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  1. Technology
May 25, 1994


By CBR Staff Writer

Bracknell, Berkshire-based Siemens Nixdorf Information Systems Ltd has launched ViewScope, a personal computer- based multimedia system for the healthcare market. The idea is that a hospital can integrate its Hospital Information Support System by bringing together its patient records, X-ray photographs, audio clips and ultrasound images together to be accessed by staff together on a single computer screen, cutting the time spent searching through record archives for patient details. Terminals can then be located at various points within the hospital where access to the information is necessary and these can be accessed in remotes locations simultaneously. The product is also designed to protect investment in legacy systems. Siemens Nixdorf does not yet have a beta test site for the product, but is developing the system at an unnamed hospital radiology department in Dublin. The company eventually foresees hospitals across the country being linked together on the system with connections to general practitioner surgeries as well. In theory a wonderful idea, but the product target market is limited by the fact that the majority of hospitals store records on paper copy and not as part of a computerised data system, so the cost of scanning in vast amounts of paper copy could stretch the already limited hospital budget. Integrating the various legacy systems is also an enormous task. Networking personal patient histories raises immense problems of security and confidentiality of information, which the firm says it is addressing at its Dublin test site. As far as actual pricing goes, the company estimates that a 100-workstation system for a 500-bed hospital would cost around ?70,000 including the cost of the software, with an additional costs for storage – determined by the number of departments that are included and how many back years of data. This figure does not include the cost of any additional hardware that might need to be purchased. Licence fees have not yet been set.

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