December 1999

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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 Web site of the second International Conference on the Telemedical Information Society.
Combined ITIS'99-ITAB'99 Conference, April 12-13 1999, Amsterdam.
Forum discussions available as of 01-08-99!

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Telemedicine with a bullet in the high performance computing TOP500 list
Skipping through the freshly published November 1999 TOP500 list of best performing supercomputers, it is hard to discover at first glance where high performance computing power is used for medical applications. A more profound investigation however reveals that the Cray, Fujitsu, IBM and SGI supercomputing systems are omnipresent in the delivery of all the necessary calculation power for protein and genome research, drugs design, 3D visualisation, virtual simulation technologies implemented in minimally invasive surgery, and training simulator and telerobotic system development. Believe it or not, telemedicine is scoring surprisingly high in the new release of the Supercomputer TOP500.

ITAB2000-ITIS2000 Conference Executive Committee to issue call for papers
The IEEE Engineering in Medicine and Biology Society has now approved the ITAB2000-ITIS2000 Conference to be held in Washington DC from November 9-10, 2000. The organisation staff of the IEEE EMBS Third International Conference on Information Technology Applications in Biomedicine - ITAB 2000, in collaboration with the Third Workshop of the International Telemedical Information Society - ITIS 2000 has selected as the key topic for this event of major importance: "Technology Challenges and Global Opportunities in the New Millennium".

Paper call for special issue on Medical and Health Simulation in "Simulation and Gaming" Journal
Simulation and Gaming , an interdisciplinary journal of theory, practice and research is planning to publish a special symposium issue on the topic of medical and health simulation. The guest editors David Crookall, Ph.d., and Min Zhou, MD, both from the National University of Singapore, herewith wish to invite all interested researchers and scientists to respond to this call for papers by sending in a contribution on the general theme of medical and health simulation.

Enthusiastic participants and high-quality papers more than welcome at ISTEP 2000
The International Symposium on Telemedicine and Teleeducation in Practice, ISTEP 2000, will be held in Kosice, Slovak Republic, from March 22 to 24, 2000. The event, organised by Elfa s.r.o. company, Slovak Telecom Bratislava, and the Slovak Republic ATM Association, in close co-operation with the academic institutions home and abroad, is devoted to the support, promotion, and development of up-to-date telecommunication technology and data services in practice. Interested experts in the areas of telemedicine and telelearning are invited to submit their paper abstracts in the shortest possible time.

One fifth out of 2519 submitted IST proposals successful in first call
A total of 2519 proposals have been received by the European Commission in response to the User Friendly Information Society (IST) programme's first call for proposals under the Fifth Framework Programme. Of these 555 proposals were retained for negotiation for a total budget of 930 million euros, with a further 64 proposals kept in reserve. This represents a success rate of more than one in five proposals, while the successful projects will receive around one-sixth of the total funding applied for.

Dutch IBM division opens Advanced Internet Application Centre for Europe, the Middle East and Africa
IBM has inaugurated a new centre in The Netherlands, which will particularly focus on the development of applications for the Next Generation Internet, also referred to as Internet 2. This Advanced Internet Applications Center, located in Zoetermeer, enables IBM to design technologies, that allow customers in Europe, the Middle East as well as Africa, to implement Internet applications for e-business, synchronous instant messaging translation, TV on demand, video portals, and virtual radiology.

Targeted use of VR in medicine requires detailed 3D visualisation and fast interactivity
At the Department of Informatics of the Umeå University in Sweden, Dr. J.A. Waterworth has made an attempt to map and classify the vast spectrum of Virtual Reality implementation in medicine. The principal aim of this task consists in identifying suitable niches within the variety of medical VR applications, allowing to match them with Umeå's typical needs and areas of expertise, in order to concentrate its further research and development upon. This survey of the State-of-the-art of Virtual Reality in Medicine has been funded by the University's VRLab.

