Title:
Method and system for collecting and circulating data derived from medical appliances, useful in particular in intensive care units
Kind Code:
A1


Abstract:
This invention relates to a process and system for collecting medical data originating from medical apparatus (1), for example located in intensive care units (2) and to distribute the said data to health practitioners (3);

The system comprises at least one data processing device (4) comprising:

reception means (4a) to receive data (7) originating from sending apparatus (1),

data processing means (4b) to translate the received data into a common format,

data sending means (4c) to distribute the data in a common format to users (3);

The users (3) have computer equipment (5) comprising:

reception means (5d) for reception of data sent by the said data processing device (4);

a data analysis software (5e).




Inventors:
Forrester, Steven (Paris, FR)
Application Number:
10/257098
Publication Date:
08/21/2003
Filing Date:
04/15/2003
Assignee:
FORRESTER STEVEN
Primary Class:
International Classes:
G06F19/00; (IPC1-7): G06F17/60
View Patent Images:



Primary Examiner:
PORTER, RACHEL L
Attorney, Agent or Firm:
RATNERPRESTIA (King of Prussia, PA, US)
Claims:
1. Process for collecting data originating from sending apparatus (1), and particularly from medical apparatus like that used in intensive care units (2), and for distributing the said data to users, and particularly to health practitioners (3); each user has at least one computer equipment (5) and particularly a personal microcomputer, connected to a display screen (5a) and/or to a printer (5b) and/or to a loudspeaker (5c); the said computer equipment being associated with a data analysis software (5e), and particularly a clinical analysis software; the said data being supplied by the said sending equipment (1), in different specific formats as a function of the different sending equipment; the said process comprising the following steps: the data are collected (7, 4a), the data are translated (4b) into a common format, the data are distributed (4c, 6, 5d) in the common format to the user's computer equipment (5), the data in the common format are converted (4d, 5f), before or after being distributed, into formatted data compatible with the computer equipment (5) and/or its data analysis software (5e), (such that the user can access data sent by a sending apparatus, even if it these data are formatted according to standards different from the standards in their own computer equipment and the associated data analysis software).

2. Process according to claim 1, such that it also comprises the following steps: collection of the data (4e) is configured using configuration—collection data, as a function of the format of the data originating (7) from sending apparatus, the said configuration—collection data are saved (4f).

3. Process according to any one of claims 1 or 2, such that it also comprises the following step: the data translated to a common format are stored (4g).

4. Process according to any one of claims 1 to 3, such that it also comprises the following steps: sending or reception of the data translated into a common format is configured (4e, 5h) using configuration—computer—equipment data means, as a function of the specific features of the computer equipment (5) and/or the data analysis software (5e), the said configuration—computer—equipment data are saved (4f, 5i).

5. System for collecting data produced by sending apparatus (1), and particularly medical data originating from medical apparatus, for example apparatus located in intensive care units (2), and for distributing the said data to users (3), and particularly to health practitioners; the said system comprising at least one data processing device (4) comprising: reception means (4a), particularly a reception software module, to receive data (7) originating from sending apparatus (1), data processing means (4b), and particularly a data processing software module, for translating received data into a common format, data sending means (4c), particularly a data sending software module, to distribute the data in a common format to users (3); the said system being such that the user (3) has computer equipment (5), and particularly a personal microcomputer, connected to a display screen (5a) and/or a printer (5b) and/or a loudspeaker (5c); each computer equipment comprising: means (5d) for reception of data sent by the said data processing device (4); a data analysis software (5e); the said system being such that it converts data in a common format into formatted data compatible with the computer equipment (5) and/or other modules (5g) of the said data analysis software (5e), using the following procedure: the said data analysis software (5e) of the said computer equipment comprises a conversion module (5f) and/or the said data processing device (4) also comprises conversion means (4d), and particularly a conversion software module.

6. System according to claim 5 such that the data processing device (4) is integrated in the said computer equipment (5).

7. System according to claim 5 such that the reception means (5d) on the said computer equipment (5) are interconnected to the sending means (4c) of the said data processing device (4) through a computer communication network (6), particularly an Internet type network.

