Today's advanced medical devices are essentially computers or microprocessors that command accessories attached to central workstations. As robotics and centralized computer servers permeate and become the norm for the core of healthcare treatment and monitoring systems, more standardization and complexity will dominate healthcare. This evolution of healthcare devices will be viewed as normality. Today, semi-automated virtual instruments are in the first stages of this evolution. Original equipment manufacturers (OEMs) realize the futility of clinging to the proprietary hardware and software that has been their primary profit mode or “cash cow” of the past. Virtual instrumentation will be the first link allowing disparate devices to send and receive information that will give healthcare professionals the ability to view multiple physiologic parameters on one or more monitors in real time. Trending of patients attached to multiple devices will be possible via virtual instrumentation thereby enabling the health care practitioner to draw and merge comparisons of multiple device parameters with intuitive diagnostic evaluations.
Texas A&M University, College Station, TX 77843-3120