European IST Prize 1999 honours Swedish Information Technology and medical innovation
In a prestigious Awards Ceremony at the Finlandia Hall during the Information Society Technologies Conference, European Commissioner Erkki Liikanen presented this year's three IST Grand Prize Winners with a specially sculpted trophy, together with an award of 200.000 euro. The lucky winners, all companies from Sweden, are C Technologies AB for C Pen, a hand-held electronic reading, writing and translating pen, communicating with PCs via IrDA; Effnet AB for ROC, a router assembled on a PCI-card, transforming a server to a multi-functional communication platform; and CyPak AB for the medically inspired CyPak, an intelligent interactive packaging designed for the safer use and administration of drugs. The system equally monitors how patients follow prescriptions and their subjective experience of the treatment administered.

Learn to anaesthetise "Stan the Man" over satellite link
The initial pilot phase of the Multimed project, part-funded by the European Space Agency and the British National Space Centre within the ARTES-3 Multimedia Initiative, is coming to an end. A team of five partners has united the principles of high fidelity simulation as applied in the Bristol Medical Simulation Centre (BMSC), of cutting-edge satellite communications, offered by the DirecPC service, and high-level Continuing Medical Education (CME) for health professionals in one powerful concept to bring to market an efficient methodology for the tele-training of medical procedures, specialities, and applications. During the 15-month test and implementation period, the Multimed team has focused on the remote training of anaesthesia scenarios in collaboration with ten pilot user sites within the United Kingdom.

XSLT brings full power of XML to everyone's fingertips
When XML was introduced, it was said "at last an innovation to give Java something to do" and indeed since the release of XML in February 1998, many XML applications have been developed in Java and in other languages. Applications in different areas, from computing, medical patient records to business-to-business communication, are showing the usability of XML. Great, if you knew how to program and had the time to develop XML applications. However, it did not affect the majority of for instance the Web site builders. The release of the XSLT standard by the World Wide Web Consortium on November 16 has changed this. It brings developing XML applications for the Web within everybody's reach. XSLT allows to transform one XML into another. During the transformation the parts of a document may be reshuffled or combined with information from other documents. The output is again an XML document. But did we not need some Java application to process XML documents? So what's the big deal about creating an XML document from another? Well, it makes all the difference once you realise there is also a version of HTML that is valid XML: so you can use XSLT to produce HTML output from XML. Thus XSLT makes it possible for XML to fullfil its promise as the "language that will change the Web".

Littlefish Open Source health record Software embodies the dream of knowledge-sharing and community-building
In early 1998, co-director Chris Fraser from Pangaea Pty Ltd., an Australian company, set up the Littlefish Health Project as an Open Source initiative as to collaboratively develop with a host of international partners a licence free patient information and recall software programme for primary health care services in developing countries, rural areas or whatever area of need. The GEHR Organisation, which is responsible for the design of a Good Electronic Health Record, recently decided to make the standardised GEHR kernel component available to the Littlefish Health Project in order to enable the team to develop open source applications for health care providers across the world.

Electronic HouseCall transforms the chronically ill into responsible, self-caring patients
Since the beginning of the nineties, the Medical College of Georgia (MCG) and the Georgia Institute of Technology (GIT) are working together in a research programme to offer interactive health monitoring services to elderly patients who are chronically ill. The Electronic HouseCall (EHC) project has adopted the intelligent network approach to enable unattended patients who are staying alone in their homes, to use the EHC system after only a little bit of preliminary training. The graphical interface consists of icons allowing the patient to control the system through a touch screen monitor. In turn, there is a central monitoring station, equipped with Windows-based tools, in order to manage patients through the analysis of vital signs and condition-specific physiologic measurements.

Blue Cross of California again generously awarded for its dynamic telemedicine policy
The Blue Cross of California (BCC), the California subsidiary of WellPoint Health Networks Inc., has received a significant grant and two prestigious awards for its outstanding care for rural, low-income patients. The first award is a $1.2 million grant from the California Managed Risk Medical Insurance Board's (MRMIB) Healthy Families Programme to implement a variety of rural community health programmes. Blue Cross of California received funding for 13 of 16 proposals it submitted to MRMIB.

Cheaper telecommunications solutions give telemedicine tremendous boost
As the overall costs of telecommunications and computing decline, the telemedicine market is bracing itself for healthy growth. The increased affordability of deploying telemedicine programmes, which is combined with a heightening versatility of telecommunication technologies offers abundant opportunities in the young market. Frost & Sullivan's strategic research, "U.S. Telemedicine System and Service Markets", examines this dynamic market, which grew 15.4 percent over 1997 totals to reach $108.8 million in 1998.

