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Journal of Information Science and Engineering, Vol. 25 No. 4, pp. 1055-1066 (July 2009)

Tele-consultation Enhanced via Session Retrieval and Session Scheduling Capabilities*

Department of Electrical Engineering
National Cheng Kung University
Tainan, 701 Taiwan
1Department of Communications Engineering
Yuan Ze University
Taoyuan, 320 Taiwan
2Department of Radiology
Kaohsiung Veterans General Hospital
Kaohsiung, 813 Taiwan

Conventionally adopted medical tele-consultation systems primarily provide an interactive discussion environment for physicians. However, as medical tele-consultation systems are used for healthcare, the manageability and retrieval capabilities are of equal importance to this interactive discussion environment. A novel medical tele-consultation system with session retrieval and session scheduling capabilities is presented in this study. Session retrieval capabilities are addressed in terms of session-replay and session-recovery. The session-replay capability facilitates a replay of an entire session or specific parts of a session according to user selection. This feature is particularly important for maintaining the possibility to review sessions and provide interns with teaching materials. The session-recovery capability provides rapid recovery of a session process for re-connecting and late users to quickly catch up with an on-going session. Additionally, the system makes scheduling reserved sessions in advance possible such that the availability of all physicians can be coordinated; thus, system acceptance increases, physician willingness to cooperate improves, and ultimately, the value of the tele-consultation is magnified.

Keywords: telemedicine, tele-consultation, session retrieval, scheduling, indexing

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Received September 11, 2007; revised February 18, 2008; accepted September 11, 2008.
Communicated by Tei-Wei Kuo.
* This work was supported by the National Science Council of Taiwan, R.O.C., under grants No. NSC 91-2622- E006-079 and NSC 95-2218-E006-020.