April 2000

VMW is a monthly Virtual Magazine on Telemedicine and High Performance Computing and Networking for readers interested in computer applications in medical environments. It is produced by an editorial team composed of professionals in publishing and an advisory board with professionals in telemedicine, provides 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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Some of the following articles might have skipped your attention in the past months. Virtual Medical Worlds is offering you a second chance to catch up on a few remarkable telemedical applications and conference presentations.


Special issue with an update on results from European R&D projects, 1999 !

Each year hundreds of European R&D projects produce important results. In this special issue, co-published by the magazines Primeur and VMW, we give an update from a number of projects in the HPCN and medical sectors that were supported within the Esprit or Telematics programmes from the European Commission.

Please, check in at the telemedicine project below:

TeleInViVo, the building of an economically viable telemedical workstation for 3D ultrasound

This special issue is published in conjunction with the ITIS-ITAB 99 event in Amsterdam.

When you want your project results published in one of our next special issues, please contact the editors of Primeur magazine or Virtual Medical Worlds magazine.

ITIS99logof Visit the website of the second International Conference on the Telemedical Information Society.
Combined ITIS'99-ITAB'99 Conference, April 12-13 1999, Amsterdam.

Also featuring all forum discussions!

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MediMedia provides common gateway to multi-modal medical images in European databases
In May 1998, a two-year umbrella research & development project was set up within the Health Telematics Programme of the Fourth Framework to enable the integration of multi-modality medical images in European databases. This MediMedia initiative, funded by the European Commission, originated from the collaborative actions of seven other projects dealing with medical image processing for different purposes, and builds on their results. The MediMedia consortium aims at designing a common search engine to access the medical images from the various projects' databases in a "one-stop" query by means of an innovative user interface.

Brittany Region's hospitals soon to perform telemedicine via regional broadband network
The Regional Council of Brittany, FVC.COM and France Telecom are partnering in the development of a first-of-its-kind regional network in Europe, designed to connect more than twenty-four French cities, 1300 sites and three million citizens by 2003. At its core will be a complete FVC.COM Video Operations Center, delivering broadband Internet video services across the $50 million fiber optic Brittany Regional Broadband Network.

CHAINE creates common framework for cost-effective, integrated health care delivery across Europe
From January 1998 to December 1999, a European Commission funded concerted action was undertaken by a consortium consisting of six member-organisations out of five European countries. The project was called CHAINE since it focused on the creation of a European network to address methodological issues regarding the outbuilding of linked episodes of care in every imaginable health care setting. One of the major aims consisted in the identification and classification of patient treatment, in order to optimise the management of the available resources. This approach was assessed in a big number of concrete case studies within a thematic processing of conceptual, managerial, educational and information technical viewpoints.

Virtual Reality Exposure Therapy to tackle "Vertigo" complex
At the Delft University of Technology, a multi-disciplinary research team, headed by Drs. Martijn J. Schuemie, in 1999 started to build a Virtual Reality Exposure Therapy (VRET) environment for the treatment of obsessive anxiety, more specifically of acrophobia, which is a fear of heights. This four-year project running in close co-operation with the University of Amsterdam, will take into account the Human Computer Interface (HCI) issues unique to such a system, in order to create a real sense of presence for the patient. To this purpose, psychologists as well as computer graphics experts are playing a crucial role in the design. First, the researchers initiated a pilot study with low budget Virtual Reality equipment to obtain a better understanding of the basic VRET system requirements. A group of patients with acrophobia was treated in an environment depicting a swimming pool with two diving towers.

British scientists to develop ultra-fast grid for distributed exchange of research data
A "Grid" project is currently being prepared within the United Kingdom in co-operation with CERN, the European particle physics centre in Geneva. This "Grid" network is expected to perform a million times faster than the existing Internet. according to the "Finacial Times", the British government will probably in the course of this year, submit a request for the reservation of about euro 165 million of public funding for the UK "Grid" initiative. The "Grid" has to enable the academic world to retrieve requested scientific information from anywhere in the world, within seconds. As such, it will allow for instance biologists to exploit genetic data following the completion of the human genome project.


Shortliffe Report marks out major barriers for providing health care on the Internet
While tens of thousands of health-related Web sites can be found on the Web, tapping its full potential for health services and the biomedical sciences will require more advanced technical capabilities, according to a new report from the U.S. National Academies' National Research Council. The health and information technology industries must begin to work more closely together to ensure that the Internet's capabilities evolve in ways that support a range of activities including providing health care, monitoring public health, and bolstering biomedical research.

