VMW Monthly - June 1998 - ISSN 1388-722X


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Contents June 1998 Issue

 
atlantic
 
Telemedical challenges in the regional north of the USA
Medical students explore the human body in cyberspace
Wireless communication for remote physiological data monitoring
 
Euromed
 
Prototype demonstration of a Web based distributed medical data system
Management and transfer of EEG data through TeleEEG
World Wide Web glues patient data puzzle together
The use of Trusted Third Parties for secure telemedical traffic over the Web
Wavelet lossless coding is a breakthrough in medical imaging
Internet technologies optimise access to patient records
 
hospital
 
The Holy Grail of Virtual Reality and Medical Imaging
Telemedical and 3D medical imaging projects or the future at your doorstep
Diagnostic image processing on high performance architectures
Communication and physical examination as basic aspects of global telemedicine
The establishment of a health care network between the hospital and the general practitioner
BT Laboratories put telecare into practice in the UK
 
industrial
 
New member Capsule Technologie supports Andover Working Group in plug-and-play health care computing
Philips Medical Systems appointed as reseller in Benelux of Sysware's PowerLAB
 
planet
 
Funding and building HP networks for research and education in Europe
Health care technology in European research programmes: from Fourth to Fifth Framework
Criteria for quality control of medical Web sites
Sonification as added value to map brain activity in a VRML based environment
The French Connection: networking between health professionals
Information Society Standardisation in market and industry with ISIS
Transforming telemedicine into a self-supportive service using satellites, Internet and digital video
 
snap
 
Joint venture between two Australian telecommunications giants initiates NewStar programme
20th anniversary of EMBS Conference celebrated in Hong Kong
The creation of a Virtual Medical Worlds Community
PHP Healthcare Corporation installs forty JavaStation Network Computers
Examples of patient related telemedical services
Treated issues and resolutions proposed at EuroMed Net'98 in Cyprus
Europe's political viewpoint on the telemedical information society
Building an Electronic Biomedical Library Image Service for Europe
 

Leads June 1998 Issue

 
atlantic
 
Telemedical challenges in the regional north of the USA
Full Article The building and assessing of a regional telemedicine testbed at the University of Washington has proven that the American experience is not so far apart from the European situation as we might imagine. In her talk at the ITIS Conference, Professor Sherrilynne Fuller gave a vivid account on what telemedicine involves in geographically separated and isolated areas, in order to define the regional needs and testbed components. She briefly but explicitly mentioned the policy and technical hurdles before entering into the interesting details of the research and evaluation of a project, which is trying to reconcile the perpetual fog and traditional way of living in Alaska with the wonders of telemedicine.
Medical students explore the human body in cyberspace
Full Article The potential of Virtual Reality for educational purposes is fully being discovered at the University of California, San Diego (UCSD). After seven million dollars of profound research during four years of hard work, Professor Helene Hoffman came up with the Anatomic VisualiseR, a revolutionary means to create new procedures of learning for medical students within a Virtual Environment. She offered the ITIS'98 audience a vivid account on the tremendous advantages but also on the enormous technical challenges, brought up by this authentic training approach.
Wireless communication for remote physiological data monitoring
Full Article In 1997, Hong Kong has spent 107 million dollars on wireless communication facilities and at the Chinese University of Hong Kong (CUHK), a telemedicine network has been set up, through which a link can be established between Beijing and Shangai. Dr. Zhang Yuan Ting confronted the ITIS attendants with the amazing development of telemedical implementation in Asia. In fact, telemedicine could be described as telecommunications applied in medicine. He rather speaks of electronic technology however, as not to scare politicians off. In Hong Kong as much as elsewhere, the acquisition of the necessary funding constitutes a delicate issue.
 
