Ebook: MEDINFO 2001
In the year 2002, the concept of a “networked global health” society is progressively becoming a reality. Technology barriers to connectivity, storage, and interfaces are fading while planet-wide networks are rapidly developing. The explosion of health and biomedical information, such as that produced by the unlocking of the human genetic code, can be counter-balanced by the availability of distributed and generally accessible knowledge banks. The need both for disease prevention and for continuity of care for chronic disease, coupled with severe economic pressures, has pushed various health sectors to collaborate to find optimal solutions, often crossing international boundaries. Developments in Health Informatics are accordingly progressing at great speed. As a consequence, there is a need for a broad overview of the field. This book, with an international collection of papers, provides and updated perspective on medical informatics in the new era. Bringing together scientific papers by top medical informatics researchers from around the world, this collection provides a broad overview of medical informatics for researchers and students in health related areas as well as for those in computer science, cognitive science and biomedical informatics. This book will also be of interest to clinicians, nurses and other health care professionals, as well as to health educators and administrators. Because health care workers are increasingly dealing with information systems to support patient care, research, education, and the assessment of the quality and character of care, this book can serve as an overview of the rapidly developing field of technology in global health care. The volume is organized into seventeen chapters covering topics such as human-computer interaction, information management, decision support, hospital information systems, imaging, bioinformatics,education and training, security and confidentiality, and evaluation. The topics and issues span all practical and theoretical, as well as empirical, aspects of medical informatics in global health
‘Towards global health: the informatics route to knowledge’ is the theme of MEDINFO 2001. The theme is the result of a reflection about the kind of research that is performed in leading institutions of medical informatics. Of course not all submitted papers will cover this theme, but it is expected that quite a number of papers will do.
In the opinion of the SPC Co-chairs the theme was appropriate. Many papers were submitted in the areas of knowledge representation (e.g. guideline representation, natural language processing, terminology), decision support, and information management, thus emphasizing the knowledge aspect. Other papers concerned the technical infrastructure, standards, security, ethical, legal, and social issues, emphasizing aspects of global access to knowledge and information.
As is especially apparent during conferences like MEDINFO 2001, Medical (or Health) Informatics is a very broad discipline. It not only covers the earlier mentioned subjects but also such areas as signal and image processing, robotics and virtual reality, bio -informatics, evaluation, education and training, etc. A relatively new subject is Consumer Health Informatics. Quite a number of papers discuss the position of patients when their medical information is communicated to other care providers and how they can obtain trustworthy knowledge about their disease.
We obtained about 700 paper and poster submissions. These submissions were refereed by 250 referees. Only about 270 papers could be accepted for oral presentation. Therefore we selected a number of good submissions and proposed to their authors to resubmit them as posters.
In addition to papers and posters also proposals for workshops and panels were invited. About 60 proposals were received. The SPC in their Venice meeting discussed all of the proposals and selected the ones that did fit best in the program.
We wish to thank the members of the SPC, EC and OC for their efforts. Special thanks go to the referees. We are confident that MEDINFO 2001 will be a worthy successor of the earlier MEDINFO conferences.
Arie Hasman and Hiroshi Takeda
This paper presents LINDA, a prototype system designed to support virtual rehabilitation teams. LINDA enables professionals from different welfare-state agencies to collaborate in case management. Our approach to supporting teamwork involves the sharing of minimal case sets across organizational borders needed to provide a shared situation assessment among team members. The system provides a shared workspace for the team; a lightweight client-database, visualization of case histories and plans, and means to communicate effectively in the team using yellow sticker-notes. We present LINDA and discuss how we approached the problem to design groupware to support work under changing and uncertain conditions.
Videoconferencing in the medical world has been successfully used for quite a few years. Nevertheless it has not spread significantly in daily use. Some of the problems rely on the infrastructure needed to set up a video session: one or more ISDN lines or a fast Internet connection. The first is not easily available everywhere in a building; the latter is rarely so fast to allow for a smooth operation with no quality drops. The use of Videonet, the first European commercial public Internet link with guaranteed Quality of Service (QoS), has the potential to be a breakthrough in videoconferencing. We describe this new system and its applications, with the first tests in a hospital environment. Our results show that there are still problems to be solved in order to achieve a quality comparable to ISDN.
Medical computerised systems which have a major effect on human lives (e.g. those used for diagnosis, therapy, surgery, in the intensive care units, etc) are considered as safety critical systems. Such systems are sometimes responsible for major damages and injuries due to unpredicted malfunction. Misleading user requirements, errors in the specification and in the implementation are the usual reasons responsible for non-safe systems. This paper advocates the use of an integrated formal framework based on a computational machine (X-Machine), in the development of safety critical medical systems. This formal framework gives the ability to intuitively as well as formally model a system, then automatically check if the produced model has all the desired properties, and finally test if the implementation is equivalent to the specification by applying a complete set of test cases. Therefore, the use of this framework in the development of systems in safety critical medical domains can assure that the final product is valid with respect to the user requirements by revealing errors during the whole development life cycle and subsequently add to the confidence of their use. The proposed framework is accompanied by an example, which demonstrates the use of X-Machines in specification, testing and verification.
