Since many years, the health care sector constitutes one of the major strategic business fields of IBM. Through the careful selection of competent partners, the company is able to offer advanced information technology (IT) solutions to hospitals all over the world. This has resulted in the development of integrated health care management projects, such as the comprehensive "Open Clinic Solution" and the Internet-based Health Data Network. During the MEDICA 98 Fair, held last November in Düsseldorf, IBM and its partners showed the value of integrated but affordable system solutions for modern hospital management.
Shared Medical Systems Corporation forms one of the recent IBM alliances. In Germany alone, SMS provides health care specific IT solutions to more than 600 hospitals and medical institutions. In the future, SMS will incorporate its proprietary software applications into the IBM hardware and middleware equipment. Both companies will also supply common system support services to the health care customer. Also new to the IBM product family, is the brand specific SAP solution for hospital process management, based on the client/server system R/3. This modular system supports the data- and processing model within the entire health care enterprise.
Complementary to the SAP services is the medical modular system, designed by c.a.r.u.s. Hamburgische Medizin-Systeme GmbH for hospitals, as part of the IBM "Open Clinic Solution". This programme can monitor all medical, administrative and organizational procedures within the clinic, ranging from ambulance management over operational theatre planning to diagnostic and therapeutic data encryption and security. On the other hand, the innovative BOSS KIS hospital information system relies on the art of relational database management to supply a whole spectrum of medical, nursing and administrative solutions in order to handle the work flow.
In turn, Tiani, a Viennese company, has developed the IBM PACS (Picture Archival Computer System) system package, which is able to deal with all aspects of medical image processing and archival, including a wide range of modalities, such as X-ray, computed tomography (CT) and ultrasound. Alternatively, the Hyper.COR-Kardio-PACS-System constitutes the newest release of ITZ Medicom. Currently, this software is the only existing DICOM-3 PACS system for cardiology and cardiac surgery in the whole wide world. The programme is able to generate proprietary archival solutions and fixed storage spaces, independently from standard image formats.
KAUZ is a radiological information system, developed by GAP, a consultancy and software provider. In addition to the complete monitoring of X-ray image processing, KAUZ also can be used in nuclear medicine. SerCon, an IBM subsidiary, offers comprehensive client/server platform based services in the fields of picture archival, hospital information, and work flow management with Lotus Notes and SAP applications. The company's archival concepts are based on AS/400 and AIX servers. The medglobal consultancy company has built up a virtual medical network to enable advanced communication between the general practitioner's office and the hospital.
To support the general practitioner in his patient management, the software provider MEDITEK has designed a state-of-the-art practice programme, that covers the entire range of patient data management, documentation, and invoicing, as well as extensive statistical implementation. At present, the MEDITEK PRAXIS software is being applied to a pharmaceutical database, including more than 30.000 drugs, for interactive control of the patient's drug prescription behaviour. Furthermore, Mende Speech Solutions has designed new vocabularies for medical use, which will fully supplement the successful range of IBM Via Voice products. Speech recognition packages enable radiologists and pathologists to directly dictate messages to their computer while interpreting medical images or laboratory tests.
In conjunction with major health care institutions, IBM has developed the Health Data Network (HDN) in the past years to provide the hospitals with access to the Internet. Originally conceived for the American market, HDN constitutes an integration platform for interactive data exchange, that allows to automatize hospital procedures, to avoid redundant data input, and to optimize the use of existing information systems. The open and scaleable architecture enables to interconnect different infrastructures by means of the software components Health Village Express, Health Village and HDN Express.
Health Village Express assists the hospital staff with the implementation and maintenance of self-developed Internet or Intranet contents. Health Village offers several applications, ranging from password-protected communication to data exchange between patients and different health care professionals. As the most recent product in the IBM Health Data Network family, HDN Express supports the connection between general practitioners and clinics over the Internet, Extranet or private Intranet. At this moment, the HDN software is being adjusted for the European market. The data formatting, encoding and secured transfer will be finished at the beginning of 1999. The communication protocol and data transmission will run over the powerful and reliable IBM Global Network.