Euromed
 
Prototype demonstration of a Web based distributed medical data system
Full Article At the University of Belgrade, a research team led by Professor Zoran Jovanovic, has developed an experimental medical data system for remote access via the Web. The team is partnering with the Euromed project workers to establish a standardised system for generating unique personal medical home page sites. At the ITIS'98 Conference, Professor Jovanovic and his colleague presented a first demo-version of the working prototype to show the audience that all basic concepts already are functioning. As a next step, clinical practice will be needed to optimise the system.
Management and transfer of EEG data through TeleEEG
Full Article During the HPCN Europe 1998/ITIS Conference, Domenico Conforti, researcher at the Department of Electronics, Informatics and Systems (DEIS) at the University of Calabria, presented two telemedical software packages for computer aided diagnosis. Both Computer Aided Medical Diagnosis (CAMD) for breast cancer and TeleEEG to support the EEG data analysis and transmission are being realised in the overall framework of the Euromed project. Let's have a closer look at the purpose, features, strategies and results of the TeleEEG initiative with relationship to the quality improvement of health care.
World Wide Web glues patient data puzzle together
Full Article In his introductory talk, ITIS'98 chairman Andy Marsh defined the scope of the Euromed project and outlined the frame for a future Telemedical Information Society (TIS) as to try and trigger off plenty of fertile discussion among the conference participants during this three-day gathering on telemedicine in its multiple aspects. He introduced the World Wide Web as the common glue between the different multi-media medical information systems, using the power of Java and the variety of local servers. The central focus in the system is the patient health care homepage as a unique URL address on the Web. This collective point of all dispersed medical patient data constitutes the core of the organisational TIS structure, formed by Euromed's twenty building blocks.
The use of Trusted Third Parties for secure telemedical traffic over the Web
Full Article The Internet is an open network. If you want to establish a telemedical information society (TIS) by using the World Wide Web as the common and global communication protocol, you have to integrate the necessary security components and measures to avoid unauthorised access and malicious manipulation of the local or remote medical data. In order to safeguard the patient's privacy, the EUROMED-ETS initiative, supported by the European Commission within the INFOSEC programme, has tackled the multiple security issues through the special installation of Trusted Third Parties services (TTPs) over a secure Web. At the ITIS'98 Conference, Dr. Despina Polemi of the National Technical University of Athens (NTUA) described the different EUROMED-ETS activities, which are complementary to the Euromed project, in a physical, human and theoretical context.
Wavelet lossless coding is a breakthrough in medical imaging
Full Article Mr. Adrian Munteanu is a colleague of Euromed-partner, Dr. Paul Cristea from the University of Bucharest. At the Free University of Brussels, he is involved in research projects on data compression. Before the ITIS audience, he presented an advanced method of wavelet lossless compression, which outperforms the classical zero-tree coding. Compression algorithms including integer wavelet transforms and the new significance maps coding techniques are suitable for applications that require remote browsing through large image data sets and real time archiving of medical images.
Internet technologies optimise access to patient records
Full Article A freshly graduated German doctor claims to never have used the Internet and leaves an enthusiastic Web addict like Dr. Tuomo Kauranne from the University of Joensuu in Finland stunned. If this young physician doesn't have any experience with the Web, then how should the mature and older generation of general practitioners (GPs)? This little anecdote shows we cannot take the general characteristics and medical advantages of the Internet for granted. Sounds like an excellent occasion to dot the i's and cross the t's, our Finnish speaker at the ITIS'98 Conference must have thought. His concise lecture constituted a conscious return to the basics of Internet technology.
 
