The ASME Method

Created at the IBM Zurich research laboratory, the new technology uses an ‘ 3D avatar’ (a character created in three dimensions) in the form of human body to view clinical histories. With the name of ASME Anatomic and Symbolic Mapper Engine this method of display allows doctors to click with the mouse in a certain part of the body to initiate a search for relevant information. When a patient goes to the doctor with a problem, for example, back pain, currently the doctor ask the patient his medical history, performs tests and a physical examination. The doctor can also study from previous consultations, but it is possible to not have access to the complete patient history.

With ASME technology, the doctor plays with the mouse on the back of the ‘ 3D avatar’ and then, for example, on the spine, getting at that time all the clinical history of his patient related to the spine (including prior diagnoses, results of laboratory and medical imaging as x-rays). If your doctor is only interested in information about a particular section of the spine , you can extend that zone to define the search parameters.

‘It’s like Google Earth but for the human body’, explained the researcher at IBM Andre Elisseeff, who leads research on health in the laboratory of IBM in Zurich. ‘At a time when we are evolving towards the electronic clinical histories, with the ASME project we make easier to access the information through a combination of medical data with visual representation.’ ‘In this way we do much simpler process of interacting with data for health care’.

The system allows the integration of modeling techniques in 3D with search tools of data from heterogeneous sources (text, images, etc) and unstructured information database, collecting it all in a single tool easy to use and intuitive nature. ASME uses systematized nomenclature systems standardized on medicine to facilitate the connection between the concepts of graphic and text documents. Technological advances are revolutionizing medical treatment and health sector, but on shakier clinical information systems still doesn’t exploit all the possibilities. Information about each patient consists of a variety of documents in paper, images (x-rays, scanners, etc.) medical and resident information in databases of different types. This means that those records are unstructured and facilitate loose items of information on diagnosis and disease, so it easily access a complete history is complex.

A unified model of history really functional electronic clinical enabling the exchange of information between professionals and health care institutions (ensuring the privacy of the data at the same time) has not yet been created. For this reason, many professionals prefer to continue with the records on paper or with their own electronic systems of data file. ASME aims to gather at a single point the loose pieces of unstructured information, and at the same time, providing an intuitive tool for ease of use.