Massachusetts General Hospital to "DXplain" patient diagnosis via Web-based tool

Irving 12 January 2000Expanding its extensive range of interactive patient care solutions, HEALTHvision, a major health care Internet company, has closed a strategic licensing agreement with the Massachusetts General Hospital (MGH) to add DXplain, a clinical diagnostic decision-support tool, to its interactive patient care solutions. Developed by Massachusetts General Hospital's Laboratory of Computer Science, DXplain is a Web-based application with the features of both an electronic medical textbook and a medical reference system. The reference tool contains a database of more than 2000 different diseases and related symptoms, signs and laboratory test findings, and provides extensive reference information to support doctors in their diagnostic decision-making.

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HEALTHvision is making the DXplain tool available through its healthsystem.com's solution suite, allowing the local health care delivery system to create customised, branded Web-based applications which deliver health care information to key stakeholders across the extended enterprise. DXplain provides more extensive diagnostic support to physicians at the point of care. In addition to offering powerful medical reference information for seasoned clinicians, this interactive system also is an effective learning mechanism for teaching facilities.

"DXplain offers quick and easy access to a vast database of disease information that is vital in the diagnostic process", said Stephen J. Sullivan, M.D., vice president of product development at HEALTHvision. "This powerful tool enhances HEALTHvision's interactive health care solutions package, providing clinicians to access the information to more easily make the most effective diagnosis at the point of care."

To use the system, doctors enter demographic characteristics of a patient - such as gender and age - and select the symptoms and physical findings they exhibit from an extensive database. DXplain matches the symptoms with possible diagnoses to assist the physician in the patient care process. In addition to the suggested list of diagnoses which could be associated with the clinical manifestations, DXplain provides physicians with etiology and pathology on each specific disease, and establishes hyperlinks to abstracts of selected relevant references from the Medline database at the NLM, the U.S. National Library of Medicine.

Since it is a Web-based application, DXplain requires no special hardware, software or computer training. Users only need Internet access, Windows 95/98 or NT and a latest version Internet browser to access this powerful diagnostic engine. Although DXplain is not able to offer definitive medical consultation and should not be used to replace the diagnosis of a licensed health care professional, it is an extremely powerful tool that has been used by thousands of physicians and medical students for more than 12 years.

HEALTHvision, a privately held company based in Texas, was formed in July 1999 through the merger of the Internet-based products and resources of Eclipsys Corporation and VHA Inc., resulting in an initial customer base of more than 2000 health care organisations. With its truly groundbreaking e-healthSOURCE infrastructure, HEALTHvision has leveraged the Internet to improve relationships among consumers, patients, physicians, and their local health care delivery systems.

Established in 1811, the Massachusetts General Hospital is the third oldest general hospital in the United States and also the oldest and largest in New England. The 850-bed, world-renowned medical centre offers sophisticated diagnostic and therapeutic care in virtually every speciality of medicine and surgery. Each year, the MGH admits approximately 36.000 inpatients and handles more than one million visits in its extensive outpatient programmes at the main campus and at its four health centres, in the Back Bay, Chelsea, Charlestown, and Revere. Its Emergency Department handles nearly 65.000 visits annually. Annually, the expert surgical staff performs nearly 30.000 operations, whereas the MGH Vincent Obstetrics Service delivers over 2700 babies a year.

The MGH conducts the largest hospital-based research programme in the United States, with an annual research budget of more than $215 million. It is the oldest and largest teaching hospital of Harvard Medical School, and nearly all of the hospital's active staff physicians are on the Harvard Medical School faculty. The hospital has more than 10.000 employees, including a 3700-member medical staff, consisting of physicians, dentists, psychologists, podiatrists, residents and fellows, and has a nursing staff of 2300. The MGH has been named one of the country's best hospitals by U.S. News and World Report, ranking third nationwide for the seventh consecutive year.


Leslie Versweyveld

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