hospital
 
The Holy Grail of Virtual Reality and Medical Imaging
Full Article Professor Richard Robb, director of the Biomedical Imaging Resource (BIR) at Mayo Clinic in Rochester, Minnesota, was a noticeable guest at the first ITIS Conference. Virtual Reality, medical imaging, and their applications constitute no less than a religion to this man, who confesses to have been all his life a die hard "Star Trek" fan, absolutely devoted to the skills of "Bones McCoy", the surgeon of the Star Trek Enterprise. Nevertheless, his medical experiences are fully bathed in the every day practice of fascinating and innovative visualisation techniques. This talented speaker effortlessly enticed his audience into a world where myth and reality self-evidently are shaking hands.
Telemedical and 3D medical imaging projects or the future at your doorstep
Full Article Dr. Georgios Sakas is Head of the Cognitive and Medical Imaging Department at the Fraunhofer Institute for Computer Graphics. At ITIS'98, he presented four exciting projects in which the institute is actively involved together with other partners to try and bring together HPCN, 3D modelling and telemedicine. A few of these initiatives are supported by the European Commission. This spirited speaker proved that the advanced (tele)medical technologies we often talk about, are not hidden away in some misty vision but are constantly being optimised, refined, tested and applied here and now. Seems as if we were travelling "back to the future..."
Diagnostic image processing on high performance architectures
Full Article The Italian Inter-University Consortium CINECA is a large supercomputer centre, specialised in vector and parallel optimisation of algorithms and code development in all kinds of scientific fields. Diagnostic medical image processing is one of them. During the ITIS Conference, Dr. Sanzio Bassini and his colleague, Mrs. Cinzia Zannoni, presented some of the European Commission medical projects, in which CINECA has been involved. This interesting contribution showed how High Performance Computer Networking (HPCN) can offer extremely useful support in the pre- and post-processing of medical images, like it did in the ESPRIT based project, referred to as PROMISE.
Communication and physical examination as basic aspects of global telemedicine
Full Article Before starting to talk about telemedicine, we should realise ourselves that good medical practice starts with diagnosis, treatment, and possibly prevention of human diseases of the body as well as the mind. Some millenaries ago, Hippocrates proclaimed the rules of the medical act and the procedures of the clinical examination. Professor Jean-François Moreau, who is chairman of the Department of Radiology in the Hospital Necker of Paris, warned the ITIS'98 participants that these principles still keep their content and value, even and especially in the telecommunication era. He held an ardent plea for the "use of the five senses" in the contact between physician and patient.
The establishment of a health care network between the hospital and the general practitioner
Full Article As the Managing Director of the National Health Service (NHS) Telecommunications Branch in the United Kingdom (UK), Mr. Tony King was offered the occasion at ITIS'98 to present the recent evolution of the network facility tender, issued by NHS. The overall idea is to build a system network, connecting the general practitioner's (GP) offices to the hospital sites to allow direct access to essential patient related information as well as to book immediate hospital consultant appointments. By the end of 1998, several demonstration sites will be set up for testing. A year later, it should be possible to transmit the hospital test results to the GPs' surgeries. Finally, in 2002, the network services will be made available across the country.
BT Laboratories put telecare into practice in the UK
Full Article People considering telemedicine as a beautiful but unviable dream, were suddenly wide awake. Dr. Paul Garner confronted them, during his ITIS-conference talk, with the impressive video images of daily telemedical practices as developed at the British Telecommunications (BT) Laboratories, in the fields of teleconsultation, education, lifestyle monitoring and telecare. This UK experience shows the commercial and technical potential of relatively simple and inexpensive solutions, covering a wide range of useful home and hospital services, accessible for ordinary people like you and me.
 
industrial
 
New member Capsule Technologie supports Andover Working Group in plug-and-play health care computing
Full Article Capsule Technologie recently joined the Andover Working Group (AWG) to support their activities in the fast growing field of interoperable health care applications. As a new supporting member, this innovative software development company already displays a solid background in system integration, considering the fact it was only created in 1997. AWG will particularly rely on their expertise in medical device connectivity to optimise their plug-and-play health care computing implementation.
Philips Medical Systems appointed as reseller in Benelux of Sysware's PowerLAB
Full Article PowerLAB, a fully integrated Laboratory Information Management System (LIMS), developed by Sysware Healthcare Systems, will be marketed in the Benelux under the tradename LABOSYS by Philips Medical Systems. The product supports all scientific specialities and is able to meet the future requirements of virtually every type of end-user laboratory. Philips will translate the system to Dutch and customise the screen layouts and reports without any programming.
 
