From courtside to the doctors' offices, the National Basketball League plans to abandon the paper trail and connect players' medical data digitally.
Electronic health record (EHR) vendor Cerner has announced that the NBA will use its cloud-based HealtheAthlete platform to allow trainers and doctors for all 30 teams to manage players' health care data.
The EHR platform allows care providers to document health problems in a standard format. Announced on Nov. 14, the NBA's use of HealtheAthlete enables the league to provide an automated and unified system to manage athletes' medical data.
"Together, Cerner and the NBA are compiling a complete picture of the health of NBA athletes to create a seamless experience for providers, which will enhance the overall long-term medical care of NBA players," said Jason Wander, director of HealtheAthlete at Cerner, in a statement.
Today sports medicine lacks a common way to store health data and is mostly paper-based, Wander told eWEEK in an email. The NBA will use the data from HealtheAthlete to address medical trends around the league, Cerner reported.
"Providing more standard health care with an automated and unified management system will benefit all of our players and teams," Jace Provo, an NBA physician, said in a statement.
HealtheAthlete includes a personal health record component so athletes can keep track of their medical data. The personal portal allows players to securely exchange messages with their doctors and trainers, as well as request prescriptions and schedule or change appointments.
Team personnel can search health data by player or across an organization. Advanced reporting features enable doctors to monitor athletes' conditions and spot health patterns.
The platform allows doctors and trainers to compile notes on medications, labs and specialist visits. It also stores X-rays and Magnetic Resonance images.
Being able to store radiology images will allow doctors to assess the extent of players' injuries and plan for conditioning and rehabilitation accordingly, said Wander.
Doctors can view the X-rays and MRIs in Digital Imaging and Communications in Medicine (DICOM) format, a standard for distributing and viewing medical images.
The unified platform will provide a complete picture of athletes' health, which could aid their long-term care, according to Wander.
"Before Cerner's HealtheAthlete, each of the 30 NBA teams were utilizing disparate electronic systems or pen and paper to document and track injuries, illnesses and rehab protocols," said Wander. "HealtheAthlete enables all teams to work from the same standard and unified nomenclature."
The unified EHR platform will aid players when they switch teams, Wander noted, as their medical data will travel with them to doctors on their new team.
"The NBA's determination to provide quality care for its players is demonstrated by its commitment to utilize a unified health platform to address the health concerns affecting these athletes," said Wander.
Trainers, doctors and staff can also access health data from HealtheAthlete on their mobile devices. Medical professionals have tested HealtheAthlete on Android devices and on the Apple iPad, Cerner reported.
Major League Soccer has also implemented Cerner's platform.
In addition to EHRs, Cerner offers medical device integration, remote hosting and health and wellness services for employees.
EHRs were also used at the 2012 Summer Olympic games. Care teams in London adopted GE's Centricity Practice and PACS-IW EHR applications to manage their workflow and track athletes' health.