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ASTRO hosts IT project; ASCO weighs in on stimulus plan

ASTRO hosts IT project; ASCO weighs in on stimulus plan

The American Society for Radiation Oncology will host a connectathon at its headquarters in Fairfax, Va. in September.

The connectathon is part of the Integrating the Healthcare Enterprise- Radiation Oncology (IHE-RO) initiative designed to promote the integration of radiotherapy equipment and patient health information systems, regardless of which vendor provides the system.

Th e goal of the multi-year project is to reduce medical errors and improve efficiency, according to ASTRO. The connectathon will be the final step in a process that has included vendor development, soft ware testing, and real-time interconnectivity testing.

At the 2008 event, vendor participants were required to demonstrate that their radiation therapy equipment could share information with that of at least three other vendors for the treatment planning process. Vendors who participated in last year’s connectathon included Brain- LAB, Siemens Medical Solutions, and Tomo Therapy.

IHE-RO is part of a general IHE project that began in 2004 under the direction of the Healthcare Information Management Systems Society (HIMSS) and the RSNA.

NCI funding

Last month, President Barack Obama authorized $10.4 billion for the NIH 2009-2010 budget, which includes $1.2 billion for the National Cancer Institute. ASCO has made recommendations to the NCI on how the funding should be used. Th e society suggests increased percase payments for NCI-funded clinical trials, a boost in the payline for research grants, and a fund devoted to new translational research.

Raynard Kington, MD, PhD, NIH acting director, said that the federal government must allocate all funds by the end of fiscal year 2010. Dr. Kington said that the NIH is considering two-year challenge grants that will focus on priority research and public health issues.


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