planet
 
Funding and building HP networks for research and education in Europe
Full Article Europe urgently needs a decent high-performance network infrastructure for research and education purposes since the existing one is completely saturated. Various initiatives and projects within the European Commission (EC) have and are being undertaken to find our own original European answer to the huge telecommunication challenge. Unfortunately, the EC projects are limited in time, complex in administration and far too slow. The idea of involving the industry has not quite matured yet in Europe because of the possible conflicting business interests. Meanwhile, time is running out on us, Mr. Hans-Peter Axmann of the Federal Ministry of Science and Transport in Austria anxiously warns the ITIS'98 audience, so "please, do let us join forces and keep up the pressure."
Health care technology in European research programmes: from Fourth to Fifth Framework
Full Article As a representative of the European Commission (EC), Dr. Massimo Luciolli highlighted the projects related to health care technology in the Fourth Framework Programme and tried to indicate the future direction of the telemedical share within the Fifth Framework Programme in his ITIS'98 lecture. The upcoming European R&D programmes show a general trend towards enhanced flexibility and increased integration, and are characterised by their revised management procedures. Come and join us for a quick tour through the organisation of the Information Society Programme.
Criteria for quality control of medical Web sites
Full Article Internet provides access to large amounts of uncontrolled medical information. As a health consumer, you can roam for hours on the Web without finding the right solution to your problem and even get misled by commercial propaganda or pseudo-scientific news. At the Central University Hospital in Rouen, Dr. Stefan Darmoni is coordinator of an international research partnership between Europe and the USA in order to establish a methodology for the scoring and evaluation of the quality displayed by medical sites on the Web. At the ITIS'98 Conference, Dr. Denis Mrejen, member of the board of the French National Health Information Technology Industrial Association, presented seven categories of criteria, used by the international co-operation, to assess the value and validity of the numerous internet health resources.
Sonification as added value to map brain activity in a VRML based environment
Full Article At the Institute "Mihajlo Pupin" in Belgrade, a research team has developed a visualisation and sonification method in order to introduce this software into a temporal electro-encephalography (EEG) mapping programme, referred to as TEMPO. Professor Emil Jovanov explained and demonstrated the system at the ITIS'98 Conference. A standard browser which supports Java and Virtual Reality Modelling Language (VRML), suffices to create the synaesthetic effects, enabling the physician to simultaneously view the spatial distribution of the patient's brain activity as well as perceive the symmetry between the left and right hemisphere.
The French Connection: networking between health professionals
Full Article The health care organisation in France is supported by both the public and the private system. In order to guarantee an optimal service for the patient, the two parties should be working closely together. At ITIS'98, Dr. Régis Beuscart of the University of Lille, was offered a chance to illustrate the growing potential for medical collaboration through electronic networking, but also to mark down the human factors which sometimes hinder a smooth follow-up of the patient's data between the hospital, the specialist, the general practitioner (GP), the social security, and the nurses. He made an engaged plea for the strong involvement of the user in the health care network, resulting in the creed: "The Virtual World is for Humans".
Information Society Standardisation in market and industry with ISIS
Full Article A meeting which discusses the establishment of a telemedical information society, sooner or later faces the concept of standardisation. Before an attentive ITIS'98-audience, Dr. Simon Smith, a European Commission representative from DG III Industry, gave a short introduction to the Information Society Initiatives in the Standardisation programme, referred to as ISIS. He invited possible project candidates to urgently submit their proposal for the recent call of this European programme. For the current year, the European Commission has assigned a funding capital of 3 million ecu to the ISIS sponsoring activities.
Transforming telemedicine into a self-supportive service using satellites, Internet and digital video
Full Article Dr. Roberto Viola was invited to kick off the HPCN Europe '98 Conference, giving evidence of the European Space Agency (ESA) experience in the building up of a telemedical information society. He briefly outlined the future potential and the current limitations of innovative communication technologies, such as satellites, Internet and digital video. Economic factors clearly play a larger role than technical issues in the dissemination of high speed networking. People are interested in content rather than in bits and bytes. Today, telemedicine constitutes one of the most popular frontline applications in dynamic network operation. In this regard, ESA's major concern is to create a synergetic relationship between telemedicine as a humanitarian mission on the one side, and as a commercially sustainable service on the other.
 
