Using Web Services to Support Legacy Clinical ... - City University
Using Web Services to Support Legacy Clinical SystemsJwan Mella ✝ Andrea Zisman ✝ Dave Nurse ✳ George Spanoudakis ✝firstname.lastname@example.org email@example.com firstname.lastname@example.org email@example.com✝ Department of Computing - City University, Northampton Square, London EC1V 0HB,UK✳ CSW Informatics Ltd, 4240 Nash Court, Oxford Business Park South, Oxford OX4 2RU, UKAbstractOver the last years web service technologies have been proposed to support interoperability of distributedsystems and applications. On the other hand, one of the main tasks of the e-Government InteroperabilityFramework is to adopt the Internet and World Wide Web specifications for all government systems, includingNHS clinical systems. In this paper we present a web service approach to support data access of legacylaboratory information system in the Oxford John Radcliffe Hospital. This system contains a MSM databasein which Internet access is enabled through Web Link. Our approach relies on using web services technologyas an intermediary layer between the database and the client. We have developed two web servicesapplications: web service server and web service consumer.Keywords: Web services, health care technology, XML, MSM - MUMPS1. IntroductionThe emerging technology of web services has been proposed as a means of supporting integration andinteroperability of software applications inside and outside organisations without the need for substantial upfrontinvestment.Web services are self-contained and modular software applications that can be described, published,located and deployed individually or jointly over a local or wide-area network. As such they provide anappealing model for developing new software applications or decomposing and wrapping up existingapplications at levels of granularity that make easier their integration within or across enterprise boundaries.So far, the web services technology has delivered: (i) standard schemes for constructing the minimalspecifications which are required to locate and invoke services including the specification of the data that canbe exchanged between them (e.g. SOAP, WSDL ), the providers of the services and the locations whereservices can be invoked from (e.g. UDDI ), and (ii) infrastructures for building and deploying services.These developments on the technological side of service-supply have led to a positive attitude amongstapplication developers and enterprise managers towards the adoption of web services as a technology for easyenterprise application integration as recent surveys have demonstrated . However, it has to be appreciatedthat the existing web service technology is still immature and a number of issues are still to be resolved.Furthermore, the existence of a basic foundation for developing and deploying services is not sufficient forsustaining and developing the positive attitude further and up to a point where services and their relatedtechnologies will really take off as the prominent software application development and integration paradigm.The realisation of the full potential of the service-oriented approach to software application developmentand integration is subject to demonstration that the use of this emerging technology can become an instrumentfor transforming standalone monolithic legacy systems into interoperable applications at a cost that will beclearly outweighed by the arising benefits.An example is found in the National Health System (NHS) of the United Kingdom, in which there are alarge number of legacy clinical systems that have been independently created and administered and, therefore,differ physically and logically and do not provide support for interoperating and sharing information. In thispaper we present an approach to support interoperability of shared care for laboratory systems and otherhealth care applications in the Oxford John Radcliffe Hospital, by using web services technologies.