Suffering a serious injury on the eve of the Olympic Games must count among the greatest fears of any elite athlete. It can destroy years of hard work and preparation, and scupper chances of competing on the highest stage. Now, the IOC’s medical team is working with Worldwide TOP Partner GE to harness cloud-based medical data management software that is set to facilitate injury treatment and boost research into injury prevention.
At the Olympic Games Rio 2016, a cloud-based version of GE Healthcare’s Centricity Practice Solutions (CPS) will be used as the official storage platform for electronic medical records (EMR). According to Richard Budgett, Medical and Scientific Director at the IOC, being able to move all of these records into “the cloud” is a huge step forward.
“The new EMR is going to be a cornerstone for our medical services,” explains Budgett. “Not only will it ensure the provision of excellent medical and treatment services for the athletes during the Games, it will also facilitate scientific work to mitigate and prevent injuries and illnesses, where possible, in the future.
“Competing at the Olympic Games is the pinnacle of any athlete’s sporting career. It is a goal that requires years and decades of training. So the prospect of being deprived of the opportunity due to illness or injury which could be prevented is unthinkable. Working with GE, our goal is to create a system that helps ensure that athletes can deliver their best performance when it matters most.”
The new platform will facilitate the capture of much more detailed medical data about the athletes who visit the polyclinic and other medical stations during Games time, enabling much smoother handling of patients and their data as they are seen by different personnel in the medical services (initial consultation, specialist, imaging, etc.). Just as importantly, it will facilitate data analysis and subsequent research on prevention of injury and illness in sport.
The system can be used to improve medical diagnostics for athletes, but also to generate detailed data that can be used by coaches to develop strategies for improving performance.
The cloud-based system was successfully employed by Team USA at the Olympic Games London 2012 and the Olympic Winter Games Sochi 2014. Their experience impressed the IOC so much that it plans to use a specially built EMR platform at the Olympic Games Rio 2016 to track records of everything from scans to medications to allergies. The technology will be available at all medical posts at Games venues, and at the central clinic in the Olympic Village.The prospect of being deprived of the opportunity due to illness or injury which could be prevented is unthinkable. Working with GE, our goal is to create a system that helps ensure that athletes can deliver their best performance when it matters most.Richard Budgett IOC Medical and Scientific Director
"We are excited to partner with the International Olympic Committee and offer medical providers and athletes from around the world access to a suite of advanced medical technologies at the Rio 2016 Olympic Games,” said John Flannery, President and CEO of GE Healthcare. "This includes, for the first time ever, universal Electronic Medical Records via Cloud technology that will enable real-time data, analytics and detailed health information to help athletes reach peak performance.”
Olympic athletes typically have a number of healthcare specialists involved in their care at any given time. Now all that data will be available in a centralised repository for the first time, and the entire records for any athlete can be accessed at the touch of a smartphone button. Moreover, access to data is more secure than ever, with authorisation systems in place that discriminate between different user groups.
Being able to tap into such huge reserves of data is also helping to reduce risk of future injuries by spotting trends and offering solutions. The system enables the collection of data on how and why injuries and illnesses occur, which is invaluable for reducing future occurrences. For example, EMR has been used by doctors to help reduce the incidence of anaemia among female athletes.
The technology can help prevent injuries, and can play an equally vital role in helping the recovery of injured athletes.
“Looking after the health of the athlete is the main goal of the IOC Medical and Scientific Commission, and it thus involves treatment, but more importantly, prevention,” says Budgett. “The EMR does not just help us provide great medical services at the Games; we can also use the data we collect for vital research into injury/illness prevention.”
Worldwide TOP Partner GE is the exclusive provider of a wide range of innovative products and services that are integral to staging successful Olympic Games. GE works closely with host countries, cities and organising committees to provide infrastructure solutions for Olympic venues, including power, lighting, water treatment and transport. It also supplies local hospitals with diagnostic imaging equipment and healthcare technology solutions like ultrasound, MRI and electronic medical record technologies to help doctors treat athletes.