Blue Cross of California and e-MedSoft.com to partner in phase II launch of Telemedicine Network
The e-MedSoft.com company will implement Phase II of Blue Cross of California's award-winning telemedicine demonstration project and also manage the statewide network. Dubbed "See a Specialist Across the Street or Across the State", this American telemedicine demonstration project received national recognition in 1999 for both its "Innovations and Best Practice" in medical management from the Blue Cross Blue Shield Association. VirTx, acquired by e-MedSoft.com, has recently deployed a statewide Collaborative Medical Network of its multi-media, clinical data transmission services in conjunction with Blue Cross of California, and is building a world-wide Collaborative Medical Network for St. Jude Children's Research Hospital as well.

Wit Capital's growth predictions very optimistic for different e-Health sectors in 2000
Wit Capital, an on-line investment banking firm, also known for its investment research of institutional calibre on both the Internet industry and Web-based health care and educational companies, recently issued a report on e-Health in the year 2000. The United States electronic health care industry is analysed in its various segments, ranging from connectivity and content to business-to-consumer (B-to-C) and business-to-business (B-to-B) commerce. Wit Capital's research analysts equally have scanned in a bird's eye view the universe beyond these traditional four C's, which they indicate as the next generation of e-Health, addressing items, such as clinical care, telemedicine, drug development, and drug discovery.

Bid For Surgery gathers doctors and patients in virtual marketplace for surgical procedures
MedicineOnline.com, a full-service Internet health care site, has just launched Bid For Surgery, a patent-pending Web-based "reverse auction" which empowers consumers to actively take charge of their own health care when seeking elective, aesthetic medical procedures such as cosmetic surgery, dentistry, ophthalmology, with in particularly LASIK vision correction, and podiatry.

Internet Healthcare Coalition to await comments on e-Health Ethics draft Code
From January 31st to February 2nd 2000, the first e-Health Ethics Summit was organised by the Internet Healthcare Coalition (IHC) in order to draw up an "International e-Health Code of Ethics". A first draft of this document is currently available for public comment and consultation. IHC's aim by creating this code consists in ensuring that people all over the world are able to confidently, and without any risk, realise the full benefits of the Internet to improve their health. The draft in its present form has not yet been formally endorsed by the e-Health Ethics Summit. This will take place after an eight-week period in which the public is offered a chance to express its views on it. From April 14th, the draft will be revised for final publication, which is planned towards 15 May 2000.


Pathology departments set the tone for tele-collaboration in new Italian network
The Italian Ministry of University and Research has selected and subsequently co-financed a new project of relevant national interest, entitled "Italian Network of Telemedicine for research, education, and quality control in Anatomic Pathology" (RITAP). The project is co-ordinated by Dr. Carlo Alberto Beltrami, who is Professor in the Institute of Pathology at the University of Udine, and currently involves four other Italian universities, which are Ancona, Bari, Ferrara, and Sassari. This network will enable a greater collaboration among participants, and will equally be open to other medical disciplines. In this way, RITAP will become a model which can be adopted in a wider context.

Computer-based Surgical Trainer MIST to continue global conquest of medical institutions
MUSE Technologies Inc., a worldwide leader in the development of perceptual computing software and solutions, announced that its European subsidiary, Virtual Presence Ltd., has delivered 7 computer-based surgical trainers to Johnson & Johnson's Cincinnati-based Endo-Surgery Institute. Johnson & Johnson has currently deployed a total of 17 MIST or Minimally Invasive Surgical Trainer Systems designed by Virtual Presence, at facilities in the United States, and an additional 12 units within Europe.

European Commission to issue list with freshly approved IST projects
The European Commission has made available the details of over 500 successful projects which were selected to participate in the Information Society Technologies (IST) Programme of the Fifth Framework Programme. A quick-reference list of IST projects, that will receive Community funding from the first round of proposals launched on 19 March 1999, can be found on the European CORDIS Web site.

Six basic rules that will PREVENT you from building successful telemedicine systems
Dr. Peter Yellowlees, who is Department Head of Psychiatry at the University of Queensland as well as Director of the Mental Health Centre at the Royal Brisbane Hospital in Queensland, Australia, has a vast experience in setting up telemedicine systems. Through years of extensive practice and of trial-and-error, Professor Yellowlees has succeeded in drawing up a set of "negative" guidelines, which can save potential builders of future telemedicine systems a lot of trouble in avoiding the classical pitfalls, defined by those rules. Because every project has its own approach and has to deal with different circumstances, Dr. Yellowlees thinks it much easier to identify standards for failure than for success.

