The Vision of Net4Care

The research project Net4Care's aim is to develop a ecosystem to make it easy for small and medium sized businesses (SMBs) to build telemedical applications for the home.

The main area of support within the present edition is handling clinical observations in the home and ensuring they become available for clinician's work. A typical end-user scenario is:

Knud has chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD; KOL in Danish). Several times a day, he blows hard in the spirometry device that is connected to his small Net4Care-enabled device. On the device, he can see simple graphs that plots the measured values over the last week. More importantly, the values are uploaded to national XDS repositories as standardized HL7 clinical documents, allowing his general practitioner (GP) to view the data, as can clinicians at his regional hospital and his professional caregivers.

While this scenario is a classic one and supported by many projects, the central vision of Net4Care is to make it easy and simple to develop the software for such home devices. Thus, a main goal of Net4Care is expressed in the following scenario:

An SMB developer with a strong background in embedded systems wants to develop a telemedical application for home use that supports uploading measured clinical values. He wants to explore and prototype a solution and chooses to use the Net4Care framework as part of preliminary exploration and prototyping. Within four staff hours, the framework is downloaded and installed and he has tested a first prototype having a full round-trip of clinical measurements (from device to simulated server and back again).

The Net4Care framework helps in this by providing

  • A Java-based framework that hides clinical complexity, and lets developers focus on designing good user interfaces and implementing connections to medical devices, instead of spending large efforts on understanding IHE XDS and HL7 PHMR standards.
  • Learning material for a quick start. Tutorials, source code examples, and demonstrator applications are provided. These help SMB developers to understand, design, and implement home telemedical applications in general, and insight into the specific clinical aspects in particular.
  • Support for safe experimentation with staged development. A staged development environment that allows the SMB developers to safely experiment with and develop their applications without all the hazzles of setting up a distributed environment is provided. Later, they can gradually move to a local distributed environment, further on to connect to Net4Care testing servers, before finally committing to full production quality applications that interact with the live medical servers.
  • Servers that SMBs may use to host medical services. A set of Net4Care servers that bridge regional and national XDS repositories as well as other medical services is provided. Thus there is no need for a SMB to create its own server software nor run a server farm.