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Virtual body helps MDs visualize information


BM researchers have developed software that lets doctors interact with medical data the same way they interact with their patients: by looking at the human body.

Created at IBM’s Zurich Research Lab, the prototype uses an avatar -- a 3-D representation of the human body -- to allow doctors to visualize patient medical records. With the Anatomic and Symbolic Mapper Engine, a doctor need only click the computer mouse on a particular part of the avatar “body” to trigger a search of medical records for relevant information.

“It’s like Google Earth for the body,” said IBM Researcher Andre Elisseeff, who leads the healthcare projects at IBM’s Zurich lab. “In hopes of speeding the move toward electronic healthcare records, we’ve tried to make information easily accessible for healthcare providers by combining medical data with visual representation, making it as simple as possible to interact with data that can improve patient care.”

The software that lets doctors search specific parts of the body, even getting a view under the skin to see the cardiovascular or muscular system. The patient records are organized visually; when a patient complains of knee pain, for example, the doctor clicks on that body part and sees all relevant records.


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