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A plethora of digital ECG formats have been proposed and implemented. This heterogeneity hinders the design and development of interoperable systems and entails critical integration issues for the healthcare information systems. This paper aims at performing a comprehensive overview on the current state of affairs of the interoperable exchange of digital ECG signals. This includes 1) a review on existing digital ECG formats, 2) a collection of applications and cardiology settings using such formats, 3) a compilation of the relationships between such formats, and 4) a reflection on the current situation and foreseeable future of the interoperable exchange of digital ECG signals. The objectives have been approached by completing and updating previous reviews on the topic through appropriate database mining. 39 digital ECG formats, 56 applications, tools or implantation experiences, 47 mappings/converters, and 6 relationships between such formats have been found in the literature. The creation and generalization of a single standardized ECG format is a desirable goal. However, this unification requires political commitment and international cooperation among different standardization bodies. Ongoing ontology-based approaches covering ECG domain have recently emerged as a promising alternative for reaching fully fledged ECG interoperability in the near future.
Information Technology in Biomedicine, IEEE Transactions on (Volume:16 , Issue: 3 )
Date of Publication: May 2012