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Topcon MD calls for open standards in Clinical Records


Andrew Yorke, Managing Director of Topcon Medical GB Ltd, has called on other suppliers of clinical record software to make their data available in an industry standard format.


Mr Yorke, whose company distributes the popular practice management and clinical records system, i-Clarity, said that he had become increasingly concerned that practitioners were committing their clinical data to computer systems, without any guarantees that the data would be accessible in future.  Practitioners were therefore potentially putting both their own careers at risk and also the health of their patients.


“This is the hidden, dark side of the revolution that we are now seeing in the recording of clinical data” said Mr Yorke. Will that data still be accessible in 2, or 4 or 10 years’ time? What will those practitioners do if their supplier ceases to support the optical marketplace, or they simply wish to change their practice management system for other reasons?’


To alleviate these concerns, Topcon has introduced a facility so that an i-Clarity user can extract their clinical record data into an industry standard format called XML. This means that any competent computer professional can take that data and import it into another system, should that become necessary. Now Mr Yorke suggests that this should be a standard feature on all systems that store clinical records.


“We’re very committed to both the idea and practice of replacing paper records with computerised ones” concluded Mr Yorke, “and we welcome the fact that the market for computerised clinical records is a good one with plenty of healthy competition. I would just urge our competitors to be as open with the data that they store for their clients as we have been – and for potential users of these systems to plan for the long term, and make sure that they will always be able to extract their data when they need to.”


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