Johns Hopkins has joined with many of the leading professional medical societies to create the MedBiquitous Consortium, a group dedicated to creating technology standards and software for education and collaboration in online medical communities.
Fifteen organizations representing over 400,000 physicians have already joined the Consortium, including the Council of Medical Specialty Societies, the American Academy of Family Physicians, the American Academy of Ophthalmology, the American Academy of Otolaryngology-Head and Neck Surgery, the American Academy of Pediatrics, the American College of Gastroenterology, the American College of Radiology, the American Heart Association, the American Society of Clinical Oncology, CTSNet (Cardiothoracic Surgery Network), the European Association for Cardio-Thoracic Surgery, the International Council of Ophthalmology, and the Society for Vascular Surgery. Katholieke Universiteit Leuven in Belgium and UNITAR, a virtual university in Malaysia, have joined the Consortium as university members.
IBM, Sun Microsystems, and Rational Software will be taking a lead role in designing the Consortium's technical architecture.
"Professional societies are the recognized leaders of knowledge within each specialty," said Edward D. Miller, M.D., CEO of Johns Hopkins Medicine and Dean of its faculty. "MedBiquitous technologies will enable societies to extend their leadership to the Internet arena and meet the challenges of this innovative era."
The Consortium will create XML (Extensible Markup Language) specifications for areas of common interest to professional medical societies. Use of XML, a Web standard, provides a consistent and common language for medical societies and other organizations, permitting them more easily to exchange structured data over the Web. Using a standardized computer language, such as XML, allows a wide and diverse group of individuals or organizations to "talk" to each other, which greatly facilitates information gathering and online transactions.
The Consortium also creates for its membership a suite of software tools based on the XML standards. The tools and standards combined will allow societies to provide a wealth of resources to their membership, including personalized scientific content, online courses and examinations, ongoing mechanisms to document competency, and clinical registries that track medical outcomes and errors.
"The XML and Web services specifications developed and used by the Consortium will enable healthcare professionals to take advantage of dynamic connections and exchange of information through the Internet,' says Robert S. Suter, Ph.D., IBM Director of e-business Standards Strategy. "Using open standards-based middleware to facilitate better communication and collaboration among associations will benefit the entire medical community, and we're pleased to contribute our infrastructure expertise toward the launch of this initiative."
"MedBiquitous Consortium technologies reflect Sun's practice of supporting open industry standards, such as Java and XML, and supports our vision of developing and deploying Web services as outlined in Sun's Open Net Environment (ONE) architecture," says Todd Freter, program manager of the XML Technology Center for Sun Microsystems. "Sun Microsystems is proud to play a role in this initiative."
"Rational has been a pioneer in the development of software standards such as the Unified Modeling Language," says Kirk Fuller, vice president of worldwide strategic relationships at Rational Software. "We're very pleased to be part of the MedBiquitous effort and we believe that using software standards will help move the project forward more quickly and with higher quality."
"This initiative provides a cost-effective way for societies from around the world to develop Web technologies," said Professor Paul Sergeant, M.D., the Consortium's European Executive Director. "And what's really exciting is the opportunity to collaborate with other specialty organizations to create shared resources, like CTSNet, that give physicians access to comprehensive information."
CTSNet (http://www.ctsnet.org) is an Internet portal developed by the Society of Thoracic Surgeons, the European Association for Cardio-thoracic Surgery, and the American Association for Thoracic Surgery. CTSNet provides the latest medical information to a global community of cardiothoracic surgeons, patients, and healthcare professionals.
Peter S. Greene, M.D., Associate Dean for Emerging Technologies at Johns Hopkins Medicine, was instrumental in building the CTSNet community and will serve as the founding Executive Director of the MedBiquitous Consortium. Carey J. Kriz, special assistant to the Dean/CEO of John Hopkins Medicine and a long-time veteran of the computer industry, will be the Consortium's managing director of commerce and industry initiatives. Valerie Fudge will serve as the Consortium's director of communications.
Two other organizations are in place to support the MedBiquitous Consortium. The MedBiquitous Laboratory is an academic lab created to develop the next-generation of Internet applications for professional medical societies. MedBiquitous Services Inc. assists medical societies in organizing global specialty networks and in deploying and operating advanced online communities that are fully compatible with standards and specifications created by the MedBiquitous Consortium.
For those interested in further information, please visit the MedBiquitous Consortium Web site at http://www.medbiq.org/. You can also contact Gary Stephenson at 410-955-5384.