CM HealthCare Resources and VA Connecticut Healthcare System to test new Panasonic tele-homecare system

New York 03 August 2000Matsushita Electric Industrial Co. Ltd., best known in the United States for its Panasonic brand name, has developed a new Web-based tele-homecare solution which will allow patients to measure their vital signs and give doctors and other health care professionals the ability to remotely access this critical patient information quickly and easily. Secaucus, the New Jersey-based Matsushita Electric Corporation of America will begin testing the system, under an Investigational Device Exemption (IDE), to determine its feasibility and develop performance specifications.

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The system is designed to be able to link patients and their doctors or other health care professionals by various access technologies, such as DSL or cable modem, as well as telephone service over the Internet. The newly developed system will be IDE-tested by the VA Connecticut Healthcare System, a division of the VA New England Healthcare Network which provides integrated health care for veterans in Connecticut and southern New England, and by CM HealthCare Resources, a specialist in disease state management and alternate site health care, located in the Midwest.

In the newly developed system, an Active Server makes possible a wide range of sophisticated functions for the patient without requiring any knowledge of computers. The Active Server informs the patient which sensor to use to monitor which vital sign at a particular time based on the individual plan drawn up by the patient's doctor or other health care professional. When a patient's vital sign data exceeds the normal range specified individually by the doctor, the Active Server alerts the patient's doctor or nurse. In addition, thanks to the Active Server, patient-specific features, such as questions addressed to the patient or directions on which vital sensors to use, change to adapt to the patient's own individual situation.

"In providing technologies to improve the state of tele-homecare, Panasonic is pleased to be working with CM HealthCare Resources Inc., and the VA Connecticut Healthcare System, two of the most respected health organisations in the country", stated Dr. Paul Liao, chief technology officer, Matsushita Electric Corporation of America. "Through our technology, we hope to provide the home health care industry with the tools that may help in the management of chronic illness."

The Panasonic tele-homecare system supports home health care by enabling doctors and administrators remote access to accumulated patient data crucial to the management of a patient's health. Comprised of three different components, being Patient Terminal, Active Server and Doctor Terminal or Central Nursing Station, a system based on these novel technologies can potentially provide a cost-effective supplement to home health care services.

The Patient Terminal measures patient vital signs using a thermometer, blood pressure/pulse, blood sugar, oxygen saturation sensors, stethoscope, and an electrocardiograph device. The Patient Terminal features a large, easy to use, graphic-interactive touch screen, a video camera, and a voice and picture navigation system. The system's alert functions remind patients of their schedule to measure vital signs and other activities. In addition, the Patient Terminal's alert system notifies the physician or nurse when the patient's vital signs measurements are abnormal.

The Doctor Terminal or Central Nursing Station enables a health care professional to browse and observe patient data stored on the server as well as to communicate with the patient. Through the Doctor Terminal, a physician may transmit medical advice and information through e-mail and communicate with the patient by means of a videophone.

"We at CM HealthCare Resources are very excited about using this Panasonic technology for telehealth systems, because it will give our nurses a cutting-edge tool in providing the best patient care, wherever patients are located, home, work or school", commented Judy Hicks, President, CM HealthCare Resources. "Our Central Nursing Station will receive timely, accurate data, which will allow our nursing staff to make quick decisions on treatment and care. CM HealthCare Resources nursing expertise utilising Panasonic's telehealth technology is truly a revolution in the health care marketplace."

CM HealthCare Resources Inc., a national provider of alternate site health care, uses cutting edge technology and proven clinical pathways focused on improving clinical and financial outcomes. CM HealthCare Resources was among the first to successfully deploy home telemedicine and has been internationally acknowledged as leader in this field. CM HealthCare Resources develops customised health care programmes for Fortune 500 companies, serving patients of all ages residing throughout the United States. Established in 1985 by Children's Memorial Medical Center in Chicago, CM HealthCare provides regional support to physicians, hospitals and payers and offers a complete spectrum of services to patients and families.

VA Connecticut Healthcare System, which is a Division of the New England Healthcare Network, is an integrated health care delivery system that serves the veterans of Connecticut and southern New England. VA Connecticut Healthcare System is anchored by the West Haven facility, which is the tertiary referral site for ambulatory care, acute medical, surgical and mental health services.

Panasonic is the best known brand of Secaucus, the New Jersey-based Matsushita Electric Corporation of America, the principal North American subsidiary of Matsushita Electric Industrial Co. Ltd. of Japan. Matsushita Electric is one of the world's leading developers and manufacturers of digital and other electronic products for the home, the office and in between.


Leslie Versweyveld

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