Hasso-Plattner-Institut
  
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BP2006M3

Project description

This project is realised in cooperation with the OP2000 research project of the Charité, campus Berlin-Buch. In the future docConnect will be used in hospitals` operating theatres as well as in physicians` offices. Furthermore, it can be used as an adequate video conferencing system for many purposes.

Project podcasts

 

Project success

A first prototype of docConnect was finished in February 2007, after only six months of development. Due to its modularity, the program can be extended easily by adding new modules, so called plug-ins. Besides video and audio conferencing it already supports several other functionalities.

The prototype offers the following capabilities. Medicians can exchange and view DICOM pictures with docConnect. DICOM is a medical picture format, that contains meta data and allows to highlight particular properties of the picture, e.g. by changing the contrast dynamically. Another plug-in allows to give presentations with docConnect. Conference participants can open powerpoint presentations and transmit the slides individually to other conference partners. This way real time presentations can be held.

Users that do not have cameras or a microphones can also take part in conferences with the chat functionality of docConnect. Additionally with the web browser plug-in users can view web pages directly in docConnect, e.g. in a hospital intranet or the internet. If a user considers a page interesting, he can spread the page to all other conference participants.

The prototype was handed out to the Charité and is now tested there intensely. Already before the end of the project, we had the opportunity to test docConnect successfully in EMISHPHER, the satellite network of the Charité. EMISPHER is an EU project, that helps hospitals in the Mediterranean region to get access to modern health technology. In this test, we could hold a video conference over a satellite channel on Eutelsat.

Furthermore we had the possibility to present docConnect on trade fairs and conferences. We had a fair stand at the "Telematik" conference in Potsdam and drew very much attention from the conference visitors. Hence we gathered a lot of contacts to representatives of medical institutions and got inspiration for new use cases and functionalities. Moreover we gave a presentation at the Multimedies conference. The listeners there came mostly from academic institutions. Their interest in docConnect proves that the software can be used for a wide range of application areas, such as eLearning. Finally the project and the software were presented to the public at the Bachelor Podium of the Hasso-Plattner-Institute. This presentation found much favor with the audience and also provoked a lot of very positive press echo.

Project background

In health care crosslinking and collection of data are growing rapidly. The intelligent use of IT systems offers a lot of new assistance possibilities. Especially telemedicine is considered to have a rapidly increasing importance in the next years. It offers the chance to facilitate a better, faster and broader attendance of patients, which not necessarily has to be in-patient attendance. Particularly this is an important aspect in isolated regions in countries, that have a less area-wide and professional medical care than Germany.

The Charité leads the project "Virtual Euro-Mediterranean Hospital", whereby the Mediterranean countries shall be connected to an existing satellite-based telemedicine-network at European clinics. This network supports the physicians at work and provides possibilities for remote consultation, second opinion, knowledge transfer, and information obtainment.

An integrated solution for video documentation in the operation theatre and video conferences out of the operation theatre, that also allows to display static picture data (radiology, pathology), has the potential to achieve improvements in education as well as in patients´ medical attendance. A basic requirement for that is the smooth application inside of the operation theatre. That requires particularly an easy, intuitive operation of the system and a control, that corresponds to the hygienic directives in the operation theatre. E.g. a speech control can be used for that.

Project task

A modular video conference system shall be implemented in the scope of the bachelor project. On the one hand, it shall provide the real time transmission of video and audio to one or more receivers, on the other hand it shall facilitate recording video and audio signals. The biggest challenge is the field of application of the system. The user interface and the necessarily easy usability are core requisites for the success of the project. The system shall use the most modern video and audio compression algorithms and be based on up-to-date internet technology. By using a service-oriented approach, the system architecture shall allow the integration of other devices, e.g. a connection to picture archives (PACS systems). Furthermore security mechanisms have to be included, which identify and authorize the user and avoid abuse of the system.

Prototype screenshot

 

 

Architecture / Data flow

The project takes place during the winter term 2006/07 with the participation of eight students. The video conference system is developed using the .NET 2.0 technology with C#. For docConnect the following characteristics are considered:

Scalability - In order to be prepared for changing environments and expanding fields of application, docConnect supports multiple video and audio codecs. Thereby, any device can take part - from basic mobiles up to multi-monitor workstations. By using multicast addresses, docConnect is capable of establishing huge conferences with numerous participants.

Intuitivity - docConnect supports physicians in their daily work. Therefore the focus is set on intuitive usability. Due to the application of well-known usage concepts, the user can easily work with docConnect without long-winded training. Moreover the user interface can be configured individually.

Versatility - Conference participants can also communicate with people that do not use docConnect. Calls are established with SIP, the de facto standard for VoIP. It is used by most softphones and hardware VoIP phones. Anyone can participate in a docConnect conference, as long as a SIP-compatible phone is nearby, including video phones.

Vision - docConnect supports the internet technologies of the future. Connections can be established via IPv6, the emerging standard on the internet. Anyway, the nowadays most used standard, IPv4 is supported as well. Hence docConnect can be used with any common internet connection and is ready for the future.

Participants

Sebastian Enderlein
Marco Helmich
Bernd Schäufele
Lars Schneider
Maik Taubert
Sebastian Voigt
Martin Wolf
Christian Zoschke

Contact us

Bachelor project M3 Development of a video conference system for the virtual hospital of the Charité, Hasso-Plattner-Institute at the University of Potsdam
D-14440 Potsdam, Germany
Phone: +49 331 5509-318
Room: A-E.11