The Johns Hopkins Gazette: May 29, 2001
May 29, 2001
VOL. 30, NO. 36


JHU, Medical Societies Join in Web Plan

Johns Hopkins Gazette Online Edition

Johns Hopkins has joined with many leading professional medical societies to form the MedBiquitous Consortium, a group dedicated to creating technology standards and software for education and collaboration in online medical communities.

"Professional societies are the recognized leaders of knowledge within each specialty," said Edward D. Miller, chief executive officer of Johns Hopkins Medicine and dean of the School of Medicine. "MedBiquitous technologies will enable societies to extend their leadership to the Internet arena and meet the challenges of this innovative era."

Peter S. Greene, associate dean for emerging technologies at Johns Hopkins Medicine, will serve as the founding executive director of the MedBiquitous Consortium. Carey J. Kriz, special assistant to the dean/CEO of JHM and a longtime veteran of the computer industry, will be the consortium's managing director of commerce and industry initiatives.

Fifteen organizations representing more than 400,000 physicians have already joined the consortium, including the Council of Medical Specialty Societies, the American Academy of Family Physicians, the American Academy of Ophthalmology, the American Academy of Otolaryngology-Head and Neck Surgery, the American Academy of Pediatrics, the American College of Gastroenterology, the American College of Radiology, the American Heart Association, the American Society of Clinical Oncology, CTSNet (Cardiothoracic Surgery Network), the European Association for Cardio-Thoracic Surgery, the International Council of Ophthalmology and the Society for Vascular Surgery. Katholieke Universiteit Leuven in Belgium and UNITAR, a virtual university in Malaysia, have joined the consortium as university members.

IBM, Sun Microsystems and Rational Software will be taking a lead role in designing the consortium's technical architecture.

The consortium will create XML (extensible markup language) specifications for areas of common interest to professional medical societies. Use of XML, a Web standard, provides a consistent and common language for medical societies and other organizations, permitting them more easily to exchange structured data over the Web. Using a standardized computer language, such as XML, allows a wide and diverse group of individuals or organizations to "talk" to each other, an ability that greatly facilitates information gathering and online transactions.

The consortium also creates for its membership a suite of software tools based on the XML standards. The tools and standards combined will allow societies to provide a wealth of resources to their membership, including personalized scientific content, online courses and examinations, ongoing mechanisms to document competency and clinical registries that track medical outcomes and errors.

"This initiative provides a cost-effective way for societies from around the world to develop Web technologies," said Paul Sergeant, a professor and physician who is the consortium's European executive director. "And what's really exciting is the opportunity to collaborate with other specialty organizations to create shared resources, like CTSNet, that give physicians access to comprehensive information."

CTSNet is an Internet portal developed by the Society of Thoracic Surgeons, the European Association for Cardio-thoracic Surgery and the American Association for Thoracic Surgery. CTSNet provides the latest medical information to a global community of cardio-thoracic surgeons, patients and health care professionals.

JHM's Greene, the founding executive director of the MedBiquitous Consortium, was instrumental in building the CTSNet community.

Two other organizations are in place to support the MedBiquitous Consortium. The MedBiquitous Laboratory is an academic lab created to develop the next generation of Internet applications for professional medical societies. MedBiquitous Services Inc. assists medical societies in organizing global specialty networks and in deploying and operating advanced online communities that are fully compatible with standards and specifications created by the MedBiquitous Consortium.

For more information, go to or contact Gary Stephenson at 410-955-5384.