American Medical Association to launch guidelines and site for "healthy" patient information
Several medical firms in the United States have been criticised for putting misleading health information on the Internet. As a reaction to this negative evolution, the American Medical Association (AMA) has developed guidelines for health Web sites in collaboration with the United States Food and Drug Administration (FDA). These guidelines have been adopted by the Association of Medical Publishers. To set a good example, AMA has decided to join with six other national physician associations to launch itself a high quality health information and communication site on the Internet. The associations have formed a new company called Medem, which stands for "medical empowerment". The new Web site will be available in early 2000.

Cardiologists use CAMRA to perform tempo-spatial analysis of the heart function
In collaboration with two hospitals in the United Kingdom and one clinic in Finland, the Edinburgh Parallel Computing Centre (EPCC) designed the Cardiac Magnetic Resonance Analysis (CAMRA) software, which is based on Magnetic Resonance Imaging (MRI) technology. The CAMRA programme, developed under EC-funded ENTICE co-ordination, enables the accurate and reproducible measurement of cardiac function, essential to combating heart disease, one of the leading causes of death in western society. A version of the new high-speed semi-automatic analysis software is now freely available on the Internet for hospitals in Europe.

Catching sight of glaucoma with 3D visualisation and fuzzy-based decision support
At the Department of Ophthalmology and the Eye Hospital of the University of Saarland in Homburg, a dedicated team of physicians has tried out a novel prototype system to timely detect glaucoma in older patients, as well as to optimise the monitoring process, allowing to measure the progress of the disease. The advanced solution applies high performance computing (HPC) technology, as it has been based on a combination of autostereoscopic 3D visualisation, automated and interactive segmentation, and embedded knowledge based decision support. The system was developed in the Esprit funded project VISPAR, which lasted 14 months from early December 1997 until the end of January 1999.

Critical hospital incident reporting no longer considered a crime with electronic CRIME-base
At the Accident and Emergency Department of the Royal Sussex Hospital in the United Kingdom, a team from the University of Birmingham, led by Dr. T.N. Arvanitis, has implemented a Web-based system for critical incident reporting and monitoring. In two years' time, the pilot project has proven that an anonymous electronic reporting system substantially might enhance the quality of risk management planning in the hospital practice, and stimulate both senior and junior personnel to share sensitive knowledge and more readily take on ethical responsibility in a patient-centric approach. CRIME-base, as the time-saving and paperless system has been baptised, is planned to be exported abroad in the capacity of an international database of critical incidents.

Navajo Indian hospitals to benefit from latest teleradiological imaging technology
MedTel Systems Inc. of West Berlin, New Jersey and Howtek Inc. announced an award to MedTel by the United States Department of Health and Human Services, Navajo Area Indian Health Service, to provide, install and support an advanced twelve-site telemedicine system for the Navajo Area Indian Health Service. Navajo Area I.H.S. is the major health care provider on the Navajo Nation. The Navajo Nation forms the largest reservation-based Indian tribe in the United States and has the biggest Indian reservation, that encompasses more than 26,000 square miles.

Hermes operating system now also listens to "his British master's voice"
For the first time, pioneering surgery using computer equipment operated by voice commands has been performed in the United Kingdom. Surgeons at North Hampshire Hospital in Basingstoke utilised the Hermes system, a sophisticated control centre to monitor a network of surgical tools, in a series of shoulder and knee operations. The doctors were able to alter lighting, apply suction, cut tendons and slice tissue by issuing instructions through a headset.

Expert Peter Leitner shows great confidence in consumer of rapidly evolving telemedicine market
Peter Leitner, president and chairman of Waterford Telemedicine Partners, is considered to be one of the leading expert sources in the United States on telemedicine and the integration of technology and health care. He has created the industry standard -- the telemedicine index -- which offers evaluation of various companies in this field. Mr. Peter Leitner is equally a frequent speaker about the efficacy, efficiency as well as cost effectiveness of such technologies. VMW Magazine was given the opportunity to interview Mr. Leitner on the telemedicine index as a yardstick for measuring the performance of international telemedicine businesses and ask about his personal opinion with regard to the current status of telemedicine in general.

