September 1999

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.

Breaking news - just a click away:

Have a look at our special edition on cluster computing for medical applications!

"3D visualization for medical applications will become a major core technology over the next decade, with image acquisition, storage, computing and networking having requirements in the terabytes and petabytes. Thus, cluster computing and high bandwidth networking will be essential."

Richard Satava, DARPA


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.

The next issue is planned in November during IST 1999 in Helsinki.
When you want your project results in this issue, 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.
Forum discussions freshly available as of 01-08-99!

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Design of finite element head dummies able to support neurosurgery planning
Ulrich Hartmann is working at the NEC Europe C&C Research Laboratories in Sankt Augustin, Germany. During Parco 99, he presented a new finite element method (FEM) based approach on parallel platforms to produce mechanical head models. The head models are used in three areas of interest. The first focuses on discovering the mechanisms behind brain injuries after impact; the second application field relates to neurosurgery planning and educational training, including the estimation of mechanical consequences of tumour growth; and the third one corresponds to the needs of forensic medicine physicians who have to reconstruct accidents in order to present their results before court.

Parallel finite element model calculations define organ deformations in LASSO surgery simulator
At the Electronics Laboratory of the Swiss Federal Institute of Technology (ETH) in Zürich, research assistant Alex Rhomberg is involved in the laparoscopy project, called LASSO. During the Parco 99 Conference, he provided an overview of the parallel architecture which has been developed in the project to perform interactive finite element method (FEM) computations for the simulations of organ deformations in a surgery simulator. Laparascopy is an operation technique for minimally invasive surgery. The basic idea is to minimize damage to healthy tissue while trying to reach the actual surgical location. This results in major gain in patient recovery after operation.

Parallel pre-processing of medical data constitutes excellent cost/performance alternative
Vincenzo Positano is working as a researcher at the Institute of Clinical Physiology in Pisa, which is part of the Italian Consiglio Nazionale delle Ricerche (CNR). His team is involved in a project in which a parallel vector machine (PVM) is used on a computer network to perform fast pre-processing of large medical data sets. At the occasion of Parco 99, Positano gave an overview of the 3D and 4D image processing performance of this parallel implementation in a clinical environment.

Virtual Vascular System to create 3D vessel models for blood flow simulation
Since 1997, a group of scientists in a wide range of areas at CRS4, the Centre for Advanced Studies, Research and Development in Sardinia, is involved in ViVa, a three-year project, funded by the European Commission in the Eureka programme. The Virtual Vascular Project partners aim at the design of advanced tools for the emodynamicist and cardiovascular surgeon to study and interpret the ever increasing number of data which is produced by non-invasive imaging equipment. In particular, the team is working on a system which will be able to reconstruct the geometry of patients' arteries as well as to simulate blood flow in them. Initially, the applications will be used for clinical research and training purposes but in a later stage, the partners want to explore the system's potential for surgical planning.

National Semiconductor and Lernout & Hauspie join forces to enable speech-activated information appliances
Lernout & Hauspie Speech Products and National Semiconductor Corporation have signed an agreement to support and accelerate advanced speech processing technology in the emerging information appliance market. This contract brings L&H's full complement of speech technologies together with National's expertise in silicon and system design and integration. The two companies will jointly develop uses and applications for L&H's automatic speech recognition (ASR), text-to-speech (TTS) as well as speech compression technologies. National and L&H plan to enable voice-activated computing on a variety of next-generation consumer electronics devices, such as personal Internet access devices like National's WebPAD, automobile PCs, handheld devices and other emerging information appliances.

Filepool to store 100 million pages on drugs approval administration and management
The Dutch Institute for Drugs Approval and Administration (CBG) has selected the Filepool solution, an innovative way of document storage, to digitally manage the incredible amount of paper files. The CBG Institute is responsible for the final approval of each new drug that is introduced to the Dutch market by the pharmaceutical industry. The documentation for one single drug often exceeds the volume of three solid metres of contents. Since several parts of one file are distributed among different administrators, CBG is facing a gigantic file version management problem. To avoid mistakes in the various stages of document data handling, CBG uses Filepool software, a combined toolset to streamline every file transaction using digital fingerprint identification, or "e-Clipping".


