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Distributed Environment for Transmission, Archiving, Processing and Visualization of Medical Images

Abstract

The rapid development of computerized information systems and medical informatics provide access to a variety of documents in different forms: text, signals, audio and images. On the other hand, clinical investigations rely more and more on imaging and the physicians are faced with the difficult task of integrating very large amounts of data from increasingly complex imaging techniques to the rest of clinical and ancillary data. Traditional approach with folders containing clinical reports (papers), laboratory exams, signals and images can not afford an effective level of integration in huge hospital such as General Hospital of São Paulo University (HC/FMUSP, 1.300.000 consultations/year) due to complex organization, delays, difficult storage and low confidence. Computerized systems can overcome most of these problems and provide simultaneous access to data, speed up data investigations and allow automatic exchange of information between health institutions. However, it is necessary to build and adequate infrastructure comprising of abstracts data modeling, installation of proper computer networks and establishment of protocols and standards. It has become widely recognized that the real added value of computerized image management and communication systems comes from the integration of images and image related data with the rest of the clinical record. The objectives of this project are: a) to build a patient data model in a distributed environment for transmission, archiving, processing and visualization of medical images, integrating them to the hospital information system (HIS) of HC/FMUSP, in general, and particularly to Hearth Institute of São Paulo (InCor). This model will cover all aspects related to images and their integration to the HIS. The model will be built considering functional specification, and mid and long term evolution; b) implementation of a pilot project of the proposed model, including an intelligent and contextual viewer. InCor has experience, some infrastructure and some expertise on PACS (Picture Archiving and Communication System) integrated to a patient database [Tachinardi, et al. 1993, 1995]. There is an installed system which resulted from severral research projects [Alcocer, 1996] developed at InCor that transmits, archives and visualizes cineangiographic images... (AU)