The computerization of hospital systems has traditionally been incremental in manner, over the years, various computer systems have been linked together. Frequently, however, a hospital utilizes computer systems from multiple vendors. One reason is that various hardware and/or human systems are provided with their own computerized systems (e.g., an image processing workstation can have a specific imaging system). There is a gradual movement to integrate such systems, for example, by setting standards (DICOM, HL7) and by providing integrated systems that simultaneously replace several hospital systems. This review summarizes the available methods for exchanging medical records and surveys a range of patents that describe the latest advancements taking place in this area.
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