Portuguese engineers actively contribute to European telemedical inheritance

Aveiro 26 May 1998 Digital storage and retrieval of biosignals, multimedia distributed information system design, telecardiology for patients at home, medical tele-imaging, just name it and Dr. Antonio Sousa Pereira will refer to a current project in these areas at INESC or the Istituto de Engenharia de Sistemas e Computadores. This department of the University of Aveiro in Portugal has proven to be an ardent partner at the first ERCIM Workshop of Health and Information Technology (HIT), where several IT health care projects were presented to the participants, at the GMD offices in Sankt Augustin.

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Digital storage and retrieval of biosignals, multimedia distributed information system design, telecardiology for patients at home, medical tele-imaging, just name it and Dr. Antonio Sousa Pereira will refer to a current project in these areas at INESC or the Istituto de Engenharia de Sistemas e Computadores. This department of the University of Aveiro in Portugal has proven to be an ardent partner at the first ERCIM Workshop of Health and Information Technology (HIT), where several IT health care projects were presented to the participants, at the GMD offices in Sankt Augustin.

The INESC team has designed a range of devices in the field of biomedical instrumentation to simultaneously acquire, store and retrieve both dynamic biologic data and video information. These advanced systems handle electrocardiographic as well as electro-encephalographic biosignals and are used in cases, such as epilespy and psychologic disorders.

Other achievements concerning biological signals' treatment, relate to the set up of a digital storage and interchange format, referred to as SIGIF, and to the development of analysis tools. Neurophysiologists on the other hand, can benefit from LINe, an integrated multimedia distributed information system. In the future, LINe will also pay services in diagnostic matters for other medical specializations.

The research in biological signals' processing has led up to a series of useful telehomecare projects for cardiology. Patients located at home or underway in ambulances receive help through the telemonitoring of their heart signals over fast PSTN, ISDN and GSM lines. In the same way, general practitioners consult cardiologists by means of teleconferencing while transferring the patient's ECG data for diagnosis and manipulation.

INESC is equally involved in the development of new prototypes for medical imaging to be used in Radiological Information as well as in Picture Archival Computer Systems (PACS). The technology is based on the popular Digital Imaging and Communications in Medicine (DICOM 3.0) standard.

Forty health care facilities in Portugal have integrated the tele-imaging system, which has been designed by INESC. The ongoing teamwork focuses on the extension of a similar system with diagnostic features, that will be operable through ISDN. You can find out more about the INESC health care research activities at their Web site.


Leslie Versweyveld

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