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There has been a paradigm shift in medical informatics standards in recent years from the message-oriented approach to a more distributed systems approach. However, despite all the early promise of distributed applications, they haven't been widely adopted in the health domain for various reasons. As a result, despite an increasing need for a standardised distributed solution for analytical laboratory instruments, many implementers of instrument interfaces are still using proprietary serial interfaces which do not support distribution. The emergence of the eXtended Markup Language (XML) specification in 1998 revived the fortunes of the messaged oriented methodology. This paper presents a partial return to the message based solution. The first section describes the syntax of XML and its impact in various healthcare areas. The next part outlines and compares the different of 'A standard specification for transferring information between clinical instruments and computer systems (ASTM 1394-91) and its XML-compliant counterpart, while the third part presents one possible use of the XML version in a detailed and practicel medical scenario. A provisional Document Type Definitition (DTD) as well as an example of the resulting ASTM 1394-91/XML will be given in the last section.
Jung, Benjamin, Berry, Damon, Grimson, Jane: Using XML to network distributed analytical instruments: back to the future? 4th annual conference and scientific symposium of the health informatics society of Ireland.