VMW Monthly - October 2000 - ISSN 1388-722X


Virtual Medical Worlds is a monthly Virtual Magazine on Telemedicine and High Performance Computing and Networking for readers interested in computer applications in medical environments. VMW is produced by an editorial team composed of professionals in publishing, and an advisory board with professionals in telemedicine, providing the embedding into the everyday practice and research. You can put the editorial team to work as well. Read about our services and find out about the friendly rates.

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Virtual Reality, the alternative approach towards psychotherapy and rehabilitation treatment

Among the readers of Virtual Medical Worlds Magazine, there is a growing interest in Virtual Reality treatment for psychic disorders and physical impairments. At various occasions, VMW has covered several issues relating to this subject.
All these articles have now been brought together in our Virtual Reality special.

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Contents October 2000 Issue

 
Cross-Atlantic state-of-the-art
 
Two million dollar award allows Blue Cross of California's Healthy Families Programme to expand
US National Institute of General Medical Sciences awards "glue grant" to create virtual cells
Local Veterans Affairs medical facilities benefit from advanced ICT innovations in health care
Tele-home care for congestive heart failure patients evaluated under US Army grant
New NSF initiative to fund Information Technology Research aimed at bridging the "Digital Divide"
 
Industrial Chemist's Corner
 
Terra Soft's new Black Lab Linux cluster to advance MIICRO's drug development activities
Merger between Card Guard and Instromedix to create global leader in diagnostic cardiac telemedicine devices
Medschool.com and GeneEd convert health care industry to clinical and life science e-learning solutions
Inoveon Internet service offers preventive diagnostic eye care to diabetic patients
L&H's speech-enhanced dictation and transcription tools highly sought after by leading health care providers
 
Planet Europe in Action
 
Pathologists use NANOSCAN to automatically scan and colour-analyse multiple specimens on clustered PCs
EC President Prodi to prepare pan-European debate on cloning technology
Swedish Bioinformatics and Parallel Computing facilities receive grant to conduct functional genomics research
New funding supports Australian researchers in health projects under the EU Fifth Framework Programme
Hospitals in French Brittany to receive WAN-enabled telemedicine imaging services by end of 2000
 
The 21st century hospital
 
Telemedicine programme offers Fresno transplant patients better access to their medical team
St. Jude Children's Hospital offers specialised and safe radiation treatment to little tots under three
Good-bye to travel, welcome to the virtual care environment at Shriners Hospitals for Children
CASPAR robot to replace knee joints without effort at Pellenberg Hospital
Healthy tissue spared and tumours better targeted with Helax-TMS cancer treatment planning software
 
Virtual snap shots
 
Sun and Molecular Simulations to collaborate on on-line drug discovery
A.L.I. Technologies to add VIDAR's film digitiser to its PACS Product line
Preparations nicely on schedule one year before start of the medinfo2001 conference
Lifespire selects ArsDigita to create personal community circles for cancer patients on the Web
Hoag Hospital to install MedPlus' ChartMaxx electronic health record system
 
VMWC news bites
 
VIRART study to uncover the roots of Virtual Reality exposure nausea
Defining user needs for on-line surgical simulation tools and multi-media learning content for physiology
Spacelabs monitoring equipment stands tall in disaster telemedicine tests organised by NASA
Biochemists and mathematicians test new algorithms to unfold the secret of intramolecular interaction
Feature-rich tools and open standards provide added value to e-learning experience
 

Leads October 2000 Issue

 
Cross-Atlantic state-of-the-art
 
Two million dollar award allows Blue Cross of California's Healthy Families Programme to expand
Full ArticleBlue Cross of California has been awarded more than $2 million in grant funds to help improve access to health care and services for children in underserved populations and rural areas. The announcement follows an award last November of $1.2 million to expand health services to this same population, the Blue Cross Healthy Families Programme members.
US National Institute of General Medical Sciences awards "glue grant" to create virtual cells
Full ArticleIn an effort to "glue" together large groups of scientists pursuing some of the greatest unsolved problems in biomedicine today, the National Institute of General Medical Sciences (NIGMS) has provided a $5 million grant for the first of five years to a consortium of approximately fifty basic scientists at more than twenty academic institutions around the world, called the Alliance for Cellular Signalling (AFCS). Over the course of 5 years, NIGMS anticipates spending a projected total of $25 million on this project that will investigate major topics like the communication between the heart muscle cells and immune system cells.
Local Veterans Affairs medical facilities benefit from advanced ICT innovations in health care
Full ArticlePatients using the Internet to monitor their own care, bar codes to check medications before they are given, video conferencing between patients with spinal cord injuries and medical professionals, virtual reality exercises to manage pain. These and other health care innovations are occurring at local Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) facilities, and more are scheduled for the near future.
Tele-home care for congestive heart failure patients evaluated under US Army grant
Full ArticleThe feasibility of using telemedicine to monitor the health of patients from their homes will be evaluated under a Department of Army grant to Mercy Home Health Services, the home health care subsidiary of Mercy Health System, operating in the Philadelphia region. Mercy Home Health Services has selected monitors from Spacelabs Medical Inc. as the monitoring component in a specialised communication package for use in the research study in a group of patients with congestive heart failure (CHF).
New NSF initiative to fund Information Technology Research aimed at bridging the "Digital Divide"
Full ArticleThe US National Science Foundation (NSF) has awarded its first grants under the new $90 million Information Technology Research (ITR) initiative. The awards, which will spur fundamental research and innovative applications of Information Technology, are a step toward building on United States leadership in this area of growing importance to the economy.
 
