Advances in Medical Quality-Securing by New Network-Technologies: Using the Gigabit-Testbed South for online Quality-Control of Tumor-Operations in Surgery
Heinz Weber, Sven Schoolmann and Werner Hohenberger, Departement Of Surgery and Michael Graeve and Peter Holleczek, Regional Computing Center, University of Erlangen-Nuremberg, Germany
Medicine is one of the most fascinating fields to establish the use of networking technologies as they can improve medical quality in several ways. Using the world-wide-web in order to inform and educate patients, students and medical staff as well as for Teleconsulting ("second opinion") can improve the quality of information in medicine as well as the quality of diagnostic and therapeutic steps.
A wide spread network has either to be used or has to be created to guarantee the chance to perform telemedicine all over the country. Whereas until now in most cases ISDN-lines are used to transfer data (for example in videoconferences) we were able to investigate the use of a gigabit network, provided by the German Research Network (DFN-Verein). The Gigabit-Testbed, a WDM (Wave Division Multiplex) System supplies 8 x 2.5 Gbps, with three channels of 2.5 Gbps currently in use in the Gigabit Testbed South.
This project focuses on methods of coding and testing of applications in tumor surgery and oral surgery that require transmissions of high resolution motion pictures with the highest degree of colour depths and simultaneous audio. So, with three channels, each has a capacity of 2.5 Gbps, so high-quality pictures as well as simultaneous audio can be sent. Video and Audio signals are transmitted between the operation room in Munich and Erlangen. This form of telepresence aims to establish external quality control mechanisms in tumor-surgery.
Since this form of online presence not only requires extremely high resolution and colour depths when transmitting motion images, but also exact synchronisation of audio and video with minimal delay, it poses highest demands on the network and quality of service as well.
In another telemedicine-project a health-platform is established. This is realized by using a three-dimensional platform where each partner has its own area, which is first a public information layer, second an information-layer for teleconsultations and teleconferences and finally a secure electronic patient-record.