Albuquerque Journal (Albuquerque, NM)

Vital data could fly on computer network.

Byline: Winthrop Quigley Journal Staff Writer

Medical links possible in 3 years, says exec

Imagine. The paramedics can see from the hovering helicopter that the accident is a bad one. The car is flipped onto its roof in the weeds along U.S. 54 south of Vaughn. Even from the air, the scorching from the fire is visible.

The unconscious patient is loaded into the helicopter. A paramedic flips open the on-board laptop computer and enters the patient's Social Security number, obtained from her driver's license.

At University of New Mexico Hospital, the computer comes alive. The emergency room technician alerts the trauma team to be ready for a patient with head injuries and second- and third-degree burns.

He tells the attending physician that the patient's doctor in Fort Sumner gave her a flu shot three months ago, that she is allergic to penicillin and that she is about 45 days pregnant. She has never been in a hospital before.

Meanwhile, a computer system is informing her physician's computer that the patient is being admitted to UNM Hospital.

The computer system alerts her insurance company's computer that she is in the hospital. The insurance computer informs the hospital computer that her treatment is covered and she pays a $1,000 deductible. …

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