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Computer systems assisting orthopaedic surgeons


The EUREKA project E! 2288 on Computer-aided orthopaedic care (MEDAC) is helping orthopaedic surgeons to not only document their clinical cases, but to also manage and analyse all patient data compiled. This award-winning project is revolutionising orthopaedic research and could be applicable to many other specialist areas of medicine. Patients benefit from a fast and documented diagnosis, while surgeons gain access to vast resources of reference data and the means to analyse their own patients’ research implications.

This EUREKA project, funded by France and Germany, has led to the production and supply of two software programs to the world market, offering new possibilities to the orthopaedic surgeon. MEDAC developed two systems – one for analysing digital X-Ray pictures, and the other for building databases of patient data following diagnosis, care and outcome.

Profile (marketed as Orthoworks Care Manager) is a modular clinical data management system that enables the choice of particular areas of expertise. Winner of the prestigious Frost and Sullivan 2005 ‘Product Innovation of the Year’ award, the Profile system allows the use of patient data as both a reference for diagnosis and management of individual patients, and as a source for studying current patients. Using the software, surgeons can select a patient sample and extract whatever information requiring analysis, without any need for detailed knowledge of database programming.

Improved diagnosis and medical care

The second system, Spineview (marketed as Orthoworks Spine Analyser) is a radiological image analyser that complements the specialist’s qualitative interpretation with a wide range of measurements enabling the calculation of morphology and range of movement. Orthopaedic surgeons often make decisions to operate based on qualitative descriptions - Spineview’s facility to make accurate and reproducible measurements on 2D X-rays images adds vital information to the likely success of the operation, improving a patient’s probability of recovery.

Current and future benefits

National funding for the project was facilitated through EUREKA - Dr Templier, the project leader from French company Surgiview comments: “I liked this very much because EUREKA was very efficient in accelerating the funding process compared to other European funding mechanisms. We really appreciated how quickly our project idea obtained support and assistance from the EUREKA Initiative.”

The MEDAC project results offer the medical community assistance in quality controlling orthopaedic health services and identifying the possible cause of post-operative complications, improving patient diagnosis and care. And many more Europeans could benefit from these results when applied to other specialist areas of medicine. “We are already at the limit,” says Templier, “between focused retrospective and systematic prospective research. Surgeons using these tools in a prospective approach can be more productive in their research, and draw conclusions for a given patient.”

Catherine Shiels | alfa
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