8. System according to any one of claims 5 to 8, such that the data processing device (4) comprises: a configuration—reception interface (4e), and particularly a configuration—reception module, used to input configuration data for the reception means (4a) as a function of the format of data originating from sending apparatus (1), a register (4f) containing the said reception means configuration data (4a).

9. System according to any one of claims 5 to 9, such that the data processing device (4) comprises: means (4g) to store data translated into a common format.

10. System according to any one of claims 5 to 10, such that the said data analysis software (5e) on the said computer equipment (5) comprises: a configuration—reception module (5h) used to input configuration data for the reception means (5d) as a function of the specific features of the computer equipment (5) and/or the other modules (5g) of the data analysis software (5e), a saving module (5i) containing the said configuration—reception data of the reception means, (such that users can access data sent by a remote sending apparatus, even if the data are formatted according to standards different from the standards for the computer equipment and the data analysis software that they use).

11. System according to any one of claims 5 to 11, such that the data processing device 4 comprises: a configuration—sending interface (4e), and particularly a configuration—sending module, used to input configuration data for emission means (4c) as a function of the specific features of computer equipment (5) and the data analysis software (5e) with which they will be used, a register (4f) containing the said sending means configuration data (4c), (such that users can access data sent by a remote sending apparatus, even if these data are formatted according to standards different from the standards in their own computer equipment and the data analysis software that they use).

Description:
[0001] This invention relates to a new process and a new system for collecting data originating from sending apparatus that produces the said data and to distribute the data to users. Each user has at least one computer equipment, particularly a personal microcomputer, connected to a display screen and/or a printer and/or a loudspeaker. Each computer equipment is used with data analysis software.

[0002] More particularly, the invention relates to a new process and a new system for collecting data originating from medical apparatus, particularly from medical apparatus used in intensive care units, and to distribute the said data to health practitioners. Each health practitioner has at least one computer equipment, particularly a personal microcomputer, connected to a display screen and/or a printer and/or a loudspeaker. The said computer equipment is associated with a clinical analysis software.

[0003] Medical apparatus is frequently used in intensive care units, including cardiac monitors, ventilators, infusion pumps, etc. Most apparatus available on the market at the present time is provided with a communication port, usually an RS232.Therefore, it can be used to distribute all or some of the collected data to clinical analysis software. This software uses data collected by medical apparatus for a large number of applications, for example for studying the reaction of the patient to a treatment, or a prescription change. This information is obviously valuable for the entire medical community, including the doctor and nurses and the hospital administration, pharmaceutical companies, and government officials responsible for the national health service.

[0004] However, there is a fundamental problem that needs to be solved in order to retrieve data collected by medical apparatus. This is that there is no common protocol for communications between the apparatus and computers. By using a simple analogy, each medical apparatus could be considered to speak its own specific language. Therefore, each software must speak and understand a large number of languages.

[0005] There are essentially two different ways of solving this problem.

[0006] The first solution consists of connecting each medical apparatus to a black box specific to it and that is designed to translate received messages into a common language that can be understood by the clinical software. Examples include Device Link made by the HP company, or Octanet made by the Marquette-Hellige company.

[0007] The second solution consists of developing a program specific to each medical apparatus, for each clinical analysis software. For example, there is the Clink n link solution produced by the Picis company, and the CareVue solution produced by the HP company.

[0008] In both cases, the diversity of the apparatus and the developed software obliges black boxes designers and/or clinical software developers to continuously modify their products without being able to satisfy needs of users who are already equipped. The solutions described in documents EASTMAN KODAK (WO 99 41691 A), Aug. 19, 1999, WOOD ET AL (U.S. Pat. No. 5,715,823), Feb. 10, 1998, KLEINHOLZ ET AL (XP002083080), June 1996, HASKIN MARVIN E (U.S. Pat. No. 4,764,870 A), Aug. 16, 1998 and PINSKY ET AL (U.S. Pat. No. 5,513,101 A), Apr. 30, 1996 all have the same disadvantages.