Industrial Chemist's Corner
 
Terra Soft's new Black Lab Linux cluster to advance MIICRO's drug development activities
Full ArticleMIICRO Inc. has agreed to purchase a parallel computing cluster based on PowerPC microprocessors from Terra Soft Solutions Inc., Loveland, Colorado. MIICRO Inc. will use this high-speed computing environment to advance the development of its neuro-informatics services, namely the rapid screening of central nervous system (CNS) compounds and the development of high-speed image analysis tools.
Merger between Card Guard and Instromedix to create global leader in diagnostic cardiac telemedicine devices
Full ArticleCard Guard Scientific Survival Ltd. has acquired Instromedix, a division of ALARIS Medical Systems Inc., which is a wholly owned operating subsidiary of ALARIS MEDICAL Inc. The acquisition will position Instromedix and Card Guard Scientific Survival Ltd., as the global leader in diagnostic cardiac telemedicine devices. The purchase price was fixed at $30 million cash. Net cash proceeds, after taxes and other estimated costs, have been used by ALARIS Medical to repay $18 million of its bank debt. Over the next several months, ALARIS Medical will assist Card Guard in setting up a fully independent headquarters and manufacturing facility in San Diego. During this transition, ALARIS Medical will continue to manufacture Instromedix' products for Card Guard on an Original Equipment Manufacturing (OEM) basis.
Medschool.com and GeneEd convert health care industry to clinical and life science e-learning solutions
Full ArticleMedschool.com, a major e-learning company delivering medical school quality education to health care professionals as well as organisations worldwide, has signed a partnership agreement with GeneEd, the leading provider of e-learning solutions for the life sciences, to jointly create and market customised training courseware to pharmaceutical, medical device and other health care industry companies.
Inoveon Internet service offers preventive diagnostic eye care to diabetic patients
Full ArticleWesley Jessen VisionCare Inc., a major investor in Inoveon Corp., has installed the Inoveon Advanced Diabetic Retinopathy Evaluation Service at its first optometric test site, located in Somers, New York. This service combines the latest advances in digital retinal imaging with the power, flexibility and speed of the Internet to detect abnormalities in the blood vessels of the retina caused by diabetes. It also pinpoints the level of diabetic retinopathy and provides clinical management guidelines.
L&H's speech-enhanced dictation and transcription tools highly sought after by leading health care providers
Full ArticleSeveral prominent health care organisations have signed licensing agreements for Lernout & Hauspie's Dictaphone Enterprise Express and PowerScribe medical information management solutions. This underscores the company's position as the information management vendor of choice among health care providers. The newly formed L&H Dictaphone Health care Solutions Group (HSG) combines L&H and Dictaphone health care industry expertise and technology, in order to provide a range of health care information management offerings aimed at increasing productivity while reducing costs.
 
