“Gold, silver, what’s the difference? One centimeter after a kilometer of competition,” says Dr. Bill Moreau, the U.S. Olympic Committee (USOC) managing director of sports medicine, in the video above. “Our job is to help that athlete to find that last little piece that makes them the best in the world.”
Team USA is taking no chances preparing for the looming 2012 Olympics. The USOC will be using electronic medical files for the first time with help from GE to digitize records for the more than 700 athletes heading to London for the Summer Games.
Moreau is founder of GE’s Centricity Practice Solution, an integrated electronic medical records and practice management system that provides doctors and health administrator’s data on everything from pulled muscles, and MRI scans to treatment regimens and prescribed medicines.
The technology will replace pallets of paper records historically shipped to the Games, and the USOC will connect GE Centricity Practice Solution with GE’s Centricity PACS-IW software technology for medical record image viewing and storage.
Jan De Witte, President and CEO GE Healthcare IT and Performance Solutions, said “GE is proud to support the United States Olympic Committee. Dr. Moreau and his team deliver world class care for world class athletes and we are thrilled to provide the technology to help provide easy secure access to their medical information and an intuitive user interface which allows for easy adoption by its providers.”
GE and the USOC have extended their sponsorship partnership beginning with the 2014 Games in Sochi, Russia and continuing through the 2016 Games in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, the 2018 Games in Pyeongchang, South Korea and the 2020 Games.
Scott Blackmun, CEO of the USOC said, “GE has been a great supporter of America’s Olympic and Paralympic athletes and we are thrilled by the news of this extension. We look forward to building on this partnership and working with this valued partner for years to come.”
On the bodily homefront, Mike Harsh, chief technology officer for GE Healthcare, is developing new generation of wireless sensors that attach to the body like a Band Aid, drawing power from a small integrated battery that uses radio waves to communicate with a receiver in the patient’s pocket or hospital room
Compared to GE's "Facebook for the Body" initiative, “It’s just like those hands-free Bluetooth head-sets, except we now transmit physiological signals rather than voice,” Harsh says. “That’s what makes this so interesting.”
Outside a hospital, the information is relayed into a cellular Wireless Medical Body Area Network (MBAN) that replaces tangles of cables. The Federal Communications Commission is going to rule on freeing two radio bands for the devices. “You’ve heard people talk about the Internet of Things,” said FCC Chairman Julius Genachowski. "You’ve heard about machine-to-machine connected devices. Well, here’s an example of these concepts coming to life. This is a big deal and we’re just at the beginning."
The two proposed MBAN frequency bands are “sitting right next to” radio spectra used by Bluetooth and ZigBee technology. “The available silicon chipsets today can be pulled just a little bit” to cover the MBAN bands, Harsh says. “That opens up the consumer electronics space and the manufacturers of all the silicon would help us enter the space to really drive the costs down.”