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Accident and emergency implementation of distributed riche architecture


The partners within AIDA have built upon work already completed in a number of EC supported RTD projects to demonstrate the feasibility of a RICHE implementation in a way which will clearly show the benefits to hospitals of moving towards Patient Centred, Hospital Information and Support Systems (HISS) for the support of health care professionals and hospital management.

The implementation, in an Accident and Emergency (A&E) unit, demonstrates the usefulness of the RICHE approach in a key hospital department which must function frequently under circumstances of high pressure and throughput. AIDA aims to demonstrate that the technologies developed in these RTD projects are a sound basis for the development of major integrated hospital systems.

AIDA has provided the participating organisations with an operational installation which can be used to demonstrate the benefits to be obtained from implementation of the combined results of a number of RTD projects.

We intend to implement a new Accident and Emergency process support system that is RICHE conformant. The system integrates several existing IT systems within the hospital and provide a single comprehensive application for users within the A&E department. Major benefits of the new system include faster patient assessment and throughput with less administration overhead, the system also provides access to most aspects of patient clinical information.

The use of an open, distributed architecture for the implementation of such a health care application is quite new; whilst designs and prototypes have existed and been experimented with for some time, this is an early implementation of an operational system based upon RICHE technology.

In a RICHE system a layer of common services exists, called the Distributed Hospital Environment (DHE), these services offer a standard interface to all user applications. Each RICHE conformant application makes use of the DHE services to store and access patient information by use of the standard interface, thereby ensuring integration between the applications. Furthermore, because the DHE interface is being promoted as an open standard it is possible for applications from different suppliers to interwork easily. Whilst the DHE services layer is intended to sit on top of RDBMS technology, we have already shown that it is possible to integrate the DHE services with existing proprietary database systems within a hospital's legacy IT infrastructure. In this way it is possible to encapsulate existing systems within a RICHE environment and thereby provide an open interface to legacy data.

Historically, suppliers of software systems to the health care market have concentrated on centralised solutions based around administrative needs rather than the patient centred systems which provide benefits to health care professionals. These are now being demanded. A significant opportunity exists on a world-wide basis to satisfy emerging needs within the Healthcare Sector for systems based upon new technologies, as described above.

The work is structured in six tightly interconnected work packages which will customise and combine a number of existing prototypes/products and test them in an operational Accident & Emergency environment. This will be one of the first fully operational RICHE based systems.

Criteria for evaluating the levels of success achieved in implementing the A&E system will be specified early in the project and used as a measure in the later stages. The final phase will focus upon the dissemination of project results through workshops, seminars, published materials and open days in the participating hospital, and in co-operation with Groupe RICHE.

Funding Scheme

CSC - Cost-sharing contracts


Irish Medical Systems
Clara House, Glenageary Park

Participants (1)

West Middlesex University Hospital NHS Trust
United Kingdom
Twickenham Road
TW7 6AF Isleworth