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Getting Medical Devices Talking, SD Union Tribune

man in front of WestHealth sign

Text messages, photos, even videos flow between billions of people every day, and it usually makes no difference who manufactured the smartphone that is sending and receiving the data.

Not so for medical devices. While technology in the consumer world grows more connected every day, that has not been the case with the high-tech tools used to care for patients.

“You would think that health care would be a first-order need, but we’re kind of the last in the queue to have seamless sharing of information. In some instances, we’re still using fax machines,” said Dr. Joseph Smith, chief medical and science officer at the West Health Institute.

The nonprofit medical research organization in Torrey Pines is leading a nationwide push to create and implement a common language for medical devices. This ability to “interoperate” would not only be safer for patients, but also potentially save $30 billion, according to the institute.

With a $10 million grant from the Gary and Mary West Foundation, the group established the Center for Medical Interoperability.

It formed a board of directors that includes some of the largest names in health care, including Vanderbilt University, the Cedars-Sinai Health System, Ascension Health and Hospital Corporation of America. Locally, Scripps Health CEO Chris Van Gorder is a board member, along with Smith and West Health Institute CEO Nick Valeriani.

(Click here to read the full article written by Paul Sisson, SD Union Tribune)