IBM and i3 Archive give women access to world's largest digital mammography system

Berwyn 18 November 2005i3 Archive Inc. has put the power of managing health care and fighting breast cancer into the hands of women around the country by launching MyNDMA, a personal health management portal linked directly to i3's National Digital Medical Archive (NDMA), the world's largest archive of digital mammography images and related data.


i3 and the NDMA were formed as a result of an overwhelmingly successful federally-funded project launched six years ago by the University of Pennsylvania, in collaboration with IBM, to change how hospitals and doctors store and access digital mammography images. Using IBM technology, i3 created a nationally co-ordinated system to help doctors and researchers diagnose, treat and find a cure for breast cancer.

When the project began, only four hospitals contributed records and had access to the NDMA database. Now, 24 hospitals can access the database of more than one million digital mammography images, giving an estimated 300 doctors and researchers unprecedented access to patient records, allowing faster diagnosis and treatment.

MyNDMA takes the national system one step further, allowing women around the country to have access to and control of their own electronic health records. In just one month since its launch, nearly 1200 women have already registered profiles and are managing their mammography records through MyNDMA.

MyNDMA allows more women to take control of their health by managing their personal medical records, such as digital mammograms and diagnostic test results. Historically, these records have been stored locally - either in film or digital format - making it impossible to have on demand access from another hospital or radiology centre. As a result, diagnostics tests and additional mammograms may be required whenever a woman visits a new doctor. Having this secure storage of personal mammography images and data, women have the ability to pro-actively monitor their personal health over the course of time and easily access records when visiting a new doctor or obtaining a second opinion.

"Women battling breast cancer typically see several different doctors through the course of their treatment. Even though digital images make storage easier, before now, there has been no easy way to transport digital images and patient data from doctor to doctor", stated Marisa C. Weiss, M.D., president and founder of the non-profit organisation, "Giving these women direct access and control of their medical records isn't just convenient. It's empowering and can often be critical to the success of their treatment."

With patient consent, these individual images and data can be made available to physicians and researchers across the country seeking to develop better treatments for breast cancer and accelerate a cure. Powered by IBM's Grid computing and DB2 technology, researchers have the ability to search the archive on demand, giving them immediate access to the critical data needed to identify breast cancer patients for clinical trials in less than a day - a process that before would have taken months. Through their own individual participation in MyNDMA, women everywhere are helping to find a cure for breast cancer.

"Every bit of data that comes into our system - images, reports, demographic information - everything is catalogued, indexed and made available on demand to hospitals and radiology centres across the country using IBM's technology", stated Derek Danois, president of i3 Archive. "Using powerful algorithms, this data can be analysed to identify abnormalities in an individual patient or evaluated against a larger data set to help researchers understand common traits of the disease, hopefully leading to a cure. The reality is that the images and data submitted by women through MyNDMA will help to establish a nationwide best practice benchmark for digital mammography and diagnosis."

Designed in collaboration with IBM, i3's NDMA securely collects mammography images and related breast data from doctors, hospitals and radiology centres around the United States to help researchers identify and target potential links to breast cancer by providing access to analytical databases and reporting systems.

"What i3 has been able to achieve with NDMA is a means to deliver better care to individual patients by giving doctors the technology resources and infrastructure needed to compare mammograms from year-to-year", stated Carol Kovac, GM, Healthcare and Life Sciences Industry, IBM. "With MyNDMA, this data and information will, collectively, be able to enhance breast cancer treatment for women across the country and, hopefully one day, help find a cure for this disease."

NDMA data is made available to doctors, hospitals and radiology centres through IBM Grid computing using two IBM eServer xSeries systems. Data is catalogued and indexed using IBM's DB2 Universal Database and stored on IBM EXP300 Storage Expansion Units.

i3 Archive Inc.'s National Digital Medical Archive (NDMA) provides a complete solution for the storage and retrieval of medical records and images, enabling health care providers to increase the quality and speed their delivery of patient treatments. Made available through Grid computing and a shared archive, NDMA builds upon existing digital technology to provide physicians and researchers access to a life-time archive of digital images and related medical record data gathered from patients nationwide. More news on i3 Archive is available in the VMW August 2004 article i3ARCHIVE to adopt new 3G standards into National Digital Mammography Archive.

Leslie Versweyveld

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