AdvanceTech Monitor reports map future of Computer Assisted Surgery, Medical IT and Virtual Reality
AdvanceTech Monitor has recently issued three detailed reports, one industry and two focus documents, on the applications of Virtual Reality and computer-assisted technologies in both medical and surgical training, in minimally invasive diagnosis and surgery, non-invasive diagnostic radiology, surgical planning and navigation, telemedicine, rehabilitation, and in related medical areas. The reports have been written by analysts with the expertise and insight required to process the vast body of information on these novel technologies, and to assemble the filtered information into a well-organised comprehensive document. Critical analysis covers technology assessment, clinical applications and commercial opportunities.


Virtual Retinal Scanning goggles allow surgeons to check patient's data while operating
The future of brain surgery just might be strapped around the plastic foam bust in an operating room at Kettering Memorial Hospital. The helmet-like device with square-framed goggles and reflective lenses is waiting to play its part in surgical interventions. These goggles project computer-generated images and data into the surgeon's eye. Called Virtual Retinal Scanning technology, it uses low-power laser beams to paint rows of pixels onto the retina, creating a high-resolution, full-motion image which appears to be an arm's length away.

Dutch medical companies provide Indonesian hospitals with innovative technology in bilateral aid project
During her visit to Indonesia, the Minister of Economic Affairs and Deputy Prime Minister H.E. Mrs. A. Jorritsma-Lebbink has inaugurated the first hospital supplied with health care upgrades from three Dutch providers in the scope of the health care project under the Social Safety Net priority programme of the Government of Indonesia. The innovative and enhanced departments of RSUD. Dr. Soetomo Hospital Surabaya were officially opened in the presence of H.E. Dr. Achmad Suyudi, MHA, Minister of Health of the Republic of Indonesia. The three Dutch companies carrying out the project, were represented by Mr. J.M. Barella, Chairman and CEO of Philips Medical Systems, Mr. Egbert H. de Groot, who is Chairman Executive Board of Delft Instruments N.V. and Managing Director of Nucletron B.V., as well as Mr. L. de Jong, Managing Director of Enraf-Nonius B.V.

Pneumo Sleeve to facilitate Hand Assisted Laparoscopic Surgery as applied in kidney transplantation
Dexterity Surgical's ground-breaking Pneumo Sleeve is being used in Hand Assisted Laparoscopic Surgery (HALS). Dr. J. Stuart Wolf and the University of Michigan transplant team apply the innovative HALS technique in delicate kidney transplant operations. Dr. Wolf has been the first surgeon to use the Pneumo Sleeve for this procedure, in which a kidney is harvested from a living donor and utilised for transplantation. To retrieve the healthy kidney, the surgeon uses his hand to lift out the organ through an incision just below the navel. Since the abdominal cavity of the patient is filled with carbon dioxide gas to facilitate the movement of the surgical tools, a special device, called a hand-assistance sleeve, must be inserted into the incision to maintain the inflation of the abdominal cavity.

Rogan's "Everything On-line" technology makes pre-fetching of digital medical images superfluous
Rogan Medical Systems, a provider of PACS, Picture Archiving and Communication Systems, located in Zeist, has introduced a novel method to present digital medical images including x-ray, Magnetic Resonance Images (MRI), and other imaging modalities, directly to the computer screen without applying any so-called pre-fetching techniques. Because Rogan's innovative "Everything On-line" technology is able to make available all the images in real time, the need no longer exists for both a time-consuming and complicated connection to the Radiology Information system nor the hospital information system.

Doctors speed access to vital patient data with new electronic health care record system
Patients at the University Hospital of Geneva have received a boost to the quality of their health care following the implementation of a whole new electronic information system. Designed with the support of Knowledge Management Company, IBEX, the system allows doctors to radically improve the time it takes to access complete patient records from departments across the hospital. By reducing the time taken to collate all medical details which are required for diagnosis, medical staff has more time for patients, thereby improving productivity and the quality of care.


Dicom to adapt Dental Imaging Suite for use in variety of medical specialities
Dicom Imaging Systems Inc. intends to expand its software product line to include a medical version of the Dental Imaging Suite software. Dicom has exercised its option to acquire the exclusive worldwide license to the imaging, archiving, retrieval and simulation software engine which will be marketed to the medical profession and related specialities under the name of Medical Imaging Suite.