[0009] Admittedly, there have been many attempts to standardise output messages from different apparatus. So far, these attempts have not been successful. Thus for example, several years were necessary to produce a first draft standardisation for information output from infusion pumps, which is one of the simplest types of apparatus on the market.

[0010] The process according to the invention to solve this problem collects data from the sending apparatus, particularly from medical apparatus like those used in intensive care units. This process is also designed to distribute the said data to users, particularly to health practitioners. Each user has at least one computer equipment, particularly a personal microcomputer, connected to a display screen and/or a printer and/or a loudspeaker. This computer equipment is used with a data analysis software, particularly a clinical analysis software. The data are output by the sending equipment in specific formats that are different depending on the type of the sending equipment.

[0011] The process according to the invention comprises the following steps:

[0012] a step in which data from sending equipment are collected,

[0013] a step in which the data are translated into a common format,

[0014] step in which the data in the common format are distributed to the computer equipment belonging to the users concerned,

[0015] a step in which the data in the common format are converted (before or after distribution) into formatted data compatible with each computer equipment and/or its data analysis software.

[0016] Thus, the user can use the data sent by a sending apparatus, even if the data were not formatted to the same standard as his own computer equipment and the associated data analysis software.

[0017] Advantageously, the process according to the invention also comprises the following steps:

[0018] a step in which data collection is configured using configuration—collection data, as a function of the format of data originating from sending apparatus,

[0019] a step to record the said configuration—collection data.

[0020] Advantageously, the process according to the invention also comprises a step in which the data translated into a common format are stored.

[0021] Advantageously, the configuration for sending or receiving data translated into a common format is done using configuration—equipment—computer data as a function of the specific features of computer equipment and/or the data analysis software. Also advantageously, the said configuration—equipment—computer data are saved.

[0022] This invention also relates to a system to solve the problem that arises. This system is designed to collect data produced by sending apparatus, and particularly medical data originating from medical apparatus, for example apparatus located in intensive care units. This system is also designed to distribute the said data to users, particularly to health practitioners.

[0023] The system according to the invention comprises at least one data processing device. The data processing device comprises reception means, particularly a reception software module, to receive data originating from the sending apparatus. The data processing device also comprises data processing means, particularly a data processing software module to translate received data into a common format. The data processing device also comprises data sending means, particularly a data sending software module, to distribute the data to users in the common format.

[0024] The system according to the invention is such that the user has his own computer equipment. This computer equipment may in particular consist of a personal microcomputer connected to a display screen and/or a printer and/or a loudspeaker. Each computer equipment comprises:

[0025] means of receiving data sent by the said data processing device,

[0026] a data analysis software.

[0027] Data in the common format are converted into formatted data compatible with the computer equipment and/or other modules of the said data analysis software as follows:

[0028] according to a first variant embodiment, the data analysis software in the computer equipment comprises a conversion module,

[0029] according to another embodiment, the data processing device also comprises conversion means, and particularly a conversion software module.

[0030] These conversion means are used to convert data in the common format into formatted data compatible with the computer equipment and/or its data analysis software.

[0031] Preferably, according to a first embodiment, the said data processing device is integrated in the said computer equipment. It is applicable to all clinical analysis software that could be used in combination with it.

[0032] Preferably, according to another variant embodiment, the reception means of the said computer equipment are interconnected to the sending means of the said data processing device through a computer communication network, particularly an Internet type network.

[0033] Advantageously, the data processing device comprises a configuration—reception interface, and particularly a configuration—reception module, used to input configuration data for the reception means as a function of the format of the data originating from sending apparatus. The data processing device also comprises a register containing the configuration data for the said reception means.

[0034] Also advantageously, the data processing device comprises storage means for storing data translated into a common format.

[0035] Advantageously, the data analysis software installed on the computer equipment comprises a configuration—reception module that can be used to input reception means configuration data as a function of the specific features of the computer equipment and/or other data analysis software modules. The data analysis software also comprises a save module containing the said configuration—reception data for the reception means. Thus, users can access data sent by a remote sending apparatus, even if they are formatted to standards different from the standards for their computer equipment and the data analysis software that they use.

