An integrated architecture for the provision of health telematic services based on digital library technologies
Chronaki, C. E.
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Advances in information technology during the past decade have resulted in a proliferation of clinical information systems dedicated to di erent user groups and clinical functional areas. This, in turn, has created the need for hospital-wide management and integration of information, and has triggered major e orts towards the development of integrated hospital information systems as a building block of integrated regional healthcare networks. The diversity of hospital organiza- tions, the complexity of clinical protocols and proce- dures, as well as the di erent preferences of various user groups make it extremely di cult for a single monolithic information system to e ectively serve the needs of an entire healthcare organizational structure. Thus, infor- mation and telecommunications systems must primarily provide the infrastructure to support the e ective inte- gration of distributed and heterogeneous components, ensuring overall integrity in terms of functional and information interworking. This approach i.e., the inte- gration of heterogeneous autonomous distributed sys- tems, to developing and managing regional healthcare networks ensures the transfer and integration of consis- tent information between healthcare facilities, without imposing constraints on the operation of individual clinical units. This paper presents the results of an ongoing e ort for the design and implementation of an architecture based on digital library technologies, for the provision of user-oriented telematic services in a regional healthcare network. Speci®cally, it addresses issues related to the provision of user-oriented services, trans- parent to the needs of di erent user groups and the requirements of speci®c tasks, based on: a) meta-infor- mation for the creation of an information infrastructure for the regional healthcare network which is, e ectively, a multimedia distributed digital library, b) intelligent information retrieval strategies to selectively retrieve information from multimedia data, c) agent-based tech- nologies for e ective service delivery adapted to the current user needs and the task at hand, and d) middle ware services that explicitly reveal not only the charac- teristics of the information sources, but also address the context of speci®c telematic services, through appropriate mediation mechanisms.
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