Breast cancer and heart disease better diagnosed with GE Medical's new digital imaging technology
GE Medical Systems has unveiled two breakthroughs in medical imaging, which will lead to better and faster X-ray examinations for patients and generate novel opportunities for improved medical care in the areas of breast cancer and heart disease. The United States introduction of the GE Senographe 2000D mammography and Innova 2000 cardiovascular systems marks the first time a company has simultaneously launched new products to address both breast cancer and heart disease, two leading causes of death in the United States.

Siemens to enhance SONOLINE Elegra ultrasound platform with astonishing 3D visualisation features
Siemens Medical Systems Inc., Ultrasound Group has introduced significant enhancements to the 3-Scape Real Time 3D Imaging capabilities on the SONOLINE Elegra ultrasound platform. In this regard, the software upgrade 5.0 includes Photopic Ultrasound Imaging and SieFlow Imaging, innovative visualisation methods which will increase clinicians' diagnostic confidence in a wide variety of scanning applications.

Philips Medical Systems' new Inturis Suite offers integrated image management network for cardiology
During the recent American College of Cardiology exhibition in Anaheim, Philips Medical Systems has launched its latest addition to the Inturis for Cardiology family, the Inturis Suite. This fully scaleable and easily upgradable image management network solution has been designed to make use of extensively validated, but however standard, off-the-shelf Information and Communication Technology hardware and protocols. Inturis Suite offers the necessary functions required for import, on-line storage, review, analysis, long-term archiving, report and database management of digitally acquired cardiovascular angiographic images.

Dictaphone Corporation acquisition offers L&H resources to establish stronghold in health care solutions
Lernout & Hauspie has signed a definitive agreement to acquire Dictaphone Corporation of Stratford, Connecticut, a privately held leader in dictation and telephony call centre recording systems and related solutions. The acquisition of Dictaphone will build L&H's product and management resources and its customer base in the medical dictation arena as well as the telecommunications market. The additional assets from the acquisition should immediately establish L&H as a leader in the health care medical records and information management industry, expedite the launch of a separate entity dedicated to health care solutions and enhance and broaden L&H's offerings for both telecommunications and data management.


Waterford Telemedicine Partners to launch first-of-its kind Web site for current market and industry data
Waterford Telemedicine Partners Inc., creators of the Waterford Telemedicine Index, has officially launched a Web site dedicated to providing qualitative and quantitative content about the telemedicine and telehealth industry. The new site features comprehensive analyses of the telemedicine industry, profiles of major firms, daily columns and commentary, interviews with leading thinkers, coverage of breaking news, and more.

HP VISUALIZE workstations enhanced with Fakespace's immersive visualisation tools
Fakespace Systems Inc. has established a strategic relationship with Hewlett-Packard Company to expand the availability of its immersive visualisation solutions to organisations involved in product development and manufacturing. Fakespace has been named a Value Added Reseller (VAR) for HP VISUALIZE workstations. Additionally, the two companies are also discussing future joint marketing programmes and collaboration for the development of software drivers to integrate Fakespace Systems' immersive displays with HP visual computing systems.

FDA-cleared tele-health system to monitor patients at home over the telephone
The United States Food and Drug Administration has cleared the way for Eastman Kodak Company's Health Imaging Division to market the Kodak LifeView Care Station, a new two-way health monitoring system which enables health care check-ups of homebound patients through standard telephone lines.

In-room hospital patients to enjoy Internet services wirelessly
MediNet Rentals LLC has introduced its unique technology based service for hospital patients at a press conference, which was organised at Baptist Health Systems in Jackson, Mississippi, at the end of last February. Henceforth, in-room patients will be able to access the Internet, read and send e-mail messages, view DVD movies and play games in a filtered Web environment, at T1 speeds, wirelessly.

Technology for first home telecare project in Canada implemented by American TeleCare
The West Prince Health Authority of Prince Edward Island, located in Canada, has purchased American TeleCare Inc.'s home telecare systems and implementation services to be utilised in Canada's first home telecare programme. Digital Image FX company, a Nova Scotia based telemedicine supplier and consulting firm, assisted the health care organisation in finding technology appropriate for its applications. West Prince Health Authority of Prince Edward Island provides home care and hospice services to residents of this Canadian island province.