The data used by the health professional in patient care is multimedia in the true sense of the word. For example, information required for diagnosis or planning of therapy may be derived from the images of a multitude of examination techniques, from reports, graphs, charts, reference books, hand written notes, film and video sequences, audio recordings, and conversations with the patient and colleagues. The data required is most often distributed. Although the true integration and processing of the multimedia information is performed by the physician, the modern computer workstation can provide significant help through the storage, integration, retrieval, processing, filtering, and presentation of much of the required data.
In patient care, there are several significant application areas for this technology. Hypermedia provides a suitable means for the structuring of compound medical documents cornposed of text, images, video and audio components. Object-oriented databases provide the means for the storage, querying, and retrieval of structured multimedia documents. Multimedia communications enables the computer based support for cooperation in medicine through the remote access of data or realtime conferencing.
In this chapter, we discuss some of these technologies, the relevant standards, and their use in BERMED, in particular for the logical integration of patient data to form the multimedia electronic medical record