Isabel tool to deliver on-line diagnostic support in paediatrics

Cambridge 17 June 2002Autonomy Corporation plc has launched the Isabel clinical decision support system for medical professionals, which is based on Autonomy's sophisticated infrastructure software. Isabel aims to bridge the knowledge gap that exists in many health systems, notably that most of the critical knowledge and experience resides with senior consultants in hospitals and not with the doctors who first examine patients.


Isabel is a free of charge on-line clinical decision support system which is available to all registered health professionals, providing critical support in areas such as diagnosis, treatment guidelines and shared experience. Isabel, which currently concentrates on paediatrics, also offers an annotated image library, allowing users to compare their patients' visible symptoms with those available on the site, and consequently assist them in making a potentially life-saving diagnosis.

Autonomy donated its pattern matching software to the Isabel Medical Charity to enable fast, accurate assistance for all medical professionals, who often do not have the benefit of the more specialist knowledge required to make accurate diagnoses. Applying Autonomy's pattern matching software to medical textbooks enables Isabel to deliver a fast and practical differential diagnostic tool.

When using Isabel, the doctor simply needs to type in a patient's symptoms from which the Autonomy software will extract the key ideas before searching Isabel's extensive library of content to find a similar combination of symptoms, and consequently suggesting a range of relevant diagnoses. In essence, this mimics the doctor's existing and intuitive diagnostic process, the difference being that the system's base of textbook knowledge is far larger than can readily be stored in the human brain. Its performance is also unaffected by tiredness and overwork.

The charity's goals are primarily to reduce the number of children becoming seriously ill as a result of incorrect or delayed diagnosis, and to increase survival chances of sick children by ensuring that suitable treatment is administered immediately as a result of ready availability of expert guidelines compiled by acknowledged experts in specific fields of medicine. Even before its public launch, Isabel has attracted over 3000 users and already has extensive support from within the medical profession and the British Department of Health.

Mike Lynch, founder and CEO of Autonomy Corporation, commented: "Autonomy is delighted to be supporting the Isabel Medical Charity. Isabel will offer a critical resource to help doctors reduce the risk of error in the diagnosis of children's illnesses, and encourage dissemination of knowledge within the medical profession." Jason and Charlotte Maude, founders of the Isabel Medical Charity, stated: "Isabel has only been made possible by the use of Autonomy's software and as a small charity, we could not have developed the system in such a short space of time without the generous donation from Autonomy for which we are very grateful."

Autonomy's unique Intelligent Data Operating Layer (IDOL) integrates unstructured, semi-structured, and structured information from multiple repositories through an understanding of the content. At the heart of Autonomy's software is its ability to analyse text and voice in any language and identify and rank the main concepts within it. It then automatically categorises, links, personalises and delivers that information. Autonomy's infrastructure technology is used to automate operations within enterprise information portals, customer relationship management, knowledge management, business intelligence and e-business applications, among others.

Autonomy Corporation plc is a global expert in infrastructure software for the enterprise. Autonomy's technology powers applications dependent upon unstructured information including e-commerce, customer relationship management, knowledge management, enterprise information portals, enterprise resource planning, and on-line publishing.

Autonomy's customer base includes more than 550 global companies, including Hutchison 3G, Channel 4, Deutsche Bank, AT&T, AstraZeneca, BAE Systems, Ford, Ericsson, General Motors, Lucent, Royal Sun Alliance, Sun Microsystems and public sector agencies including the United Kingdom Government's Department of Trade and Industry, NASA, the United States Department of Defense, and the United States Department of Energy. Strategic reseller and OEM partners include leading companies such as BEA, Business Objects, Computer Associates, Hewlett Packard, IBM Global Services, Oracle, Vignette, and Sybase. The company has offices in North America, Europe, Asia, and Australia.

Jason and Charlotte Maude founded the Isabel project in July 1999 together with Dr. Joseph Britto, Paediatric Intensive Care Consultant at St. Mary's Hospital, Paddington, London. Three months prior to this, the Maudes' 3-year-old daughter, Isabel, had spent a month in Intensive Care suffering multiple organ failure and cardiac arrest and a further month in a High Dependency ward. All this because her local A&E department and GP had failed to recognise her critical, life-threatening symptoms following chicken pox.

Against all odds, Isabel's sole legacy is a large wound requiring extensive plastic surgery. During their time in hospital, the idea of a diagnostic tool slowly evolved during conversations between the Maudes and Dr. Britto, who gradually gathered the support of a number of high profile doctors from hospitals around the country to make up the Isabel team. The Isabel Medical Charity received charitable status in April 2000. Its registered office is in London.

Leslie Versweyveld

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