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NIST Announces 10 New Advanced Technology Program Awards For Healthcare Information Systems

The Commerce Department's National Institute of Standards and Technology today announced 10 new industry-sponsored projects that will receive cost-shared funding under the department's Advanced Technology Program to pursue challenging, high-risk research to develop key information technologies for more efficient, less costly handling of medical information in the nation s healthcare industry.

A government/private-sector partnership program aimed at stimulating economic growth and job creation, the ATP supports strategic, high-risk research in cutting-edge technologies. Today's awards are part of the five-year ATP program on Information Infrastructure for Healthcare that supports research to develop key information technologies to: simply and reliably gather complex, multimedia medical information from healthcare providers; store and retrieve that information securely; and make it available over secure and reliable national information networks for use by medical personnel in making informed medical decisions and for computer-based medical training, diagnostic and research tools.

"Many experts have pointed to the inefficient and archaic handling of medical information, particularly patient records, as one of the most important and most costly bottlenecks in our healthcare system," said Commerce Secretary Ronald H. Brown. "The ATP program on Information Infrastructure for Healthcare is the only national effort that directly attacks this problem. Success in only a handful of these high-risk projects could potentially save the nation more money than has been invested in the entire Advanced Technology Program, not to mention the lives that might be saved by better handling of medical information."

While the program does not fund product development, the ATP accelerates, and in many cases enables, potentially important R&D; projects that industry otherwise would not undertake, or would not devote significant resources to, because of the technical risks involved. ATP awards are made on the basis of a rigorous competitive review considering scientific and technical merit of each project and its potential benefits for the U.S. economy. Applicants must include a credible business plan for bringing the new technology to market once technical milestones have been achieved under ATP support.

ATP focused programs concentrate resources on key technical barriers and business challenges in specific technologies judged by industry to offer the potential for major economic benefits to the nation. All current ATP focused programs were established in 1994 and will run for about five years. If carried through to completion, the 10 projects announced today mean more than $66 million in cost-sharing by private industry, in addition to nearly $63 million in the ATP's investment. Three of the awards will go to joint ventures. Thirty-seven organizations will directly participate in the research, including 14 small businesses and four universities (over a dozen other universities and colleges will participate as subcontractors or consultants). The awards announced today are contingent on the signing of formal agreements between NIST and the project proposers.

A list of the selected projects is attached. Additional information is available from the NIST gopher service: or the ATP World Wide Web site:

As a non-regulatory agency of the Commerce Department's Technology Administration, NIST promotes U.S. economic growth by working with industry to develop and apply technology, measurements and standards.

Decision Support Technology for LDR Infrastructure

3M Company, Murray, UT
Develop a set of protocols to enable an automated system to alert healthcare providers to unwise, unnecessary or wasteful therapeutic decisions or practices, as part of an integrated, real-time database of patient information.

Requested ATP funds: $1,988 K
Est. project budget: $4,328 K
Announced: September 1995

Development of National Medical Practice Knowledge Banks

Allegheny-Singer Research Institute, Pittsburgh, PA

  • AT&T; Human Interface Technology Center (Atlanta, GA)
  • AT&T; Enterprise Solutions (El Segundo, CA)
  • AT&T; Business Communications Services (Holmdel, NJ)
  • InSoft, Inc. (Mechanicsburg, PA)

Develop a suite of technologies to support a series of national medical specialty practice knowledge banks, gathering, analyzing, indexing, and retrieving medical information in multimedia formats, including text, still images, video, and audio to provide improved access to expert advice and consulting.

Requested ATP funds: $21,329 K
Est. project budget: $51,297 K
Announced: September 1995

Intelligent Spoken Medical Records

Berdy Medical Systems, Rochelle Park, NJ

Develop prototype multimedia technology for electronic patient records that allows users to input and retrieve patient data using natural, unconstrained language, and that uses intelligent information processing methods and event-tracking techniques to summarize relevant information and highlight important changes.