A fundamental requirement for achieving continuity of care is the seamless sharing of multi-clinical information. Several different technological approaches can be followed to enable the sharing of health record segments. In all cases interoperability between systems is a prerequisite and this requires presently a major technological challenge. Interoperability can be achieved either through messages or through a more advanced approach based on a federation of autonomous systems. Message based integration is centered mainly on the exchange of HL7 and DICOM messages for achieving the functional integration of clinical information systems (CIS) at institutional or regional level. The federated approach is principally used for facilitating the virtual view of the Integrated Electronic Health Record (I-EHR), without having to replicate unnecessary information.
Within the context of HYGEIAnet, which is the regional health telematics network of Crete, both approaches have been utilized for providing end users with seamless access to clinical information. Both are based on an open architecture, which provides the framework for the reuse of standardized common components and public interfaces. This work presents the experiences related to the implementation of “messaging” and ‘federating” in HYGEIAnet, which are used complementary to each other. A comparison of the two parallel approaches, together with their strengths and weaknesses is described, and evaluation is given from the technological as well as the end users’ perspective. Emphasis is given on the technological challenges in developing open, component-based information infrastructure to support integrated service delivery.
As patient's medical data is disseminated in different health structures, developing a medical or epidemiological patient-oriented data warehouse has some specific requirements compared to intra healthcare structure datawarehousing projects. The difference is that the healthcare structures implicated in a patient-oriented data warehouse project require some considerations about the confidentiality of the patient data and of the activities of healthcare structures.
Building a data-warehousing system at a regional level, for example in cancerology, requires the participation of all concerned health structures, as well as different health professionals. The heterogeneity of sources medical data of has to be taken into account for choosing between several organizational configurations of the data warehousing system.
In top of data warehousing, we propose a concept of Virtual Intranet, which provides a solution to the problem of medical information security arising from heterogeneous sources.
Internet2 is a consortium of leading U.S. universities working in partnership with industry and the U.S. government’s Next Generation Internet (NGI) initiative to develop a faster, more reliable Internet for research and education including enhanced, high-performance networking services and the advanced applications that are enabled by those services . By facilitating and coordinating the development, deployment, operation, and technology transfer of advanced, network-based applications and network services, Internet2 and NGI are working together to fundamentally change the way scientists, engineers, clinicians, and others work together. [http://www.internet2.edu]
The NGI Program has three tracks: research, network testbeds, and applications. The aim of the research track is to promote experimentation with the next generation of network technologies. The network testbed track aims to develop next generation network testbeds to connect universities and federal research institutions at speeds that are sufficient to demonstrate new technologies and support future research. The aim of the applications track is to demonstrate new applications, enabled by the NGI networks, to meet important national goals and missions . [http://www.ngi.gov/]
The Internet2/NGI backbone networks, Abilene and vBNS (very high performance Backbone Network Service), provide the basis of collaboration and development for a new breed of advanced medical applications. Academic medical centers leverage the resources available throughout the Internet2 high-performance networking community for high-capacity broadband and selectable quality of service to make effective use of national laboratories, computational facilities, and large data repositories.
The Internet2 Health Sciences Initiative enables a new generation of emerging medical applications whose architecture and development have been restricted by or are beyond the constraints of traditional Internet environments. These initiatives facilitate a variety of activities to foster the development and deployment of emerging applications that meet the requirements of clinical practice, medical and related biological research, education, and medical awareness throughout the public sector.
Medical applications that work with high performance networks and supercomputing capabilities offer exciting new solutions for the medical industry. Internet2 and NGI strive to combine the expertise of their constituents to establish a distributed knowledge system for achieving innovation in research, teaching, learning, and clinical care.
As health care in the U.S. and worldwide has shifted from a centralized, institution-based model to a distributed process occurring largely in the communities, Integrated Advanced Information Management Systems (IAIMS) initiatives must also move toward addressing the challenges of integrating health information at the community level. The Wisconsin IAIMS initiative strives to create such a solution, anchoring its efforts in a regional health information technology architecture by partnering with Wisconsin-area communities as the foundation that will ensure the establishment of the appropriate collaborations to gain adequate investment and generate sustainable solutions for health information integration.