[0036] Advantageously, in another variant embodiment, the data processing device comprises a configuration—sending interface, and particularly a configuration—sending module. This interface is used to input configuration data for the sending means as a function of specific features of the computer equipment and the data analysis software with which they will be used. The data processing device also comprises a register containing the said sending means configuration data. Thus also, in this variant embodiment, users can use data sent by a remote sending device, even if they are formatted according to standards other than the standards for their computer equipment and the data analysis software that they use.

[0037] Other characteristics and advantages of the invention will become clearer after reading the description of variant embodiments of the invention that are given for illustrative purposes and are in no way limitative, and:

[0038] FIG. 1 that diagrammatically shows a variant embodiment of the system according to the invention,

[0039] FIG. 2 that diagrammatically shows the six modules forming a variant embodiment of the software for implementation of the invention, in the form of block diagrams.

[0040] We will now diagrammatically describe the outline of a variant embodiment of the system according to the invention in the case in which the sending devices are medical apparatus.

[0041] The system is designed to collect medical data originating from medical apparatus 1. For example, the medical apparatus may be located in intensive care units 2. The system is also designed to distribute the said data to health practitioners 3.

[0042] The system comprises at least one data processing device 4. This data processing device 4 comprises reception means 4a, and particularly a reception software module 4a′ to receive data originating from sending devices 1. This data processing device 4 comprises data processing means 4b, particularly a data processing software module 4b′, to translate data received into a common format. The data processing device 4 also comprises data sending means 4c, and particularly a data sending software module 4c′, to distribute data in the common format to the users 3. The software modules 4a′, 4b′ and 4c′ are shown symbolically in FIG. 1 by machine instruction lines. The user 3 has computer equipment 5, and particularly a personal microcomputer, connected to a display screen 5a. He may also include a printer 5b and/or a loudspeaker 5c. Each computer equipment 5 comprises reception means 5d that receive data sent by the said data processing device 4, a data analysis software 5e, shown symbolically in FIG. 1 by machine instruction lines.

[0043] For some embodiments not shown in FIG. 1, the said data processing device 4 may be included in the computer equipment 5.

[0044] In the case of the variant embodiment shown in FIG. 1, the reception means 5d of the said computer equipment 5 are interconnected to the sending means 4c of the said data processing device 4 through a communication network 6, and particularly an Internet type network.

[0045] The data analysis software 5e of the computer equipment 5 comprises a conversion module 5f to convert the data in a common format into formatted data compatible with the computer equipment 5 and/or other modules 5g of the said data analysis software.

[0046] In other variant embodiments, the data processing device 4 may also comprise conversion means 4d, particularly a conversion software module 4d′ to convert the data in the common format into formatted data compatible with the computer equipment 5 and/or its data analysis software 5e.

[0047] The data analysis device 4 comprises a configuration—reception interface 4e, particularly a configuration—reception software module 4e′, to input configuration data for reception means 4a as a function of the format of data output from sending apparatus 1. The data processing device 4 comprises a register 4f containing the said configuration data for the reception means 4a.

[0048] The data processing device 4 comprises storage means 4g for storing data translated into a common format.

[0049] The data analysis software 5e of the said computer equipment 5 comprises a configuration—reception module 5h for inputting configuration data of the reception means 5d as a function of the specific features of the computer equipment 5 and/or other modules 5g of the data analysis software 5e.

[0050] The analysis software 5e also comprises a save module 5i containing the said configuration—reception data of the reception means 5d.

[0051] With this combination of means, users can use data sent by a remote sending device, even if they are formatted in standards other than the standards used on their own computer equipment and the data analysis software that they use. Furthermore, updates are made once only for all apparatus and all software used.

[0052] In another variant embodiment, the data processing device 4 comprises a configuration—sending interface 4e, particularly a configuration—sending module 4e′, used to input configuration data for sending means 4c as a function of the specific features of computer equipment 5 and the data analysis software 5e with which they will be used. In this case, the register 4f contains the said configuration data for the sending means 4c.

