Using existing software to build a virtual community for telemedicine

Hoekerd, P.G. (2013) Using existing software to build a virtual community for telemedicine.

Abstract:In the recent years, the field on telemedicine has become an interesting area for research. Telemedicine is considered one of the solutions to maintain the current level of healthcare despite the aging population. Another application in the field of telemedicine is to help people to do more exercises, which will decreases chronic diseases and increase the standard of living. When doing research in the field of telemedicine, new applications will be developed. For these applications to be used optimally, they should be incorporated into a single platform. This would allow the applications to collaborate, and offer a single point of access to the user. Therefore there is the need for a platform which can be extended with applications used for research in the field of telemedicine. In this platform, users are put into different groups, each group having a specific goal. Within each group, different users can have different roles. An online group with a specific goal and guided by policies can be considered a Virtual Community. Virtual Communities are particularly effective for telemedicine applications concerning group therapy; studies have shown that for chronic diseases requiring lifestyle changes, group therapy is an effective approach. A virtual community is typically carried out on a web based platform. There are three distinctly different directions which can be taken to acquire a platform which can be used to extend with telemedicine functionality. The first approach is to build a platform from scratch, which has the disadvantage of requiring much work developing it. Another approach is to join an existing hosted platform, which has the disadvantage of being completely reliable on the provider of this platform. A final approach is to use an existing software platform, and host this platform ourselves. This approach has none of the disadvantages mentioned above, and this research takes this approach and investigates the possibilities, as well as the advantages and disadvantages of the existing software platform which can be used. In this research, advice about the platform used to build a Virtual Community for telemedicine is given. This advice consists of two parts; advice is given about both which platform is most suitable to be used as a platform to be extended with telemedicine applications, as well as advice about the advantages and disadvantages of using that platform compared to building one from scratch. To be able to provide the advice about the suitability of a platform, first a set of requirements for this platform is composed by investigating previous researches. Next, research is done into existing platforms and a list of potential platforms is composed by first defining several search directions, creating a set of search terms based on these directions, and using these terms to search online. Using the requirements, the existing platforms are analyzed, and the most suitable platforms are taken. To be able to provide advice about the suitability of the remaining platforms, a case study is done. First, a typical scenario of a telemedicine application is defined. Using this scenario, a set of use cases is defined, which are implemented for the taken platforms. The required work and results are used to make a final statement about the most suitable platform, as well as a statement about how suitable the approach taken to use an existing platform is and the suitability of this most suitable platform.
Item Type:Essay (Master)
Faculty:EEMCS: Electrical Engineering, Mathematics and Computer Science
Subject:54 computer science
Programme:Telematics MSc (60032)
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