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					        NEWS | Technology

                                                       Researchers to use sensors
                                                       to check for signs of decline
      » The National Coordinator
      for Health Information Technology
      announced his agency has released a notice
      for proposed rulemaking on electronic
      health record certification. Speaking at the     By John O’Connor                                                                              in residences can alert medi-
      Healthcare Information and Management            Carnegie Mellon University                                                                    cal professionals when a per-
      Systems Society conference in Atlanta,           researchers will embed wire-                                                                  son begins to lose physical or
      David Blumenthal also predicted that in          less sensors in the residences                                                                mental abilities.
      the future, “there will be no question then,     of about 50 older adults who                                                                     “The loss of the ability to
      whether the federal government ought to,         live alone. The study’s goal is                                                               make a sandwich, dial a phone
      is required to, support the acquisition of       to see if it’s possible to detect                                                             or take medications correctly
      meaningful use and other forms of health         subtle changes in everyday                                                                    often occurs gradually and,
      information technology. It will be assumed       activities that indicate the                                                                  particularly for people who

                                                                                                                                Photo: iStockphoto
      as a core professional attribute.”               onset of dementia or physical                                                                 live alone, insidiously,” said
                                                       infirmities.                                                                                  Anind Dey, associate profes-
      » Health and Human Services                         Findings could provide                                                                     sor in the Human-Computer
      Secretary Kathleen Sebelius said insurance       additional clues about cascad-      A new study using wireless sen-                           Interaction Institute of Car-
      companies should make information about          ing physical and mental decline     sors hopes to unlock early signs                          negie Mellon’s School of
                                                                                           of physical and cognitive decline.
      their requests to raise insurance premiums       that frequently lead to nursing                                                               Computer Science. “If we can
      available online. She said that greater infor-   home placement, they say.           receiving a $480,000 grant for                            identify this decline at an early
      mation transparency among health insur-             The research team is one of      the two-year project. However,                            stage, we have a chance to halt
      ance providers is “an important step.”           five nationwide selected by the     only the Pittsburgh study will                            and even reverse deterioration
                                                       Robert Wood Johnson Foun-           focus on senior living.                                   that might otherwise result in
      » A long-awaited federal database                dation to explore how obser-           The Pittsburgh team, which                             an unsafe living situation and
      of potentially dangerous caregivers was          vations of daily living—what        includes colleagues from the                              ultimately require the person
      made available to healthcare providers in        people eat, how they sleep,         University of Pittsburgh                                  to be institutionalized.”
      March. But a news report found that thou-        their mood, how their medi-         Department of Rehabilita-                                    In this initial stage of the
      sands of disciplinary records are missing        cations make them feel and          tion Science and Technology,                              research, Dey is working
      from it. The federal database is designed        other factors—can be captured,      and Presbyterian SeniorCare,                              with Linda Kent, an occupa-
      to compile information from various state        interpreted and integrated          hopes to demonstrate that                                 tional therapist at Presbyterian
      agencies to pre
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