The Company, is developing a nationally scaleable, high-performance networked environment that can support a wide range of applications ranging from professional healthcare services to Global Picture Archiving and Communications Systems (GPACS). The idea is to take a set of applications to force the development of a common infrastructure that can be reused across applications and provide the capability of managing large amounts of information in an intelligent manner. This is done in a fully distributed, object-oriented system that can handle a variety of multimedia data types in a collaborative environment. The result is a fully integrated environment incorporating the most advanced concept extraction technologies in a ready-to-use application for the end user. VCS (Virtual Consultation Services) is the first complete application evolving from this unique software approach.
Some of the capabilities of VCS can be illustrated by looking at a series of user interface components that are available to the user. The user begins a VCS session by starting a consultation session from the Java based Browser interface. This sets in motion a VisiBroker-based transaction for vending all patient-record objects from the selected site to the requesting client. VCS creates a graphic user interface that resembles the typical patient folder doctors utilize in their daily practice, simplifying the learning curve for system integration. VisiBroker can request a patient's treatment records, history and other DICOM compatible objects such as MRIs, X-rays and CT scans to incorporate other elements of the patient¡¯s folder.
To understand the coordination of distributed object activities with user interface activities we can consult a graphical representation of VCS objects. In this diagram (Figure 1.) the arrows represent an inheritance relationship and the other lines represent a reference or containment. Textual data from the Patient object, i.e., the patient's name and Patient's health history was retrieved and used to populate the Patient folder.
VCS is a media-rich document and with its distributed object technology, is by far, a revolution in the telemedicine environment. The VCS is a virtual document. Essentially it is a patient record that is empty until it is dynamically populated by requests for distributed objects. The ¡°object in¡± contains the information necessary for "harvesting" this data from all appropriate sites. Thus, laboratory reports may be retrieved from the National Institutes of Health near Washington, DC, while radiographic data may reside at the VA hospital in Salt Lake City, Utah. For example, after all patient data is retrieved, icons representing laboratory tests, radiographic studies, patient history, etc. are downloaded on the VCS Java template. Each of these icons are mouse-sensitive and, when clicked, calls up additional user interfaces and related data.