Companies with complementary knowhow can generate a fertile partnership. An excellent example constitutes the recent strategic alliance between Visual Telecommunications Network, a telemedicine software and systems designer, and GTE Government Systems, a major provider of tools for integrated telecommunications. Together, both corporations intend to play a pioneering role in supplying all-in telehealth solutions to commercial, non-profit and government customers all over the world. For this purpose, the two partners have established an integration laboratory to present all potential types of telemedicine system configurations. And this is only the first step to what will amount into a national demonstration network for the research and marketing of telemedicine products.
The promising business relationship between GTE and ViTelNet focuses on integrated, end-to-end telemedicine solutions without the health care customer having to bother about technical hardware or software issues. All the challenges involved with telemedicine are figured out by this team so hospitals and physicians are able to fully concentrate on what matters most to them, which is on how to apply the innovative technology to enhance the overall quality of patient care. In this regard, a customized application has to be designed for each scenario introduced by a specific health care facility.
Every new system configuration is first being developed in the integration lab and extensively demonstrated before final installation at the customer's site. ViTelNet has implemented a full suite of telemedicine tools in the laboratory, interconnected over a wide range of low- and high-speed networks. As such, the customer can try out in advance the quality and performance of the MedVizer multimedia medicine visualizer, the MedVuLink tool for health care information distribution management and the MedVuNet application. The latter constitutes a network synchronization tool, which allows multimedia data transfer between existing mainframe-based health care information systems and PC-based multimedia clinical information systems. MedVuNet also includes a library of legacy health systems interfaces based on HL7.
The laboratory equipment enables to simulate all possible situations which may occur in a health care environment where telemedicine solutions have to be supplemented to already existing telecommunications infrastructure. GTE and ViTelNet plan to build a complete network of demonstration sites for the application of telehealth solutions corresponding with specific user requirements. The first nodes include connections to ViTelNet's development facility in Vienna in the state of Virginia, to GTE's Customer Solutions Center in Washington D.C., and to various provider organizations with an international reputation.
Since 1979, ViTelNet company is developing multiple multimedia telehealth information management applications on the basis of a proprietary open-architecture toolbox. The software product family ranges from images of high resolution over both videoconferencing and document management to Picture Archive and Communication Systems and teleconsulting solutions. All these products rely on information broker concepts as well as distributed computing client/server architecture in an object-oriented paradigm. As a result, the data can flow freely and seamlessly throughout the entire hospital information system.