Requested ATP funds: $1,984 K
Est. project budget: $2,384 K
Announced: September 1995

Wellnet An Interactive Multimedia Consumer Health Management Tool

CareSoft Inc., San Jose, CA

Overcome barriers to the creation of a healthcare management tool to help healthcare consumers better manage their own health with interactive in-home systems linking them to a wide range of clinicians and peers as well as to a vast reservoir of relevant information automatically structured for each user.

Requested ATP funds: $2,000 K
Est. project budget: $2,560 K
Announced: September 1995

A Multimedia Medical Dialog (MMD) System for Home Healthcare

Dragon Systems, Inc., Newton, MA

Develop technology for the Multimedia Medical Dialog (MMD) System, a spoken-language interface to allow patients to carry on a natural, conversational dialog with a computer to enter information about their condition and retrieve multimedia medical information.

Requested ATP funds: $1,991 K
Est. project budget: $2,594 K
Announced: September 1995

TELEOS : An Authoring System for Virtual Reality Surgical Simulations

High Techsplanations, Inc., Rockville, MD

Develop a platform-independent authoring tool for creating detailed, realistic, virtual-reality surgical simulations for medical education.

Requested ATP funds: $560 K
Est. project budget: $1,878 K
Announced: September 1995

Open, Voice-Enabled, Structured Medical Information

Kurzweil Applied Intelligence, Inc., Waltham, MA

Explore large vocabulary speech-recognition and other user interface technologies to produce structured medical reports in Standard Generalized Markup Language (SGML) as open-structure "front ends" to both proprietary and open-systems healthcare information systems.

Requested ATP funds: $2,000 K
Est. project budget: $2,238 K
Announced: September 1995

Healthcare Information Technology Enabling Community Care

South Carolina Research Authority, Charleston, SC

  • Advanced Radiology (Towson, MD)
  • BellSouth Telecommunications (Atlanta, GA)
  • Charleston Area Medical Center, Inc. (Charleston, WV)
  • Connecticut Healthcare Research and Education (Wallingford, CT)
  • General Electric (Schenectady, NY)
  • Shared Medical Systems Corporation (Malvern, PA)
  • Technology 2020 (Oak Ridge, TN)
  • University of Florida (Gainesville, FL)
  • University of Maryland at Baltimore Medical Center (Baltimore, MD)

Develop the information technology to capture, integrate and disseminate the many types of geographically distributed healthcare information in a secure, comprehensive, and simple information management environment, with the goal of opening a way to cost-effective, community-wide, collaborative healthcare.

Requested ATP funds: $19,167 K
Est. project budget: $39,070 K
Announced: September 1995

Automating Disease Surveillance from Structured and Text Data

Sunquest Information Systems, Tucson, AZ

Develop data-entry technologies for hospital information systems using natural-language processing to extract clinical information from unstructured texts coupled with a vocabulary-mapping tool to translate different but equivalent medical terms into a common, structured set of concepts.

Requested ATP funds: $1,970 K
Est. project budget: $2,806 K
Announced: September 1995

Health Object Library ON-line Project (HOLON)

The Koop Foundation, Incorporated, Rockville, MD

  • Oracle Corporation (Bethesda, MD)
  • Southern New England Telecommunication Corp. (New Haven, CT)
  • Beth Israel Hospital (Boston, MA)
  • Norwalk Hospital (Norwalk, CT)
  • Meta Software Corporation (Cambridge, MA)
  • Lumina Decision Systems (Los Altos, CA)
  • Wizdom Systems, Inc. (Naperville, IL)
  • The Forefront Group (Houston, TX)
  • Rice University (Houston, TX)
  • Talisman Dynamics Inc. (Foster City, CA)
  • IntelliTek Inc. (Rockville, MD)
  • George Washington School of Engineering (Washington, DC)
  • Windom Health Enterprises (Berkeley, CA)
  • Time Warner Cable (Maitland, FL)

Develop essential "middleware" framework for the healthcare information infrastructure, including a general architecture that specifies the organization, functions, and interfaces necessary for healthcare middleware, and a library of reusable objects to support companies in developing healthcare applications.

Requested ATP funds: $9,882 K
Est. project budget: $19,973 K
Announced: September 1995

Released September 29, 1995, Updated November 27, 2017