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Technology and Health Care is intended to serve as a forum for the presentation of original articles and technical notes, observing rigorous scientific standards. Furthermore, upon invitation, reviews, tutorials, discussion papers and minisymposia are featured.
The following types of contributions and areas are considered:
1. Original articles:
Technology development in medicine: New concepts, procedures and devices associated with the use of technology in medical research and clinical practice are presented to a readership with a widespread background in engineering and/or medicine.
Significance of medical technology and informatics for healthcare: The appropriateness, efficacy and usefulness deriving from the application of engineering methods, devices and informatics in medicine and with respect to public health are discussed.
2. Technical notes:
Short communications on novel technical developments with relevance for clinical medicine.
3. Reviews and tutorials (upon invitation only):
Tutorial and educational articles for persons with a primarily medical background on principles of engineering with particular significance for biomedical applications and vice versa are presented.
4. Minisymposia (upon invitation only):
Under the leadership of a Special Editor, controversial issues relating to healthcare are highlighted and discussed by various authors.
Abstract: The use of 3D ultrasound imaging to follow the progression of scoliosis, i.e., a 3D deformation of the spine, is described. Unlike other current examination modalities, in particular based on X-ray, its non-detrimental effect enables it to be used frequently to follow the progression of scoliosis which sometimes may develop rapidly. Furthermore, 3D ultrasound imaging provides information in 3D directly in contrast to projection methods. This paper describes a feasibility study of an ultrasound system to provide a 3D image of the human spine, and presents a framework of procedures to perform this task. The framework consist of…an ultrasound image acquisition procedure to image a large part of the human spine by means of a freehand 3D ultrasound system and a volume reconstruction procedure which was performed in four stages: bin-filling, hole-filling, volume segment alignment, and volume segment compounding. The overall results of the procedures in this framework show that imaging of the human spine using ultrasound is feasible. Vertebral parts such as the transverse processes, laminae, superior articular processes, and spinous process of the vertebrae appear as clouds of voxels having intensities higher than the surrounding voxels. In sagittal slices, a string of transverse processes appears representing the curvature of the spine. In the bin-filling stage the estimated mean absolute noise level of a single measurement of a single voxel was determined. Our comparative study for the hole-filling methods based on rank sum statistics proved that the pixel nearest neighbour (PNN) method with variable radius and with the proposed olympic operation is the best method. Its mean absolute grey value error was less in magnitude than the noise level of a single measurement.
Keywords: Human spine, scoliosis, ultrasound image acquisition, freehand 3D ultrasound system, bin-filling, hole-filling, volume segment alignment, volume segment compounding
Abstract: The current study evaluated whether 3-D fluoroscopic imaging is capable of adequate visualisation, reduction and effective guidance of implant placement during a minimally-invasive screw-fixation (MISF) procedure in the treatment of proximal phalanx fractures. A comparison with conventional intraoperative 2-D imaging was performed in a cadaveric model. Conventional 2-D and 3-D imaging series were performed following the creation of proximal phalanx fractures, reduction and fixation, pre- and post-operatively. For both imaging modalities, attention was paid to A) correct reduction, B) screw-placement and, if present, C) intra-articular offset of fracture edges. The results revealed no related overall advantage of the 3-D…imaging system over normal 2-D fluoroscopy at the proximal phalanx region. The authors conclude that, given the cost of 3-D imaging technology, as well as the increased time required for image acquisition, its routine use in the treatment of phalanx fracture cases is not justifiable at present.
Keywords: Proximal phalanx fracture, minimal screw fixation, Iso C 3-D, 2-D fluoroscopy
Abstract: Objectives: The use of radio frequency identification device (RFID) technology within the healthcare industry was researched and specific instances of implementation of this technology in the hospital environment were examined. Methods: The study primarily makes use of ideas from operations and supply chain management, such as work flow diagrams, value stream mapping, and poka-yokes (mistake proofing measures) for investigations of processes, failures, and solutions. Results: This study presents a step-by-step approach of how to implement the use of RFID tracking systems within the entire hospital. A number of poka-yokes were also devised for improving the…safety of the patient and cost effectiveness of the hospital to insure the success of the hospital health care delivery system. Conclusions: Many players in the hospital environment may be impacted. This includes patients, doctors, nurses, technicians, administrators, and other hospital personnel. Insurance and government agencies may be impacted as well. Different levels of training of hospital personnel will be required based on the degree of interaction with the RFID system. References to costs, Return On Investment, change management, ethical and legal considerations are also made to help the reader understand the benefits and implications of the technology in the hospital environment.
Keywords: Healthcare quality improvement, information technology, process mapping, effectiveness, continuous quality improvement
Abstract: Correct use of medical equipment within the clinical environment is of prime importance. This includes awareness of the safety issues regarding equipment, particular when it is an electrically powered device. Incidents can occur in the clinic in which a medical device is suspected of contributing to patient or staff injury. It is important that one can identify in advance any potential hazards which may arise with electrical equipment due to technical or environmental factors. This paper gives an overview of electrical safety.