Vitrea version 2 runs 3D medical image visualisation and analysis on Windows NT
Vital Images Inc. plans to launch Vitrea 2, a Microsoft Windows NT compatible version of its Vitrea software for 2D/3D visualisation and analysis of medical image data. Vitrea 2 is Vital Images' first 3D-volume visualisation software product available for Windows NT and provides the speed and ease-of-use the medical community demands for diagnosis and treatment planning in a clinical environment.

Words "S.AI.L"ing to peace in Port Flanders Language Valley
Armistice Day in the Flemish city of Ypres, which commemorates the end of World War One and its millions of soldiers killed at the dawn of a haunting century. "Words will become peace", a highly symbolic inscription, is written on the walls of the new S.AI.L. Port Flanders Language Valley centre, which is opening its doors on this very day of all days. The 25 ha high-tech business park is presenting itself as the first Western European centre of excellence in Speech, Artificial Intelligence and Language (S.AI.L.) technology for a wide variety of applications in different domains.

Reconfigurable RAVE display system generates multiple large-scale visualisation environments
Fakespace Systems Inc., a major expert in interactive visualisation systems, has just launched its newest generation display device called RAVE or Reconfigurable Advanced Visualisation Environment. RAVE constitutes a reconfigurable large-scale immersive display system offering unprecedented flexibility and visual clarity for collaborative work with virtual prototypes and other complex graphical data. The novel RAVE system is especially designed to support multiple viewing modalities, including immersive room or CAVE-like environments, flat wall displays, and a variety of other configurations.

Toshiba to present PowerVision 8000 ultrasound system for cardiac applications
At the recent annual meeting of the American Heart Association, Toshiba America Medical Systems has presented the all-digital PowerVision 8000, a completely configured 512-channel ultrasound system for cardiology imaging applications. Toshiba designed this premium system to meet the strong performance demands of the United States health care market with advanced applications which expand system utility, increase efficiency and enhance patient care.

Moore's Law valid after 2015 due to nanotechnology breakthrough
The 1999 Feynman Prizes in nanotechnology were awarded this weekend to Phaedon Avouris of IBM for experimental work, and to a team led by William A. Goddard III at Caltech for theoretical work. Dr. Avouris, of the IBM T.J.Watson Research Center in Yorktown Heights, NY, is a leader in the development of carbon nanotubes for potential computing device applications. This work is considered directly on the pathway to molecular-scale computation -- necessary for the computer industry to stay on the Moore's Law curve, which predicts atomic-level precision before 2015.

SDSC acquires 64-Processor SUN HPC 10000 Supercomputing Platform for NPACI
The San Diego Supercomputer Center (SDSC) recently installed a 64-processor Sun HPC 10000 StarFire supercomputer. The Sun HPC 10000 will be used for both high-performance computing allocations for the researchers across the USA and strategic collaborations to simulate magnetic recording materials and the behaviour of neurons.

IBM forms large protein folding team
IBM has formed what is probably the largest protein folding project team ever assembled, to study how proteins fold. This will determine how polymers chains of amino acid residues, freshly made by genes, fold up to achieve their three-dimensional structure as protein molecules, and then perform their activities as instructed by the genes.

Virtual ReadyConference Room always available for health care industry communications
ReadyConference constitutes a new service for the health care and pharmaceutical industries, provided by Premiere Conferencing, the industry leader for enhanced, automated conferencing solutions and a business unit of Premiere Technologies. ReadyConference enables medical organisations to have on-demand access to automated conferencing services and thus meets the growing need for timely, around-the-clock communications.

DICA to unveil its new triple BRI Encryptor at TeleCon West 99
DICA Technologies Inc., a company dedicated to enhancing ISDN applications and services worldwide, recently introduced the DICA 7800-3 at the TeleCon West 99 Conference and Exposition. From November 3rd to 5th, TeleCon West highlighted novel solutions for collaborative communications. DICA 7800-3 is the newest member of the DICA family of security products, which also includes the DICA 7800-1 single BRI Encryptor, the DICA 9000 PRI Encryptor, and the DICA SecMan Security Management System.