snap
 
Joint venture between two Australian telecommunications giants initiates NewStar programme
Full Article Transcom International Ltd., a technology development and communication systems company, soon will enter the long distance telecommunications arena in a joint venture with Xinhua News Telecommunications Pty Ltd., which is fully owned by Xinhua News Agency. Together, they will commercialise a long distance telecommunications carrier in Australia and the Asia-Pacific region, referred to as NewStar. The project has been submitted for approval to the Australian government. Future applications of the NewStar programme will also include telemedicine services.
20th anniversary of EMBS Conference celebrated in Hong Kong
Full Article On behalf of the IEEE Engineering in Medicine and Biology Society (EMBS), Professor Zhang Yuan Ting invited the ITIS'98 attendants to join the celebration of the 20th anniversary of their annual international conference, taking place in Hong Kong for the first time, during the week of 29 October - 1 November 1998. As the official programme chair, he properly defined the telemedical items which will be called attention to during this festive event.
The creation of a Virtual Medical Worlds Community
Full Article The organisation of a Telemedical Information Society (TIS) implies the idea of cooperation through communication. In this regard, the set up of a Virtual Medical Worlds Community (VMWC) possibly might give concrete form to this envisaged collaboration. At the ITIS'98 Conference, VMWC-project manager Ad Emmen introduced the concept and indicated the steps which already have been taken. The general purpose is to bring together telemedicine workers and advanced Information Technology (IT) suppliers to accelerate TIS developments on a European scale.
PHP Healthcare Corporation installs forty JavaStation Network Computers
Full Article Medical management constitutes a rapidly evolving business with urgent needs at the level of information technology architecture. PHP Healthcare Corporation is an expanding company which handles medical risks and provides a great variety of management services to groups of health care providers and hospitals. To meet with the growing challenges of customised service rendering, the company has opted for an economic Java computing solution.
Examples of patient related telemedical services
Full Article Dr. Gudrun Zahlmann works at the National Research Centre for Environment and Health in Germany. At the ITIS Conference, she presented a short survey of the current telemedical applications, technical tools, global projects and patient related services. Telemedicine as a concept includes remote health care services, patient data management, and medical expertise. The general patient care is being supported by the transfer of patient specific data, knowledge exchange, and overall improvement in communications. Telemedicine involves items such as teleconsultation, diagnosis, education, management, and therapy. Throughout this vast definition, one major priority has to be kept in mind at all times: the physician has a responsibility to explain to the patient what is going to happen.
Treated issues and resolutions proposed at EuroMed Net'98 in Cyprus
Full Article As a follow-up of the Ministerial Conference in Rome in May 1996 on the "Construction of the Euro-Mediterranean Information Society", the Government and University of Cyprus, in March 1998, have organised the EuroMed Net Conference, in collaboration with the European Commission. Professor George Papadopoulos was invited at ITIS'98 to report on this event and talk about the people who will constitute the future Euro-Mediterranean society; its inherent potential that has to be generated through successful interaction; the cultural, educational, financial, and organisational issues; and the various pilots projects that will be set up.
Europe's political viewpoint on the telemedical information society
Full Article As a member of the European Parliament, Mrs. Renata Heimisch represented the voice of the political world at the ITIS Conference, and the ideas it entertains towards the establishment of a Telemedical Information Society (TIS). She firmly expressed her belief in international cooperation for the development of useful telemedical applications. On the other hand, she pointed out that the concept still remains controversial with regard to the patient's privacy. As a result, politicians have to pave the way to enable standardisation.
Building an Electronic Biomedical Library Image Service for Europe
Full Article Within the European fourth framework programme, an operational infrastructure for networked image information is being developed under the project name ELISE II, referring to the Electronic Library Image Service for Europe. Coordinator of the initiative is Michael Adeyinka, director of the Laboratory for Biomedical Informatics (LBMI) in the Netherlands. At the ITIS Conference, he gave a short but stimulating account on the activities displayed in this three-year project, which are offering him a chance to delve into some new and fascinating research.
 

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