This paper describes the Brazilian National Strategy for the development of the national Health Informatics Infrastructure. An overall description of the use of IT in the Brazilian Health scenario is presented with emphasis on the federal initiatives by DATASUS, the informatics division of the Ministry of Health. The national health card project is discussed and the strategies to establish interoperability among systems are presented. The adopted standards and methodologies used are also discussed.
To provide easy retrieval, integration and evaluation of multimodal medical images and data in a web browser environment, distributed application technologies and Java programming were used to develop a client-server architecture based on software agents. The server side manages secure connections and queries to heterogeneous remote databases and file systems containing patient personal and clinical data. The client side is a Java applet running in a web browser and providing a friendly medical user interface to perform queries on patient and medical test data and integrate and visualize properly the various query results. A set of tools based on Java Advanced Imaging API enables to process and analyze the retrieved bioimages, and quantify their features in different regions of interest. The platform-independence Java technology makes the developed prototype easy to be managed in a centralized form and provided in each site where an intranet or internet connection can be located. Giving the healthcare providers effective tools for browsing, querying, visualizing and evaluating comprehensively medical images and records in all locations where they can need them – e.g. emergency, operating theaters, ward, or even outpatient clinics – the implemented prototype represents an important aid in providing more efficient diagnoses and medical treatments.
The U.S. National Library of Medicine, working in concert with the Multilateral Initiative on Malaria (MIM), has developed and implemented a unique organizational and technical strategy to connect malaria research sites to the Internet for purposes of facilitating North-South scientific communications and access to electronic information resources on the Web. The model employs microwave and VSAT technologies, and shares bandwidth and costs among participating malaria research sites and their respective research funders in Mali, Kenya, Ghana, Tanzania and other sub-Saharan locations affiliated with MIM. The concept of institutional partnership is an essential element of this information technology capacity building effort, which may find applicability in other developing regions of the world with similar communications and research networking needs and capabilities.
Migrations and expansions of information systems are constantly at the front line of all the computer science problems to be overcome in medical / health informatics systems. It is shown here that one effective way to open the communication between heterogeneous systems is depending upon the ease of putting all the systems at work together using the middleware level to facilitate the interconnection between heterogeneous applications. However the most difficult application to migrate is certainly the ADT. It is shown here how the Pilot could facilitate the migration of applications namely with the migration of the ADT itself from a centralized platform to a full scale distributed system. Indeed the Pilot has been developed up to the stage of a pre-product and is on sale already. It has been experienced satisfactorily and is presented here.
The German Society for Paediatric Oncology and Haematology (GPOH) runs nation-wide multicentre clinical trials to improve the treatment of children suffering from malignant diseases. We want to provide methods and tools to support the centres of these trials in developing trial specific modules for the computer-based DOcumentation System for Paediatric Oncology (DOSPO). For this we carried out an object-oriented business process analysis for the Cooperative Soft Tissue Sarcoma Trial at the Olgahospital Stuttgart for Child and Adolescent Medicine. The result is a comprehensive business process model consisting of UML-diagrams and use case specifications. We recommend the object-oriented business process analysis as a method for the definition of requirements in information processing projects in the field of clinical trials in general. For this our model can serve as basis because it slightly can be adjusted to each type of clinical trial.
Allowing exchange of information and cooperation among network-wide distributed and heterogeneous applications is a major need of current health care information systems. It forces the development of open and modular integration architectures. Major issues in the development include defining a flexible and robust federation model, developing interaction and communication facilities as well as the mechanism insuring semantic interoperability.
We developed generic and reusable software components to ease the construction of any integration platform. The Pilot and the Mediator Service components facilitate the execution of services and the meaningful transformation of information. They have been tested in the context of the SynEx European project to construct a multi-agents based integration architecture.
The possibility of such architectures to take into account the issue of semantic interoperability is further discussed.
The current system of proprietary software development for healthcare applications is inadequate to meet the needs of providers, administrators, and patients. A recent advance in the field of Internet programming is the release of largescale software projects as "open-source. " The advantages of this method of development include higher quality, lower cost, and increased adherence to established standards. There are several hurdles to be overcome before the healthcare field can take full advantage of this development model. The implementation of open-source development of medical software could greatly improve clinical and research software and elevate the academic standards of the field of medical informatics.
Since autumn 1999 to summer 2000, Slovenia introduced its health insurance card at the national scale, with a highly affirmative acceptance among both providers and beneficiaries of health care services. The card has provided technological and data infrastructure for a national level management of the health sector and expansion of electronic commerce in the medical field.