Planet Europe in Action
 
Pathologists use NANOSCAN to automatically scan and colour-analyse multiple specimens on clustered PCs
Full ArticleUnder the Fourth Framework Esprit Programme, funded by the European Commission, a team of developers from the Danhit Technology Transfer Node (TTN) at the University of Copenhagen, Dimac Imaging, and the Department of Pathology at the Danish Randers Hospital have been working on the NANOSCAN project from 15 March 1998 until 14 September 1999. The NANOSCAN team successfully succeeded in applying parallel computing power to automatically scan cytology and histology specimens into the computer. The specimens afterwards have to be examined with existing software for colour analysis technology. Together with a number of other TTN health care Esprit projects, the NANOSCAN results are now being presented in a newly edited brochure, entitled "Image Processing and Parallel Computing in Medical Applications".
EC President Prodi to prepare pan-European debate on cloning technology
Full ArticleCloning technology has recently become the topic of conversation number one among the legislative ranks within the European Union Member States. The President of the European Commission, Romano Prodi, is calling for an open, pan-European debate on the matter. The Commission has been quick to stress though that it has no intention of legislating or harmonising research in this field. Instead it merely wants to provoke an open discussion on cloning, with the assistance of existing initiatives in the Fifth Framework programme and the European Group on Ethics, which is currently preparing its opinion on the matter for presentation to the Commission in November.
Swedish Bioinformatics and Parallel Computing facilities receive grant to conduct functional genomics research
Full ArticleIn the spring of 2000, the Knut and Alice Wallenberg Foundation awarded 7.5 million Swedish crowns (MSEK) for bioinformatics development to Gunnar von Heijne and Björn Engquist. The grant will be awarded over 5 years, at 1.5 MSEK per year, and is part of an 800 MSEK grant for functional genomics.
New funding supports Australian researchers in health projects under the EU Fifth Framework Programme
Full ArticleAustralian researchers who collaborate with European Union (EU) partners in health and medical research projects under the Quality of Life theme of the Fifth Framework programme (FP5) can now apply for assistance from their own National health and medical research council (NHMRC). Collaboration in RTD between the EU and Australia is considered of mutual interest because of the high quality of research in both regions. Australia is one of the major economic partners of the EU, which adds to the importance of having links such as imports and investment funds, stretching to research and development.
Hospitals in French Brittany to receive WAN-enabled telemedicine imaging services by end of 2000
Full ArticleSamba Technologies, the wholly-owned subsidiary of Ampersand Medical Corporation in France, has commenced installation of equipment and technology under a contract to provide telemedicine imaging for a Wide Area Network (WAN). The WAN, which was recently developed by France Telecom, will connect hospitals in Brittany, France. Telemedicine imaging enables physicians and other health care providers to receive information electronically.
 
The 21st century hospital
 
Telemedicine programme offers Fresno transplant patients better access to their medical team
Full ArticleA pilot telemedicine programme, which is initiated by California Pacific Medical Center's Kidney and Pancreas Transplant Team is the first of its kind in the United States to significantly reduce the amount of travelling for patients who live too far away from the medical centre. While the actual transplant surgery is performed at California Pacific Medical Center in San Francisco, the addition of telemedicine and local doctor visits takes some of the hassles out of life for patients with a new organ.
St. Jude Children's Hospital offers specialised and safe radiation treatment to little tots under three
Full ArticleSiemens Oncology Care Systems Group has made public the latest results of its PRIMART linear accelerator technology that is in use at St. Jude Children's Research Hospital in Memphis, Tennessee, where children as young as 12 months are being treated for complex brain tumours with highly focused conformal radiation therapy.
Good-bye to travel, welcome to the virtual care environment at Shriners Hospitals for Children
Full Articlee-MedSoft.com, a leading Application Service Provider (ASP) of comprehensive health care portal solutions, has been chosen as the Vendor of Choice for network medicine solutions by Shriners Hospitals for Children, a network of 22 hospitals and clinics which provide no-cost orthopaedic and burn care to children in the United States, Canada and Mexico. As Shriners' Vendor of Choice, e-MedSoft.com company will become the sole supplier of network medicine solutions to Shriners' global organisation of 22 hospitals and clinics.
CASPAR robot to replace knee joints without effort at Pellenberg Hospital
Full ArticleSince the beginning of September 2000, tests have started at the Belgian University Hospital Pellenberg with CASPAR, a German Computer Assisted Surgical Planning and Robotics system. The robot is used for the autonomous implantation of knee prostheses. Advanced technology limits the role of the surgeon to the pre-operative input of the patient data on a computer disk. Subsequently, CASPAR performs the intervention with much more precision than a surgeon would. So far, CASPAR has already carried out six knee replacements in Leuven. In the meanwhile, plans are made for the end of 2001 to use the equipment also for other delicate interventions, including hip replacements and spinal implants.
Healthy tissue spared and tumours better targeted with Helax-TMS cancer treatment planning software
Full ArticleMDS Nordion's treatment planning software, Helax-TMS, has been applied for the first time in North America, at the Cross Cancer Institute in Edmonton, to treat a cancer patient utilising Intensity Modulated Radiation Therapy (IMRT). MDS Nordion is leading the way in the implementation of IMRT, a revolutionary technology that significantly enhances the accuracy of cancer treatment using radiation. IMRT is expected to provide new hope for cancer patients.
 
