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European Multimedia Services for Medical Imaging


The main objective of the EMERALD project will be to define, develop and validate an advanced communication service for the health care sector, specifically in the area of diagnosis and treatment activities that are supported by medical imaging. This service will provide a CSCW (computer-supported co-operative work) application entailing desktop conferencing, messaging, workflow and group co-ordination.
A second objective will be to study different broadband network architectures in order to satisfy the network requirements.
Field trials will be carried out in four different scenarios:(radiology, digital mammography, cardiology and radiosurgery), to evaluate the intrinsic properties of the system (accuracy, speed, reliability, etc.) with a significant number of cases, using an end-to-end ATM infrastructure.
In addition, these demonstrators will be used to assess the clinical, social and economic efficiency of the system through extensive hospital-based trials, and to determine the clinical methods that result in the best use of the system.
Finally, an important objective will be the contribution to the standardisation bodies in those areas related to medical imaging.
Expected Results
The most direct results of the EMERALD project will be the roll out of a pan-European ATM network of hospitals, interconnecting ten hospitals and various health centres in four different countries.
Additionally a cost-benefit analysis of the use of ATM for health care will be produced, paving the way for future developments in this field.
Also, a study of the impact of this technology on the work organisation and daily working habits of the different users will be undertaken.
Users will benefit not only from the use of the various applications, but also, it is hoped, by solving their respective insufficiencies in areas like planning and diagnosis (expressed in the User Requirements document).
Expected Impact
EMERALD will play a significant role in the development of broadband services for the health care sector, specifically to the areas supported by medical imaging and where interactivity is essential . It will not only help in the development of multimedia services for medical applications, but will also allow to demonstrate its cost-effective viability in a medical environment.

Main contributions to the programme objectives:
Main deliverables
Development and implementation of a workstation for high resolution image processing, incorporation of multimedia applications like video-conferencing and co-operative work
Contribution to the programme
Development of broadband services for the health care sector, specifically for medical imaging

Technical Approach
The project will be focused to demonstrate the feasibility and the benefits for the users by using the new technologies, taking into account that it is necessary to evaluate benefits versus cost. It should be noted that it is very important to consider the users as the key factor to evaluate the services.
ATM will be used as transport technology although interworking with other networks should be considered in order to cover sites where it is not possible to have ATM access.
The platform will be achieved by developing and implementing a workstation for high resolution image processing viewing and with the communication facilities to take full benefit of the ATM network capabilities. It is planned to incorporate multimedia applications like videoconference and co-operative work.
The present project has been designed to get maximum advantage of several recently funded EU projects, where several partners of present consortium have participated: FEST- (AIM Programme, A-2011; 1992-1994) MULTIMED (RACE project, R-1042; 1988-1991;CHARISMA: (RACE Programme, R.2071; 1992-1994). MEDIM: Medical Digital Image. RETAIN: (TEN-IBC B2012). HIM: High Performance Information Infrastructure in Medicine (TEN-IBC B1014).
The EMERALD Project is by its own nature related to other medical multimedia projects, specially those related with medical imaging. These projects can be found in the various European R&D Programmes, such as ACTS, Telematics, Ten-IBC, etc. In the field of medicine we collaborate with the DIANE (AC082), BONAPARTE (AC022), HIM (Ten-IBC) and RETAIN (Ten-IBC). In the field of ATM network, the EMERALD Project could provide a testbed for the INSIGNIA Project (AC068). And finally, in the field of usability and evaluation, the Project collaborates with the TEESURA Project (AC230) and the USINACTS Project (AC224).

Key Issues
select appropriate broadband switched network design providing a flexible and scaleable system
develop and integrate services
define users requirements
develop a trial
undertake subjective and objective evaluations
investigate legal and security aspects
undertake techno - economic studies
collaboration with standardisation bodies and medical societies
Summary of Trial
The trials will be carried out mostly during 1997. They will involve different services and applications for four different scenarios:
The first involves a distributed digital radiology environment. This will involve the use of local health centres and "expert" centres abroad.
The second demonstrator implements remote consultation between specialists in mammography.
Interconsulting for interventional cardiology.
Creation of a network of hospitals to optimise radiosurgery services at neurosurgical departments.

These trials will cover applications of remote diagnosis, remote consultation and remote medical training. Remote diagnosis implies a doctor making a primary diagnosis at a remote site from the patient. Medical images and related patient information are sent to the doctor at the remote site with no significant loss of image quality. Remote training allows the transmission of medical educational material from a teaching site to a remote audience, with a certain degree of cooperative capabilities to support interactive lessons.
The EMERALD network will include 8 clinical sites in Spain (Madrid and Barcelona), 2 in Germany (Berlin and Munster), 1 in France (Lille) and 1 in Italy (Florence), all of them interconnected by an ATM network. At each site, the Telemedicine Platform is connected to the European ATM network through the respective National Host in France, Italy and Germany, and through the commercial ATM network in Spain, using the standard SDH STM-1 (155 Mbit/s) interface. European Interconnection between partners from different countries will take place through the ATM WAN provided by the JAMES ACTS project.

Call for proposal

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Participants (14)