National Cancer Institute acquires SGI supercomputer to aid cancer research
The US National Cancer Institute (NCI) will acquire a Cray SV1 supercomputer to help NCI scientists accelerate research into the causes and treatments for life-threatening diseases such as cancer, AIDS and Alzheimer's disease.

SDSC'S NBCR project hosts BioSync Web Site
The US National Center for Research Resources at the National Institutes of Health has funded the National Biomedical Computation Resource (NBCR) at the San Diego Supercomputer Center (SDSC) to develop a Web site for BioSync, the Structural Biology Synchrotron Users Organization. The site began operating this week as a portal for investigators planning visits to synchrotron facilities and as a central resource for researchers in structural biology seeking information about such facilities. The site was announced today at the annual meeting of the International Union of Crystallography in Glasgow, Scotland, by Janet L. Smith of Purdue University, who chairs BioSync. The members of BioSync include about 500 leaders of research groups in structural biology.

Parkway Holdings surfs into cybermedicine to assist people in managing their own health
Parkway Holdings Limited has unveiled a novel personal health care service through the introduction of cybermedicine which is also known as "c-Med" in short. This new service will be made available to the market through a joint venture between Gleneagles Hospital Ltd and Interactive Health Services Pte Ltd. Parkway Holdings Limited, one of the leading private health care providers in Asia, is currently poised to break new grounds in the health care and lifestyle market in Singapore and the region.

New U.S. privacy act calls for extreme caution in globalizing the patient record
Brian Taylor, who is Health care Information Consultant at CT Enterprises, underscores the dangers for the American health care providers which result from the new United States federal Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act's security and privacy regulations and their potential impact on the globalization of the patient record. Under these regulations, the health care providers in the USA incur the risk to be held liable for any security or privacy violations, even in the case in which such violations occur abroad. Physicians and caretakers will not be allowed to ship patient records around the globe electronically without being certain that the recipient meets the HIPAA regulations for security and privacy.

Novel trends in Internet health care industry revealed in E*OFFERING's research report
The E*OFFERING company has released its first report in a series of research documents on the E-Health care industry. In "The E*Volution of Health care", the Internet health care and chartered financial analyst Caren Taylor identifies and analyses some of the current issues and trends facing the health care industry as a result of the Internet. In the report, it is estimated that the potential size of the Internet health care market will be approximately $205 billion in 2003, and at present is growing at rates in excess of 100% annually. Under this kind of circumstances, the opportunity to streamline information and improve business processes in health care is tremendous, and is bound to create a win-win situation for all participants involved.

Virtual Retinal Display-based entoptic perimetry new promising diagnostic tool for retinal diseases
For the past six years, Microvision Inc. has been developing its virtual-retinal-display (VRD) technology for specific market niches such as the design of head-mounted displays for military and aerospace applications. Recently however, VRD activity has been heating up in the medical realm. Last May, at the annual meeting of the Association for Research in Vision and Ophthalmology, the faculty of the Shiley Eye Center, Department of Ophthalmology, School of Medicine at the University of California, San Diego (UCSD), presented the results of an ongoing, year-old study of non-invasive VRD-based entoptic perimetry for diagnosing retinal disease. The VRD scans a beam of light from a remote light source across the retina of the patient's eye. People with areas of retinal damage are able to paradoxically see and localize their own blind spots.


CliniComp to install enterprise-wide clinical information system at Brooke Army Medical Center
In only 45 days, CliniComp International has implemented its Clinical Information System (CIS) at Brooke Army Medical Center at Fort Sam Houston, in San Antonio, Texas. CliniComp's CIS replaces the former company's CIS solution which was in place at Brooke since mid-1996. The short period of time between contract signing and full installation can be considered as a real achievement, compared with the six to twelve months which it typically takes health care organizations to install enterprise-wide clinical solutions.

From computational vision programming to image guided surgery at Utrecht University Hospital
At the Parco 99 Conference in Delft, Dr. Bart M. ter Haar Romeny gave an overview of the advanced applications in medicine which are actively being used at the Utrecht University Hospital. Dr. ter Haar Romeny received an M.S. in Applied Physics from Delft University of Technology in 1978, and a Ph.D. from Utrecht University in 1983. After being the principal physicist of the Utrecht University Hospital Radiology Department, he joined in 1989 the Image Sciences Institute of Utrecht University as an associate professor. Housed within the Radiology Department of Utrecht University Hospital, the Image Sciences Institute (ISI) is engaged in fundamental computer vision as well as in clinical research. An intense collaboration with the industry has amounted in several innovative imaging projects.