Virtual snap shots
 
Sun and Molecular Simulations to collaborate on on-line drug discovery
Full ArticleSun Microsystems and Molecular Simulations Incorporated (MSI), which is a wholly owned subsidiary of Pharmacopeia, started a collaboration to deliver advanced dot-com grade solutions spanning the drug discovery pipeline. Sun and MSI will enable cheminformatics and bioinformatics researchers to deploy MSI's solutions across networked environments and through application service providers (ASPs). The collaboration aims to open new markets for MSI's bioinformatics and structural biology products.
A.L.I. Technologies to add VIDAR's film digitiser to its PACS Product line
Full ArticleA.L.I. Technologies Inc. has decided to add the DiagnosticPro film digitiser, developed by VIDAR Systems Corporation, to the ALI UltraPACS digital image network solution for medicine. VIDAR's family of film digitisers serves the PACS, Teleradiology, Telemedicine, Oncology treatment planning, and Mammography markets.
Preparations nicely on schedule one year before start of the medinfo2001 conference
Full ArticleThere is now only one year until medinfo2001 opens at the ExCeL Congress Centre, London. Medinfo2001, to be held on 2-5 September, 2001, is the tenth triennial congress of IMIA, the International Medical Informatics Association, and is expected to attract over 2500 delegates from around the world. It will be hosted by the British Computer Society through its Health Informatics Committee and this will be the first time that this prestigious international event has been held in the United Kingdom.
Lifespire selects ArsDigita to create personal community circles for cancer patients on the Web
Full ArticleLifespire, a comprehensive cancer services company, has selected the ArsDigita Community System (ACS) suite of collaborative commerce applications, developed by software solutions provider ArsDigita Corporation. Lifespire provides on-line and off-line services for the cancer community and the health care industry. Through its pioneering Web service, the company delivers cancer education and support services enabling patients and their family to become more active participants in their cancer care experience.
Hoag Hospital to install MedPlus' ChartMaxx electronic health record system
Full ArticleHoag Memorial Hospital Presbyterian, based in Newport Beach, California, has selected ChartMaxx, developed by MedPlus, as its enterprise-wide private health record system. Hoag Hospital is an acute-care, not-for-profit community medical centre which serves both Orange County and the surrounding area for nearly 50 years.
 
VMWC news bites
 
VIRART study to uncover the roots of Virtual Reality exposure nausea
Full ArticleAn extensive report describing and analysing the Virtual Reality Induced Symptoms and Effects (VRISE) produced by viewing different virtual reality (VR) display formats has been published by the Health and Safety Executive (HSE), a British organisation. The study identified typical uses of VR in the workplace and the type of people who would be expected to use them. A survey of VR applications in the United Kingdom was carried out and case study reports on several applications are presented.
Defining user needs for on-line surgical simulation tools and multi-media learning content for physiology
Full ArticleWeb-based Standard Educational Tools (WebSET) constitutes a two-year project, which is funded by the European Commission under the 5th Framework Programme, for innovative use of interactive Web technologies to provide low fidelity surgical simulators and educational tools for physiology teaching in schools and higher education. Four end-user partners within the WebSET-consortium have been working on a user requirements report to define the most appropriate applications for implementation into the training packages for surgeon-trainees and into the learning content and material for biology students. The final goal is to generate an open, collaborative multi-user environment across the World Wide Web for surgeons and students to access via a simple browser-enabled PC, anywhere and at anytime, whether supervised by a trainer or not.
Spacelabs monitoring equipment stands tall in disaster telemedicine tests organised by NASA
Full ArticleWyle Laboratories, Life Sciences Systems and Services Division personnel, under contract to NASA, Johnson Space Center, have reported earlier this month that their field tests of Spacelabs Medical Inc. monitoring equipment were a success. The tests were part of Operation Strong Angel, a joint NASA-US Navy military exercise involving seven nations and several public health and disaster response teams.
Biochemists and mathematicians test new algorithms to unfold the secret of intramolecular interaction
Full ArticleWork on molecular intracellular processes has become more important as the overall pace of biological discovery accelerates, along with the need for new drugs to combat disease. Many scientists are developing new methods for this oncoming era of computational cell biology. At the University of California San Diego (UCSD), graduate student Nathan Baker and mathematics professor Michael Holst have been using the resources of the National Partnership for Advanced Computational Infrastructure (NPACI) at the San Diego Supercomputer Center (SDSC) to explore the potential of new algorithms which aid in the realistic simulation of protein activity in complex sub-cellular structures, including such structures as the micro-tubules to which an anticancer drug like taxol must bind to do its work in treating breast and ovarian cancer.
Feature-rich tools and open standards provide added value to e-learning experience
Full ArticleWhich component technology tools and open standards currently available are the most appropriate to fulfil the aims of WebSET, the project which is building an open distance learning environment on the Internet for surgery simulation training and physiology education? The WebSET team has put to work five technology partners to deliver a technology assessment report. This document presents a survey of the best fitting infrastructure for the integration of WebSET learning content; authoring standards and tools for suitable interacting in 3D; collaboration software that optimally responds to the interaction needs of the end-users; meta-data standards truly relevant for the project; and useful tools for procedure development and authoring.
 

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