AMICA project targets improved medical decision making at the point of care

Tel Aviv 18 February 2004A new specific targeted research project, aimed at helping medical practitioners to avoid making errors, has been launched under the European Union information society technologies (IST) section of the Sixth Framework Programme (FP6). The AMICA project aims at assembling data and knowledge at the point of care to improve medical decision making and prevent error. The project is supported by 2,65 million euro of EU funding, and was kicked off in January.

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"About a quarter of all decisions reached in hospitals are proven, in retrospect, to be wrong", according to the project co-ordinator, Professor Leonard Leibovici from the Rabin Medical Centre in Israel. "Around four percent of all hospitalised patients are harmed by adverse drug events, half of which are preventable."

One of the main reasons for poor medical decision making, particularly where complex procedures involving numerous human interfaces are concerned, is a lack of relevant information concerning the patient and their condition. However, the key problem is not that this information doesn't exist, but that it is not always made available to doctors when they have to recommend a course of action.

The AMICA project seeks to resolve the situation by gathering together all of the available electronic information on patients and their conditions, and making it available to medical experts in a specially developed and standardised decision support module.

In total AMICA involves nine partners from Israel, Denmark, Greece, Germany, Switzerland, Italy and the United Kingdom. Many of the partners had previously co-operated in an FP5 project called TREAT, which developed a prototype decision support module.

The AMICA project is a key component of the eHealth objective of the IST programme, and as such, will also contribute to the achievement of the European Union's eEurope 2005 objectives.


Leslie Versweyveld

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