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NEW YORK (AP) _ International Business Machines and PatientKeeper Inc. are collaborating to create a wireless, mobile system to improve communication between doctors and hospitals.

Brighton, Mass.-based PatientKeeper manufactures software used by doctors in their personal digital assistants to keep better track of patient information.

PatientKeeper chief operating officer Richard Hall said the relationship with IBM will help the company further develop its product which allows a doctor's hand-held computer to send and receive information from a hospital.

For example, a doctor could use a hand-held computer to order the hospital to perform a test or to check on the location of a patient within the hospital IBM will provide the hardware and technical support services to PatientKeeper's hospital clients. It currently has 18 such clients while about 45,000 doctors use its personal computer software.

``We needed a partner with IBM's breadth and depth to support our customers,'' said Hall.

This is the second time in two months that Armonk, N.Y.-based IBM has announced a health care initiative. In March, IBM, Pfizer Inc. and Microsoft Corp. announced they were collaborating to develop a computer system for physicians offices.

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On the Net:

http://www.ibm.com

http://www.patientkeeper.com