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Hitachi Medical Computer Systems, Inc. Case Study

Delphi for development

Hitachi Medical Computer Systems, Inc.
Organization

Hitachi Medical Computer Systems, Inc.

Applications

"DELTA View" dentistry support system

Formats Tools Used
DelphiDelphi
Challenges
  • Implementing an innovative user interface that makes it possible to display and manage medical treatment along a timeline.
  • Minimizing design costs.
  • Developing native apps for both iPad and Windows versions.
Results
  • Implementing a user interface by harnessing the high expressivity FireMonkey app development platform.
  • Completing a designer-free project using the FireMonkey stylebook.
  • Drawing on Delphi XE4 multi-platform development functionality to create native Windows and iPad apps from a single codebase.

Hitachi Medical Computer Systems, Inc.

These days, if you see an X-ray at a dentist's office, it's almost always on a monitor screen. DELTA View, a system developed by Hitachi Medical Computer Systems, dramatically improves the usability of such image viewers.

“Starting with the evaluation of the Delphi XE4 beta version, using the existing Windows codebase, we needed just one month to get to the stage of having a running iPad app.”

– Shinya TAKAYANAGI, Hitachi Medical Computer Systems, inc.

Hitachi Medical Computer Systems, Inc.

"The development concept for DELTA View was intuitive ease of use, without manuals," said Shinya Takayanagi, who oversaw development at Hitachi Medical Computer Systems. "Only by combining Delphi and FireMonkey could we have achieved our goal."

Almost all dental work is done at the patient's side. There's almost nowhere for the dentist to operate a mouse. This means the dentist has to complete a given task with minimal movement. DELTA View makes it possible to retrieve the information needed for all aspects of patient treatment quickly and intuitively and to display this information appropriately. Mr. Takayanagi said, "We set out to implement a user interface that features a panorama view, with photographs of the dentition and oral cavity arrayed along a single patient timeline. With FireMonkey, I really felt we could do this in a matter of days."

The DICOM medical image format (a bitmap raw format) for images captured by X-rays, scanners, or cameras is a high resolution file incorporating metadata. This means sluggish handling with available commercial applications. DELTA View creates two types of JPEG images from DICOM: one for thumbnails and another for the browser and opens these files at high speed. Dentists who attended product demonstrations were impressed, calling the performance "startlingly fast." These diverse image displays are easily achieved with the image components that are featured as standard in Delphi's visual components.

Many current dental treatment applications tend to have a certain Windows-like look, with blue windows, white backgrounds, and black text. DELTA View's black-colored theme is smart and elegant—"stylish," according to dentists. To allow users to complete operations with minimal movement, DELTA View features a flick-type operation, like a tablet or smartphone. This feature was developed in anticipation of the release of an iPad version in addition to the Windows version.

In developing these user interfaces, Hitachi Medical Computer Systems utilized the most of the multi-platform FireMonkey application framework. The FireMonkey framework absorbs the differences between platforms, allowing use of the same codebase for the Windows and iPad versions.

Hitachi Medical Computer Systems, Inc.

Shinya TAKAYANAGI
Development Headquarters
Dentistry Development Department

Hitachi Medical Computer Systems, Inc.

Noriaki ARIZUMI
Development Headquarters
Dentistry Development Department
General Manager

For the overall design of the application, the company drew on FireMonkey's stylebook. Until now, window and button design had been outsourced to external designers. However, no external designers were needed to design DELTA View. FireMonkey thus helped the company reduce design costs. Mr. Takayanagi said "The stylebook contains a wealth of current designs, which made it possible to complete the window and button design process using just the stylebook."

The benefits of using Delphi are visible not just in the high-performance user interface, but in the dramatic productivity improvements made possible by component-based visual development. "The time required to develop the image viewer portion was about a month, a third of the expected time," recalled Noriaki Arizumi, General Manager of the Hitachi Medical Computer Systems Dentistry Development Department. "During that time, we were also dealing with the biennial revision of the medical fee, so the time constraint was a lot tighter than for an ordinary project."

Application development timetables are growing increasingly shorter as developers seek to accelerate business life cycles and ensure early delivery of services that outcompete competitors. Delphi, with its multi-platform component framework, supports work done in just this kind of application development environment.

Hitachi Medical Computer Systems, Inc.

Mr. Takayanagi’s hand-drawn diagram of the application concept. FireMonkey allowed actual implementation of this concept as a highly efficient multi-platform application.

 

More than 400 dental practices adopted the DELTA View Windows version within just six months of its release. Quite a few dentists expressed interest in a tablet version as well, so developers began development work following the release of the iOS-compliant version of Delphi XE4.

Mr. Takayanagi said "Starting with the evaluation of the Delphi XE4 beta version, using the existing Windows codebase, we needed just one month to get to the stage of having a running iPad app. Then, after performing a bit of tuning and some adjustments, and passing Apple's inspection, we were able to release the iPad version after an actual development period of three months."

Since developers envisioned the iPad edition would be used alongside the Windows edition, it had the same look and feel. This, too, was achieved using the FireMonkey stylebook.

Mr. Arizumi said, "Delphi is being fully utilized throughout the Dentistry Development Department. Several projects based on Delphi are underway right now, all relying on the high productivity and multi-platform approach made possible by Delphi."

“The development concept for DELTA View was intuitive ease of use, without manuals. Only by combining Delphi and FireMonkey could we have achieved our goal.”

– Shinya TAKAYANAGI, Hitachi Medical Computer Systems, inc.