IBM and Mainsoft Corporation, recently announced that the Belgian University Hospital Ghent (UZ Gent) has chosen IBM WebSphere Portal Version 6.0 to develop a self-service virtual information center for its 5,000 staff members, students, healthcare professionals, plus more than 380,000 patients and their families that visit the hospital each year. Using the .NET-Java interoperability software from Mainsoft, UZ Gent’s .NET development team will use the Visual Studio 2005 development environment to integrate its existing .NET application framework, 15 strategic .NET applications, more than five terabytes of data stored in an Oracle database, and an LDAP (Lightweight Directory Access Protocol) repository. According to Dr. Bart Sijnave, CIO, UZ Gent the choice of IBM’s open architecture and Mainsoft, because of the platform-independent nature of the solution, which will help to respond quickly to emerging needs and changing technological circumstances. Expected benefits include, enhanced communications with patients and their families, who will use the portal to locate doctors, request their medical records, make appointments and pay bills online, as also, streamlined collaboration with health professionals who will be able to make referrals, request consultations, transfer patients and access continuing education programs, and unique entrance for researchers and students to exchange knowledge and best practices in healthcare. And also reduced operational expenses associated with managing patient records, information exchanges and billing.