Anoto Group is helping breast cancer screening centres in France to speed up mammogram analysis using its digital pen and paper technology, as part of a national screening programme.
Anoto launched its new software package, Anoto Forms Solution, designed specifically for the European health market earlier this year.
The technology is being used to aid implementation of the French government’s ‘Plan Cancer’ programme, where all French women between the age of 50 and 75 are offered mammography every two years.
According to French law, the screening result has to be interpreted twice: once by the examining radiologist and then by a second expert. The expert reviews the examining radiologist’s notes and scrutinises the mammogram.
This procedure used to be performed by administrative staff without any medical training and, as such, was prone to errors.
By using the digital pen and special paper, the pen remembers what is written or drawn, and the data is transmitted back to a PC, or back-end server, where character recognition is performed.
Anoto say that the technology will help to reduce waiting lists for breast cancer screening in France by significantly shortening the time it takes to analyse mammograms: “the risk has been virtually eliminated by the use of digital pen and paper (DPP).
“A visual check of the digital forms is now only required in less than 5% of cases, giving the DPP-based solution an accuracy of more than 95%.”
By using the technology, the company claims that breast cancer screening centres using the digital pen will be ready for the second stage of France’s national ‘Plan Cancer’ programme, set to start early in 2008.
“Faster processing of the results means that screening centres can meet the legal requirement of sending out results within two weeks of the examination, and schedule new appointments more quickly,” the company suggests.
The digital pen is now used in 12 of France’s 90 departments, and around 200,000 mammograms have been performed with the help of Anoto’s DPP technology in France this year. On average, each department runs 30,000 breast cancer scans every year.
One of the health centres that has implemented DPP technology is in the French Département of Haute Garonne.
Its medical co-ordinator, Dr Lepec, said: “For us, the time reduction that the digital technology has brought us means that we can initiate the new screening programme earlier. After 15 months’ experience of Anoto’s technology, the data transfer has become almost 100% reliable. No working routines have been changed and the system has been functioning without interruption.”
Anoto’s long-term objective is to equip the 45 departments who perform the most scans with DPP technology so they are prepared for the next stage of France’s ‘Plan Cancer’ programme, to begin early next year.