In December 1998, the three-year Euromed project, funded by the European Commission, was completed. The initiative however is planned to widely cross the border of the next millennium and continue to build out the framework, that ambitiously has started to grow. ITIS-ITAB'99 co-chair and inspirer of the Euromed project, Dr. Andy Marsh, illustrated the concept and fundamental aspects of the International Telemedical Information Society in a video film. Ladies and gentlemen, may we ask your kind attention please, for "Euromed Project - the movie".
ITIS was born out of Euromed as the dream of a well advanced medical society based on Web-enabled technologies to deliver a high level of health care for all European citizens. In order realize this objective, Euromed has proposed the standard of Virtual Medical Worlds to integrate the diverse range of telemedical technologies and applications. The initial project started in 1995 with an ISIS programme funding of 2 million Euro and involved nine partners from five countries, to cover a large number of areas. The central focus was the creation of an electronic patient record, that can be dispersed over many sites and on different interconnected systems.
The Internet can provide this global interconnection network. The WWW or World Wide Web facilitates the remote accessibility of medical information systems via multimedia interfaces for telemedical application areas. VMW or Virtual Medical Worlds is used as a standard to generate a unique personal home page for each patient, which is divided into four sections. With a Web browser, hyperlinks can be followed to locate the patient data. VMW offers the doctor a whole set of telemedical services, like tele-collaboration, tele-diagnostics, and personalized image processing facilities.
The system equally includes hypergraphical links to follow the patient image data with the VRML browser. Wavelet compression can be used to download a medical image at a remote site. The medical record contains information on the medical centre and the doctor who performs the patient's examination. VMW supports the fusion of different image modalities for use in the local 3D image processing services. The hypergraphical representation is organized in a hierarchical structure, ranging from top level whole body image data down to specific patient's organs.
An average hospital produces annually 6 Terabytes of data which have to be stored for legal reasons. Wavelet compression might be the solution. Security constitutes another delicate issue. The Euromed-ETS project has tackled the problem by using Trusted Third Party (TTP) services. VMW 2.0 adds security and administration standards to the initial VMW 1.0 standards of imaging and compression. Euromed has proposed a 20 building block infrastructure combining technologies, such as advanced imaging and data management with well defined standards, including DICOM and HL7, into in a modular framework interconnected by the VMW standard.
Euromed is also aiming to set up a community of activities combining the VMW Magazine, the Journal of the ITIS Letters, the ITIS-ITAB conferences, the newly emerged VMWC or Virtual Medical Worlds Community working group, and VMW Solutions as a commercial extension of the Euromed project, to bridge the gap between research and industry. All these activities together represent a honey-comb structured paradigm for the building of an International Telemedical Information Society. To have further details, please visit the home page of the Euromed project.