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Marquette Medical looks to lead healthcare market in applying new Web standard for more "open" medical information exchange

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XML technology will facilitate better exchange of complex information between databases and across inter/intranets

MILWAUKEE, Wisc., February 6, 1998 -- Marquette Medical Systems announces a new initiative to develop more open healthcare data interchange applications using XML technology. Recently developed by the World Wide Web Consortium (W3C), XML represents the "most convenient and accessible platform for electronic sharing of complex medical reports and records in a distributed healthcare environment," according to Fred Robertson, CEO, Marquette Medical Systems.

"The only way to ensure truly seamless interoperability is to use globally accepted and ubiquitous communication standards created for the web."

Marquette executives confidently predict that inter/intranet-based technologies such as XML -- when combined with HL7, the long-established healthcare communications standard -- will ultimately prevail in the effort to create a simple, cost-effective healthcare industry-wide interoperability standard.

"Prior to XML, in an attempt to accommodate more data-rich clinical reports, our industry began working to develop an additional layer of 'upperware' or other embedded technologies, such as interface engines, to mediate the communications between clinical and administrative databases," says Robertson.

"Unfortunately, these tools are still too proprietary, if only to the medical community," he adds. "The only way to ensure truly seamless interoperability is to use globally accepted and ubiquitous communication standards created for the web."

XML has been endorsed as a standard data format by several industry leaders, including Microsoft and Netscape. Microsoft and Intuit recently used XML to create a common data-transfer file format that enables financial institutions to perform electronic transactions. According to Information Week magazine, the Fed Center, a web-based purchasing catalog that handles 50,000 transactions a day, will begin to use XML to conduct electronic purchases in early 1998.

The Marquette XML initiative is driven by a cross-functional, cross-divisional company task force. The group is charged with identifying, piloting and applying XML appropriately across the Marquette lines of clinical information systems, patient monitors and diagnostic cardiology products.

Externally, the company is significantly increasing its participation and support of the HL7's SGML/XML Special Interest Group. In addition, Marquette, a leading clinical information system (CIS) provider, is developing closer working relationships with other leading healthcare technology companies committed to standards-based product development.

"Marquette has a long history of building open communications standards into its products," Robertson says. "We openly publish our communication schemes, which has resulted in many successful interfaces to our cardiology, patient monitoring and clinical information systems."

"We are very encouraged that the XML initiative will expand on this proven track record and put Marquette in the position of leading the charge to integrate web-based standards," Robertson adds.

Marquette Medical Systems, Inc. (Nasdaq: MARQ), is a leading manufacturer of medical electronics equipment and systems and software for diagnostic cardiology, patient monitoring and integration of clinical information, with headquarters in Milwaukee, Wis. The Marquette MUSE® system manages cardiovascular information for more than 450 of the 500 largest hospitals in the U.S., and the company recently installed its 400th clinical information system. Additional information is available at www.mei.com.


Todd Sims
Director of Communications
ph: 414-362-3311
email: todd.sims@mail.mei.com