Experiences with a PC-Based Indifferent Communicating PDM-System
In the year 1991 the Research Departement for Intensive Therapy at the University School of Medicine in Vienna installed the Patient Data Management (PDM) system ‘ATLANTIS’ from ‘HUMAN MICRO-PROCESSING’ (hmp), ‘HOSPITRONICS’, at two Intensive Care Units (cardiothoracic and mixed surgical and general).
Since this semigraphical version was used largely successfully, it was replaced by the new full graphical version ATLANTIS-GUI (Graphical User Interface) in March 1993. The first practical experiences of this version are presented.
The main characteristics of the system ATLANTIS are the use of network connected standard IBM PCs and the ability of the system to communicate indifferently with any medico-technical device, independently from its manufacturer. The only condition is a standard serial port (RS232) on the device. Therefore within the short time of some weeks the patient monitors, the ventilators, the pulsoxymeters and the perfusion pumps have been successfully connected to the system.
One of the most important advantages of a PC system is the fact that it is an open system. For this reason a lot of programs, developed by the users of the system, could be integrated. These are for example programs for transfer of the results of the main laboratory and of the local acute laboratory, furthermore a program for 24 hours summary printouts, adapted to the requests of the ward. This open architecture, together with the use of DESQview, allows the use of other programs that share data with the PDM, for example a program for computer-assisted weaning from the ventilator (KBWEAN). A program for communication with the host system of the scientific computer center of the university is under development. With this communication it will be possible to use the data base and of the complete statistical tools of the scientific computer center.
Another important advantage of a PC system are the high performance and speed at the local workstation. As the computing and memory capacities and the device communication are distributed in a PC network, the performance at the local workstation is not dependent from the number of workstations. In the full graphical version of ATLANTIS it lasts only for some parts of a second in most cases to open a new window.
In the semigraphical version there had been some defects, most of them have been eliminated in the new full graphical version, a lot of details had been improved considerably.
In conclusion, the concept of a PDM system, based on PCs in a network and of indifferent communication at the bedside, can be regarded as a practical and approved solution with a potential of multiple uses. In the daily clinical work the presentation of trends of various parameters, simultaneously to the actual monitoring, proved to be a great benefit. It can be expected, that this system, together with the module for care planning and documentation which is now under installation, may allow the change to mainly electronic bedside documentation in the near future.
KeywordsHard Disk Intensive Therapy Research Departement Serial Port File Server
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