Hewlett-Packard to deliver cardiology data-management solution with Apollo32 software
Hewlett-Packard Company and Seattle Systems Inc. have decided to close an agreement under which HP plans to deliver the Seattle Systems' Apollo32 Cardiology Clinical Information Systems software. Seattle Systems is a major provider of outcome-oriented software solutions for the specialized information-management needs of cardiovascular medicine. The agreement is part of the HP Healthcare Solutions Group's strategy to build relationships with best-in-class technology partners to meet customer demand for more efficient and cost-effective tools to help analyse and improve the health care delivery process.

Evidence Centers examine quality screening, cancer risk reduction, and other health care issues
Administrator for the Agency for Health Care Policy and Research (AHCPR) John M. Eisenberg, M.D., has announced new research topics for the agency's Evidence-based Practice Centers (EPCs). The new assignments range from finding measures to help hospitals and other institutions spot quality-of-care problems to examining the evidence for behavioural dietary interventions to reduce cancer risk. EPCs, which serve as science partners to the agency, synthesize their findings in reports which AHCPR makes publicly available.

Cimtek Medical Company to launch first medical supply e-commerce site for hospitals
Cimtek Medical Company, a major provider of vertical e-commerce solutions to the medical supply industry, has secured $11 million in equity capital from ABS Capital Partners and Union Street Partners. The company has developed Medicalbuyer.com, that is the only Web site of its kind to offer physicians and hospitals an on-line, one-stop shopping alternative for their medical supplies.

OnStar introduces on-line medical file in newest generation of General Motors cars
Hospital emergency room people would be able to save much more lives if they had the medical files of injured drivers and passengers directly at their disposal after an accident. General Motors has taken a big step into this direction. By the end of this year, the new Opel Omega will be equipped with the optional OnStar system, which integrates a medical file into the car as the latest but very efficient novelty. OnStar was introduced in 1996 on 3 Cadillac models as a dealer installed option. Twenty-one GM models were added in 1997 and, in 1999, OnStar launched its second-generation three-button system as standard equipment on Cadillac Escalade, and as optional on eleven additional models.


Fraunhofer CRCG and USA video interactive establish joint marketing agreement
The Fraunhofer Centre for Research in Computer Graphics and USA Video Interactive have agreed to jointly develop and market "distance learning systems" for use in higher education and other applications. CRCG is a division of the German Fraunhofer- Gesellschaft. The agreement provides that Fraunhofer's Modular Training System and USA Video Interactive's Video-on-Demand and Wavelet compression technologies will be integrated for Intranet, Internet and other applications for distance education, career development, life-long learning, and corporate training.

HealthCompass medical record software integrated into Internet-based HealthResume products and services
HealthMagic Inc. and eMed Group Inc., both leading Web-based consumer health information technology companies, have signed a contract for eMed to license HealthMagic's personal medical record software, called HealthCompass. As part of the mutual agreement, eMed will incorporate the HealthCompass software into its HealthResume suite of services, enabling health care consumers, employees and members of managed care plans to maintain a portable, accurate and updated private copy of personal patient health records utilizing the latest Internet technologies.

Merging of Fakespace and Pyramid Systems creates clear market leader in immersive visualization technology
At Siggraph '99, it was made public that Fakespace Systems Inc. and Pyramid Systems Inc. have merged, bringing together two leaders in immersive visualization technology to form the world's premier provider of stereoscopic display systems and interactive devices. The new company is an industry powerhouse, with a comprehensive product line, the resources to provide global customer support, as well as a continuing commitment to innovation in the development of advanced visualization technologies.

Global Telemedix revolutionizes Web-enabled health care with TeleConsult
Global Telemedix Inc., a major industry provider in Web-enabled telemedicine and e-Health care, has launched TeleConsult 3.0 software, a powerful information and transaction system which leverages the power of the Internet, allowing health providers to extend medical care to patients. Using TeleConsult software, primary care physicians can order specialist referrals as well as ancillary department requests, which can be completed electronically, eliminating numerous phone calls, faxes, and written notes. TeleConsult not only supports text-based administrative transactions but equally incorporates unique technologies for capturing, transmitting, and collaborating with large, multimedia, clinical data over a private network or the Internet.

