Innovative UK-based health IT firm ComMedica’s PIRILIS clinical information software has won the ‘best software Innovation’ category at the European Innovation Awards 2002, beating off competition from 20 other entrants from across Europe.

A panel of independent judges singled ComMedica  out from among competing entries after considering the extent to which the entrants’ ideas, methods and technologies were able to improve quality of life or enhance productivity.

ComMedica is an Imperial College spin-off company, launched in June 1999 to commercialise an electronic patient information environment. In June 2001 Professor Richard Kitney, who led the development team, received an OBE for his services to ‘information technology in healthcare’.

The company’s software products are based around its flagship PIRILIS (Patient Record Library System) technology, which enables the universal sharing of all forms of clinical information, including diagnostic-quality medical images and medical waveforms.

The unique architecture of PIRILIS technology allows the sharing of patient-centric information through flexible web-based, platform independent software that uses proven, open-system technology. PIRILIS can communicate with a wide range of medical devices and IT applications and can be accessed via any web browser on any network-connected device.

Mark Simon, ComMedica’s Chief Executive Officer, said the award provides confirmation that PIRILIS technology represents a fundamentally new way in which IT can enable healthcare. He told E-Health Insider that the award was "recognition that ComMedica is a leading innovator in health IT."

Mr Simon added: "Electronic medical records provide the key to improving the quality of global healthcare – in five years they will be as widely accepted as the stethoscope."

PIRILIS is already in use the UK, Ireland, the USA and the Middle East, including the University of Southern California Hospital in Los Angeles, whose radiology department has been running trials on PiRiLiS in the past two years, and King Fahd Hospital in Jeddah, Saudi Arabia, is installing PiRiLiS to maintain the clinical records of more than two million patients.

The system was officially launched in the UK at BMI’s The Princess Margaret Hospital in Windsor, Berkshire, in June 2002. PIRILIS is also being used by St Mary’s Hospital in London

ComMedica believes that the UK market has huge potential. The government is committed to investing over £40 billion extra into the NHS over the next five years, with significant investment expected in electronic record systems and modernisation of NHS IT.

In addition to selling its software directly ComMedica has developed partnerships with leading health application vendors. iSoft PLC, one of the UK’s biggest healthcare application vendors, has begun working with ComMedica as its imaging partner and looking at incorporating PIRILIS as an add-on to its applications.

"iSoft are considering how they can use ComMedica’s technology for imaging and wave form handling," said Mr Simon. He added that further relationships of this kind with leading application vendors were planned.

Future developments for ComMedica’s software may include the development of e-prescriptions, and applying PIRILIS’s image and waveform handling technology to new clinical areas.

"The European Innovation Awards are designed to reflect the critical importance that innovation plays in the growth and survival of a company in today’s market," said Frederick Kempe, editor, The Wall Street Journal Europe, the sponsors of the innovation award.

Mr Kempe added: "ComMedica’s software will make it much easier for doctors to create patients’ electronic records by combining images and reports. We wish them every success with this product."

The prestigious award will be presented to ComMedica at a gala dinner to be held at the Eiffel Tower in Paris on 4 December.