Ariadne's thread transformed into interregional health care networking

Sankt Augustin 26 May 1998 The Centre for Medical Informatics and Health Telematics Applications (CMI/HTA) displays a lot of activity in the field of medical database management, hospital information systems development and co-operative telemedical network set ups. During the ERCIM Health and Information Technology (HIT) Workshop in May, Dr. Eleni Kaldoudi received the chance to present some of the ongoing projects in the Institute of Computer Science (ICS), belonging to the Foundation for Research and Technology in Hellas (FORTH). The CMI/HTA scientists are also searching their way through the labyrinth of generating an integrated regional telemedicine network with related telematic services on the island of Crete.

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The Centre for Medical Informatics and Health Telematics Applications (CMI/HTA) displays a lot of activity in the field of medical database management, hospital information systems development and co-operative telemedical network set ups. During the ERCIM Health and Information Technology (HIT) Workshop in May, Dr. Eleni Kaldoudi received the chance to present some of the ongoing projects in the Institute of Computer Science (ICS), belonging to the Foundation for Research and Technology in Hellas (FORTH). The CMI/HTA scientists are also searching their way through the labyrinth of generating an integrated regional telemedicine network with related telematic services on the island of Crete.

Several information systems already have seen the light in the Computer Vision and Robotics Division (CVR) of which CMI/HTA is a part. DIPE or the Distributed Image Processing Environment is one of them. This modular and scaleable image analysis system operates in an autonomous, co-operating agent architecture over heterogeneous networks. TelePACS is based on a distributed, client-server architecture and is compliant with the Digital Imaging and Communication Standard, known as DICOM. It has been designed for the acquisition, management, as well as the communication of diagnostic images and patient related data, and is currently submitted to clinical evaluation at three different hospitals.

IMACS offers the same facilities as TelePACS but with additional interface capacity to a huge number of medical imaging modalities. The patient record forms the heart of this Image Management & Communications system. The Image Indexing by Content system or I≤C has been integrated in TelePACS for the indexing, storage, and retrieval of medical images by pictorial content. I≤C tools include noise reduction, segmentation, line approximation algorithms, contour editing and storage management. Supplementary networking support is offered by the multiple-featured I≤Cnet system.

Various medical specialists are able to interactively collaborate in real time through the CoMed desktop conferencing application. Participants can enter the conference workspace at any moment to give their comments on the multicasted radiological images. Co-Med is equipped with cashing, data compression, event screening, global authentication and standard digital signature technologies. The system equally manages pre- and post-conference tasks, like scheduling, proceedings maintenance, and final conclusions broadcasting. It operates without any difficulty over slow and heterogeneous networks.

Other projects include the development of a laboratory information system (LIS), an intensive care unit information system (ICU), a pre-hospital health emergency management system (PHEMS), a primary health care centre information system (PHCC-IS), and a workflow processing environment (WOPE). Detailed information on these information and networking systems is available at the Centre for Medical Informatics and Health Telematics Applications.


Leslie Versweyveld

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