Records as Topic, Information Technology, General Electric Company, Information and Data Systems.

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Source: Information Technology Newsweekly


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