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The Doctor is Ready to See You Now; IBM and Florida International University to Develop Autonomic Computing Solutions for Hospitals

Shared University Research Award Gives Boost to FIU Research and the Miami Health Care System

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MIAMI, FL - 10 Nov 2004: If you've ever waited well past your appointed time to see a doctor, then this announcement's for you. IBM and Florida International University (FIU) today launched two new research projects that will use autonomic computing technologies to help solve every day challenges in the health care industry. The projects will use policy management techniques to bring more security to patient records and reduce the time spent in the waiting room. The partnership is part of IBM's Shared University Research (SUR) award program, created to exemplify the deep partnership between academia and the industry to explore research in areas essential to fueling innovation.
 
IBM will work with FIU professors and graduate students from the Telecommunications and Information Technology Institute in the College of Engineering to carry out research activities on policy management for autonomic computing. The university will leverage its close relationships with hospitals from Baptist Health Systems of South Florida to gather data and test applications.

Securing Patient Privacy
Existing privacy management solutions prevent unauthorized persons from accessing private information, but do not prevent authorized persons from accessing information "any time, any where with any role." The solutions will bring a higher level of security to patient records by closely monitoring when authorized professionals access private information. Current access requirements are based on type of information accessed and purpose. The new solutions will require additional parameters for authorized personnel, such as the user's location and time of access.

Advanced Appointment Scheduling
Having to wait to see a doctor well after the appointment time is a problem that roots to the appointment scheduling process. When appointments are scheduled, factors such as how long the doctor's visit will take -- which often depends on the reason for the visit -- are not always taken into consideration. Determining a more accurate appointment start time is economically significant in health care environments. Researchers will use autonomic computing technologies to address the complexity of the patient appointment scheduling problem, thereby reducing standby time in the waiting room.

"We are excited to have such cutting-edge research take place at our university," said Dr. Modesto Maidique, president of Florida International University. "Receiving this award demonstrates the fact that we have world renowned faculty who posses the credentials to forge new ground in research and development."

The IBM SUR award is the latest string of accomplishments at the Institute, in a year already filled with important research and academic developments. Researchers at the IBM T.J. Watson Research Center worked with the FIU team to determine the scope of the project. Under the collaboration, IBM is supplying the university with an eServer pSeries and xSeries server systems, as well as products from the IBM TotalStorage SAN Switch and the IBM Thinkpad X series. IBM software included in the project are the WebSphere Commerce Business Edition and DB2 Universal Database.

"Florida International University and IBM are working together to remove barriers experienced in today's healthcare industry," said Adalio Sanchez, general manager, IBM eServer pSeries. "Today, we are recognizing Florida International University as a leading research institution, renowned for providing opportunity to minorities and graduating more Hispanic engineers than any other institution in the U.S. We are honored to partner with the university for scientific advancements that will have a remarkable impact."

IBM recently announced the latest series of SUR awards, bringing the company's contributions to foster collaborative research with universities to more than $70 million over the last three years. This announcement also complements the recently launched IBM Academic Initiative, a new program to deepen IBM's partnership with academia in preparing students for the information technology jobs of tomorrow through no-charge access to technology, training and curriculum development resources.

FIU professors involved in this project are Dr. Niki Pissinou, Dr. Kia Makki, Dr. Ronald Giachetti and Dr. Kang Yen. FIU is one of the largest minority institutions in the United States, with the largest pool of Hispanic engineering and computer science students in the country. FIU's College of Engineering graduates the most Hispanic minority-engineering students in the nation.

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