Fifth Annual ICT4D Postgraduate Symposium (XIII). e-Health

Notes from the Fifth IPID ICT4D Postgraduate Symposium 2010, held at the Universitat Politècnica de Catalunya, Barcelona, Spain, on September 9-10th, 2010. More notes on this event: ipid2010.

Adaptation of video for Tele Echography
Alejandro Tovar de Dueñas

A solution to provide tele-diagnosis to be used for people in remote areas, be them rural areas, a ship in the middle of the sea, etc. A solution that makes video imags from any echography device to be reachable real-time anywhere desired.

The requirements are very high: quality has to be good enough to enable a correct diagnosis, but the constrains are also many, amongst many the quality of the connectivity. Special installations are avoided, so once the video is captured, it is streamed through the net by a streaming server, and any client can access the signal without the need of any kind of software installation, just a web browser.

A key issue is how to capture the maximum frame rate possible with a midrange PC for the possible VGA modes.


Alejandra Pimentel: Are there any network requirements? A: Any network that supports IP protocols and 300Kbps of bandwidth.

Mazhar Ali: What about security in the transmission of sensitive data? A: Access to the video, though free, can be made private by creating accounts both on the streaming server and the client side.

Ugo Vallauri: Could the video be saved instead of streamed, and sent asynchronously afterwards by e-mail or any other way? A: It could be very easy to do to even establish a procedure where the patient is told to follow some simple instructions and send the video their physician.

Development of a real-time digital wireless tele-stethoscope for isolated rural areas in the developing world
Ignacio Foche

Why real time telemedicine instead of store-and-forward:

  • More knowledge about patient’s status.
  • Local health personnel less qualified.
  • BUT: Higher costs for telecommunication infrastructures.

So, the goal of this project is to lower the costs of infrastructures while being able to provide real time telemedicine. But this is no easy problem to solve: the quality needed to send good information valid for diagnosis is very high. This puts a lot of stress both in the sound card and the bandwidth (or pay highest costs or have landlines). Thus, both hardware and software had to be developed to create a capturing device, to digitize and amplify the signal, to send the signal and to retrieve/represent it.

Further research implies substituting the PC with a smartphone, make all the operations through a website, design a stethoscope-oriented software CODEC, thinking in how to apply it in disaster situations, or automatic support and diagnosis.


Christopher Foch: has there been any research on how the patients feel for not having their physician face-to-face with them? What about physicians, being “substituted” by a device? A: in general, even if people prefer face-to-face interaction, the departure point is no diagnosis at all, so it is not about substitution, but about provision. Besides, some physicians have stated that, technically, they’d rather have this digital stethoscope, as it allows amplification, which sometimes is very beneficial.

Biniam Goshu Meknonnen: What if the network fails? A: The device won’t work because it was designed for a real-time interaction, but it could certainly be modified to work in a store-and-forward mode.

Soraya Hidalgo: what’s the cost of it all? A: It adds 120€ to the total cost of a new stethoscope (circa +20%) and, of course, a PC connected to the Internet is needed.


Fifth Annual ICT4D Postgraduate Symposium (2010)

If you need to cite this article in a formal way (i.e. for bibliographical purposes) I dare suggest:

Peña-López, I. (2010) “Fifth Annual ICT4D Postgraduate Symposium (XIII). e-Health” In ICTlogy, #84, September 2010. Barcelona: ICTlogy.
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