This paper describes an effort to create a common, document-oriented architecture for the interchange of medical data in healthcare telemedicine applications. Key components are: The VITAL standard specifying a common (medical device independent) representation of Vital Signs Information and the Extensible Markup Language (XML) specking the document specifications form, an architecture that, in aggregate, define the semantics and structural constraints necessary for the exchange of vital signs and related medical data. The modelling and design technique for the described application has been the Unified Modelling Language (UML). The XMI (XML Metadata Interchange Format) of the Object Management Group (OMG) provided the meta-model for this application, for sharing objects using XML, via the transfer of the application’s UML model to XML documents and DTDs.
Objective: To evaluate the utility of SNOMED RT© in support of a natural language interface for encoding of clinical assessments.
Method: Using a random sample of clinical terms from the UNMC Lexicon©, I mapped the terminology into canonical data entries using SNOMED RT. Working from the source term language, I evaluated lexical mapping to the SNOMED term set, and the function of the SNOMED RT semantic network in support of a language-based clinical coding interface.
Results: Ambiguity in the source terms was low at 0.3%. Lexical (language-based) mapping could account for only 48.8% of meaning from the source terms. The RT semantic network accounted for 39.5% of meaning, and supplementing the lexical map this led to 80.2% capture of source content. Error rates in the segment of RT which I reviewed were low at 0.6%. 97.6% of source content could be accurately captured in SNOMED RT.
Conclusion: SNOMED RT supported an accurate and reliable representation of clinical assessment data in this sample. The semantic network of RT substantially enhanced the encoding of concepts relative to lexical mapping. However these data suggest that natural language encoding with SNOMED RT in an enterprise environment is unlikely at this time.
Introduction: This is a survey to identify what clinical coding systems are currently in use across the European Union, and the states seeking membership to it. We sought to identify what systems are currently used and to what extent they were subject to local adaptation.
Background: Clinical coding should facilitate identifying key medical events in a computerised medical record, and aggregating information across groups of records. The emerging new driver is as the enabler of the life-long computerised medical record. A prerequisite for this level of functionality is the transfer of information between different computer systems. This transfer can be facilitated either by working on the interoperability problems between disparate systems or by harmonising the underlying data. This paper examines the extent to which the latter has occurred across Europe.
Method: Literature and Internet search. Requests for information via electronic mail to pan-European mailing lists of health informatics professionals.
Results: Coding systems are now a de facto part of health information systems across Europe. There are relatively few coding systems in existence across Europe. ICD9 and ICD 10, ICPC and Read were the most established. However the local adaptation of these classification systems either on a by country or by computer software manufacturer basis; significantly reduces the ability for the meaning coded with patients computer records to be easily transferred from one medical record system to another.
Conclusions: There is no longer any debate as to whether a coding or classification system should be used. Convergence of different classifications systems should be encouraged. Countries and computer manufacturers within the EU should be encouraged to stop making local modifications to coding and classification systems, as this practice risks significantly slowing progress towards easy transfer of records between computer systems.
Harmonization of patient data card (PDC) structure with messaging standards is discussed on example of pilot project of patient data card system implemented by the Medical Center of the Russian Federation President's Management Department. Such a harmonization may help to improve medical PDC interoperability on the seventh, application level.
The efficient use of documents from heterogeneous computer systems is hampered by differences in documentnaming practices across organizations. Using an openconsensus method, the Document Ontology Task Force’, with support from the Veterans Health Administration, addressed this pervasive problem by developing a clinical document ontology. Based on the analysis of over 2000 clinical document names, the ontology was used to formulate a terminology model which is currently being used to guide the creation of fully-specified document names in LOINC (Logical Observations, Identifiers, Names & Codes). Incorporation into LOINC will enable homogenous management of documents in a widely distributed environment and will also give rise to a rich polyhierarchy of document names.
We describe an architecture for reusing computable guidelines and the programs used to interpret them across varied legacy clinical systems. Developed for the PRODIGY 3 project, our architecture aims to support interactive, point of care use of guidelines in primary care. Legacy medical record systems in UK primary care are diverse, using different terminologies, different data models, and varying user-interface philosophies. However, our goal is to provide common guideline knowledge bases and system components, while achieving full integration with the host medical record system, and a user interface tailored to that system. In conjunction with system suppliers, we identified areas of standardization required to achieve this goal. Firstly, standardized interfaces were created for mediation with the legacy system medical record and for act management. Secondly, a standard interface was developed for communication with the User Interface for guideline interaction. Thirdly, a terminology mapping knowledge base and system component was provided. Lastly, we developed a numeric unit conversion knowledge base and system component. The standardization of this architecture was achieved by close collaboration with existing vendors of Primary Care computing systems in the UK The work has been verified by two suppliers successfully building and deploying systems with User Interfaces which mirror their normal look and feel, communicating fully with existing medical records, while using identical Guideline Interpreter components and knowledge bases. Encouragingly further experiments in other areas of clinical decision support have not required extension of our interfaces.