[0053] Thus, in the case of this variant embodiment, as a result of this combination of means, users can also use data sent by a remote sending apparatus, even if they are formatted according to standards other than the standards for their own computer equipment and the data analysis software that they use.

[0054] We will now describe FIG. 2 that diagrammatically shows the six modules forming a variant embodiment of the software used to implement the invention, in the form of block diagrams. The software, referred to in the following as the “DataCaptor” software, is composed of the following seven modules:

[0055] The DataCaptor Service (DS) 21 is the software core. It starts and controls the other modules. It controls correct operation of the entire system. It detects malfunctions and restores nominal operation by correcting any problems. It checks that each DataCaptor Communication Interface (DCI) module 22 (4a, FIG. 1), is activated and is operating correctly. It maintains the integrity and security of the system at all times. It controls the DataCaptor Device Interface (DDI) modules 23 (4a, FIG. 1), through On/Off interfaces and commands (C). It provides interfaces that will be used by the other modules.

[0056] The DataCaptor Data Store (DDS) 24 is a Data storage module D, for short and long term. This module receives data acquired by each DDI 23, stores the data on the disk 25 (4g, FIG. 1) and sends them to DataCaptor ActiveX Controls (DAC) 26. The DDS 24 executes functions known in themselves to manage storage of data. It is optimised so that it can process requests in real time or requests in batch data, without any loss of performance. It provides interfaces enabling use of data D and commands C by other modules. All collected data are stored locally in binary files.

[0057] Each DataCaptor ActiveX Control (DAC) 26 is accessible from all points on the computer communication network 6, regardless of whether a small NetBEUI network or an Internet network is being used. Each DataCaptor ActiveX Control (DAC) 26 is capable of distributing data D.

[0058] The DataCaptor ActiveX Control (DAC) 26 finds the associated DataCaptor Data Store (DDS) 24 for which it knows the address, and it then registers itself on this DDS as a data receiver. The DataCaptor ActiveX Control (DAC) 26 can then receive data D from the associated DataCaptor Data Store (DDS) 24. This DDS may be local or it may be remote. The data D are sent through the DataCaptor ActiveX Control (DAC) 26 to the computer equipment 5 (FIG. 1) belonging to the health practitioner, through the DataCaptor Data Portal (DDP) module 40. The clinical software used by a health practitioner can thus access all data related to a patient, collected by any medical apparatus in a health care unit, a hospital, etc.

[0059] The DataCaptor ActiveX Control (DAC) 26 may address C commands to the DataCaptor Data Store (DDS) 24 and/or to the DataCaptor Service (DS) 21 or to any other module.

[0060] The programmer of the clinical analysis application software 5e can integrate a DataCaptor ActiveX Control (DAC) module 26, in some variant embodiments. The Datacaptor ActiveX Control (DAC) module 26 is the interface that the programmer uses to use the system. In this variant, the C commands addressed by the DataCaptor ActiveX Control (DAC) 26 to the DataCaptor Data Store (DDS) 24 and/or to the DataCaptor Service (DS) 21 and to any other module, may be pre-programmed in the application software and activated by the health practitioner. By encapsulating one or several DataCaptor ActiveX Control (DAC) modules 26 into the clinical software used by a health practitioner, the health practitioner is able to access all data related to a patient, collected by any medical apparatus in a health care unit, a hospital, etc.

[0061] The DataCaptor Device Interfaces (DDI) 23 are used to access medical apparatus through DataCaptor Communication Interfaces (DCI) 22. They are configured as a function of the specific features of the connected medical apparatus, making use of parameters contained in the register 27 (4f, FIG. 1) of the operating system and inserted in the register by the DataCaptor Control Panel (DCP) 28 (4e, FIG. 1). The DataCaptor Service (DS) 21 starts these DataCaptor Device Interfaces. Each DataCaptor Device Interface (DDI) 23 then connects to the appropriate DataCaptor Communication Interface (DCI) module 22. The DataCaptor Device Interfaces (DDI) 23 then maintain the connection with the connected apparatus and manage detected communication errors. Each DataCaptor Device Interface (DDI) 23 controls low level communication through the DataCaptor Communication Interface (DCI) module 22 and the high level interface, using Data Communication protocols for data sent by the medical apparatus concerned. The DataCaptor Device Interfaces (DDI) 23 read and translate the protocols of medical apparatus to which they are connected.