McKessonHBOC to conquer the Dutch hospital information systems' market through Siac
Siac, a Dutch provider of hospital information systems (HIS), has been acquired by McKessonHBOC. This American company was formed by the merger of the drug distributor McKesson and the health care information systems vendor HBO & Company. The overall strategy consists in offering connectivity to health care participants and decision-makers to lower total costs of medical care. McKessonHBOC intends to concentrate its efforts in the Netherlands on the promising sector of psychiatric care because of the excellent strategic opportunities for tight co-operation, based on the support of Information and Communication Technology.

Virtual Interactive Anatomy project to generate responsive human body models
The Dynoverse Corporation has developed a unique technology which creates animated virtual models of the human body including bones, muscles, blood vessels and nerves. This Virtual Interactive Anatomy (VIA) project includes applications with advanced simulators for both surgical and clinical procedures. The software however can be extended to vehicle crash simulations and implemented in many industries ranging from defence and aerospace to entertainment and legal demonstrations.


New UNICA service uniquely customizes 1.5 Terabytes of Motion Capture Data
Motek Motion Technology announced UNICA: the first service for Web-based access to motion capture data. UNICA is the first Web-based solution for deploying professionally captured movement in mainstream creative projects at mainstream pricing. Motek claims UNICA will provide cost savings of up to 10X over conventional pricing models for data of this quality. UNICA motion capture data can be exported into a wide range of professional 3D packages, including AVID Softimage and Discree 3D Studio MAC. Amsterdam based Motek has recently opened offices in Manchester, NH USA.

US Federal Communications Commission to reserve special radio frequencies for medical telemetry
The United States Federal Communications Commission (FCC) adopted a Notice of Proposed Rulemaking on July 14th, 1999 to dedicate a portion of the radio spectrum for medical telemetry devices. Wireless medical telemetry is used in hospitals in order to transmit patient data such as ECG or electrocardiograph waveforms in real time. As a major manufacturer of wireless medical telemetry, Hewlett-Packard Company fully supports this decision.

American Telemedicine Association to issue advice on use of medical Web sites
The American Telemedicine Association, the leading organization which promotes and guides the deployment of telemedicine, is issuing some useful advisories for consumers and medical providers on appropriate use of the Internet to obtain health information and medical services. The Internet offers consumers access to a wealth of health and medical information that can increase the knowledge and ability of the individual in taking personal responsibility for his own health. The tremendous growth in the availability of this information over the Internet is a very positive and appropriate use of this technology.

Fakespace to unveil interactive devices for 3D data manipulation and immersive visualization
Fakespace Systems Inc. has launched advanced new products and technologies for working with three-dimensional (3D) models and computer-generated simulations. At Siggraph'99, the company presented several new user interface devices, developed to enhance the usability of visualization display systems when working with applications such as product design and engineering, task training, oil and gas exploration, scientific research and more. Fakespace is also showing a new portable virtual model display with a 4-foot x 5-foot screen, and the industry's first public demonstration of force-feedback technology integrated with a virtual model display.

Compaq provides high-performance computing power to Hauptman-Woodward for drug development optimization
Hauptman-Woodward Medical Research Institute (HWI) has devoted more than forty years to research in hormone-related diseases including cancer, heart disease, diabetes, hypertension, thyroid disorders, arthritis, and AIDS. The institute recently purchased a four-processor AlphaServer 4100 system from Compaq Computer Corporation to give outside universities and for-profit organizations access to high-performance computing power for their X-ray crystallography work.

Heidelberg welcomes cybermedicine adepts at MEDNET'99
From September 19th to 21st 1999, the fourth World Congress on the Internet in Medicine will be held in Heidelberg. For the first time, this conference is taking place in Germany. The event is organized by the staff from the Department for Clinical Social Medicine at Heidelberg University Hospital in collaboration with the Institute for Medical Informatics. Over 350 participants from more than 52 countries will attend the MEDNET'99 event at the German Cancer Research Institute (DKFZ) in Heidelberg. The major sponsors are the Doccheck company, Medscape, Janssen-Cilag, Smith-Kline Beecham and Glaxo-Wellcome.