Physicians may soon be able to better prevent and more accurately diagnose breast cancer with the help of battlefield planning software designed for missile defense.

Medical Information Network Decision Support (MINDS™) software uses Web-based information management, decision support models, and architecture originally designed for Missile Defense Agency (MDA) command and control systems as part of a Small Business Innovation Research (SBIR) Phase II contract. MINDS works under the assumption that to improve results, whether in an operating room or on a battlefield, users need a common framework capable of pulling in disparate, scattered data and making sense of it.

TechFinity’s MINDS software enables physicians to access a patient’s entire medical record electronically, which should eliminate the need for managing many paper files scattered among multiple healthcare providers.
Developed by TechFinity of Sherman Oaks, CA, MINDS is a tool that allows physicians to access and analyze a patient’s complete medical record from anywhere in the world. This software could offer the medical industry a stepping stone to the “portability” of personal medical records, which has been desired by physicians for years. Such portability would allow a physician to electronically access a patient’s entire medical history from multiple hospitals, doctors, and pharmacies. Currently, personal medical records are typically stored in doctors’ offices — much of it is on paper — and only shared following the signed consent of the patient in question.

How it Works

MINDS enables the worldwide capture of physicians’ professional opinions on how to treat illnesses and diseases. The software also enables an accurate, efficient matching of medications to illnesses. Remedies are prescribed based on symptom case histories and reactions noted in personal medical records.

After considering how the algorithms could be used for information management, TechFinity researchers defined six basic areas where software development for missile-defense operators and healthcare planners require the same data support models. These areas include sensing platforms, engagement platforms, databases, data-fusion engines, resource management tools, and communication networks.

For MINDS, sensing platforms include elements like clinical studies, screening and diagnostic tests, and research. Engagement platforms include medicines and treatments. Databases include patient records and disease characterizations. Data fusion engines include screening and diagnostic processes or risk assessment and prognoses. Resource management tools include accepted treatments for specific diseases. Communications networks include electronic health records and health information networks.

The various platform components of MINDS fit together in an architecture that includes a Decision Support Assistant (DSA), which analyzes patient data to make decisions for screening, diagnostics, and treatment; a decision support assistant tool to enable the DSA to analyze patient data and generate models for diagnoses; and a decision support trainer to provide doctors with a tutorial for the system.

MINDS is also focused on the long-term care of patients. Its algorithms look at probabilistic trends in a person’s medical data and offer analysis and recommendations for preventive care maintenance. Other data-generating technologies used by healthcare providers do not have the capability of performing analysis to assist individual patients based on a combination of personal history, medical trends, and expert medical opinions. TechFinity’s software also will conduct and continually review personal data analysis through the screening, diagnosis, treatment, and prognosis phases. Current systems on the market are not programmed to provide this variety of information for continuous preventive health monitoring.

Where it Stands

The company narrowed its medical focus on breast cancer due to the burgeoning amount of case studies, medical opinions, and scientific research available on the disease. TechFinity thought MINDS could help pull in the data needed by medical researchers and physicians to quickly identify health trends, habits, and genetic factors that often precede the onset of breast cancer. The software also can mine thousands of professional opinions on how the cancer is most successfully treated. Through the use of all available data — including that of experimental procedures performed and therapies administered worldwide — a comprehensive analysis could even lead to a cure for breast cancer, a disease that kills more than 40,000 people annually in the United States.

To reach the goal of finding a cure for breast cancer, TechFinity has partnered with researchers at Mercy Hospital Medical Center in Baltimore, MD, and the University of California Los Angeles (UCLA) to create the first portable database of personal records and professional medical opinions relating to the disease.

The company is looking for additional medical partners in testing and fielding the MINDS technology.

More Information

For more information on TechFinity’s MINDS software, visit (Source: Joe Singleton/NTTC; MDA TechUpdate, Missile Defense Agency, National Technology Transfer Center Washington Operations)

Defense Tech Briefs Magazine

This article first appeared in the October, 2009 issue of Defense Tech Briefs Magazine.

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