Since the mid-1980s the majority (about two thirds) of the hospital information systems in Finland have been based on VA FileMan/Kernel, although the applications packages are locally developed. There are some half dozen software companies providing systems support and applications packages to hospitals. The Computing Centre of the University of Kuopio obtains new FileMan/Kernel/MailMan versions from the VA, translates and localizes them, distributes them to the software houses and teaching hospitals for onward distribution to smaller hospitals, and provides systems support. More description of this "MUSTI Project" is available on the Web.
In 1995 three teaching hospitals, Mylab Corporation, and the Kuopio Computing Centre established a project to "modernize" the legacy systems. The Managing Director of Mylab (a laboratory system vendor in Finland) is Esa Soini, who worked on the DoD CHCS project in the US. The project adopted the VA's RPC Broker technology and FMComponents at a very early stage, and developed a value-added layer of high-level components on top of them. This toolset is called FixIT. The work has been described in two articles published in M Computing and in a conference paper for MEDINFO'98 All the half-a-dozen software companies have ordered FixIT. Mylab Corp. has developed a prototype application with it, and University of Kuopio has just launched two applications internally for the university administration. However, all the software companies have made a strategic choice to work on 32-bit Windows platforms only, so for almost a year now they have been waiting for RPC Broker 1.1, from the DVA, to be able to start applications development in earnest.
Another new project is Web-FixIT, designed to transform the Delphi-FixIT toolset to the thin client architecture and Java. The teaching hospitals and software houses are funding the project, and Kuopio is currently negotiating funding from the Technology Development Centre of Finland, a government research foundation. The basic idea is described in another MEDINFO'98 paper (requiring a "pdf" reader like Acrobat).
The Finns have already experimented in developing the high-level visual components in Java using Borland's JBuilder. However, this project is critically dependent on whether RPC Broker Client 1.1 can be used from Java, or a Java Bean version of it can be developed. They report that they would be very happy to share the results of the FixIT project with the VA, or to develop the thin-client/Java version to the VA as a subcontractor without financial implications.
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