[0062] DataCaptor Device Interfaces (DDI) 23 can read and translate sporadic parameters, data curves in real time and any other digital data output from medical apparatus.

[0063] Each DataCaptor Device Interface (DDI) 23 transmits collected data to the DataCaptor Data Store (DDS) 24.

[0064] DataCaptor Communication Interfaces (DCI) 22 are used to start and control physical communication ports 29 with the computer communication networks to which each medical apparatus 1 is connected. There is a DataCaptor Communication Interface (DCI) 22 for each type of communication port (serial, network, etc.). Each DataCaptor Communication Interface (DCI) 22 is started by the first DataCaptor Device Interface (DDI) 23 that requires this type of communication port. They also monitor any communication errors.

[0065] The DataCaptor Control Panel (DCP) module 28 (4e, FIG. 1) is the interface used to configure the system. The user specifies (i) physical connections between the medical apparatus and physical communication ports, (ii) communication parameters and (iii) the type of medical apparatus concerned, through the DataCaptor Control Panel (DCP) 28.

[0066] The DataCaptor Control Panel (DCP) module 28 is used to update the register 27 (4f, FIG. 1). The DataCaptor Control Panel (DCP) module 28 supplies information about the configuration of data sources for the system to the DataCaptor Device Interfaces (DDI) 23 and to the DataCaptor Communication Interfaces (DCI) 22 concerned through the register 27.

[0067] The DataCaptor Data Portal (DDP) module 40 is the data conversion module D, converting data D from the DataCaptor ActiveX Controls (DAC) 26, into the communication format of the clinical analysis software 5e (FIG. 1). The DataCaptor Data Portal (DDP) 40 sends data thus converted to the clinical analysis application software 5e installed on the computer equipment 5 (FIG. 1). The DataCaptor Data Portal (DDP) module 40 receives commands C from the clinical analysis application software 5e (FIG. 1) and sends these data to the DataCaptor ActiveX Control (DAC) 26.

[0068] A DataCaptor Data Portal (DDP) 40 is designed to receive data D from one or several DataCaptor ActiveX Controls (DAC) 26.

[0069] When the programmer of the clinical analysis application software 5e (FIG. 1) includes a DataCaptor ActiveX Control (DAC) module 26 into the software, there is no need to provide a DataCaptor Data Portal (DDP) 40. Also in this case, the programmer of the clinical analysis application software 5e adapts the proprietary language of the clinical analysis software to the common format.

[0070] Synthesis

[0071] The analysis of the problem and the solution according to the invention shows that the general problem can be split into several problems, each of which is easier to solve:

[0072] Acquire data. Management of communication with the apparatus through its communication protocol.

[0073] Translate input data into an internal format.

[0074] Archive data.

[0075] Distribute data to users.

[0076] Make it possible for application software (particularly clinical analysis software) to access the data.

[0077] Translate from the internal format to the general format.

[0078] Management of the entire system. Perform command functions, history and control.

[0079] The solution according to the invention provides all data, regardless of the format of the source, in a single and easily useable output format.

[0080] The Microsoft Distributed Component Object Model ([D]COM) forms the basic platform that was used for the development of a variant embodiment of the DataCaptor software.

[0081] This variant embodiment of the DataCaptor software is written in Microsoft C++ and Visual Basic. It implements an architecture based on ([D]COM) and operates under WNT, W98 and W95. The choice of ([D]COM) solves all inter-module, inter-PC and Internet communication problems and guarantees compatibility with future versions of the Microsoft operating system, while enabling binary compatibility with other operating systems. ([D]COM) is a binary standard.

[0082] It is possible to write other variant embodiments of the DataCaptor software in CORBA, using Java. Therefore 90% of platforms can use DataCaptor.