ERCIM News No.21 - April 1995 - FORTH

CoMed - Cooperation in Medicine

by M. Tsiknakis

The CoMed project is an interdisciplinary R&D effort by the Medical Information Systems, Rehabilitation Tele-informatics and HCI laboratories at ICS-FORTH, to design, develop and validate systems allowing and supporting Cooperative work in Medicine.

The Regional Health Telematic System, which is currently under development in the island of Crete, is an ambitious attempt to provide an integrated environment for health care delivery and medical training across the island. The system takes advantage of the increasing capacity of the terrestrial and mobile communication networks and the development of advanced telemedicine services, to provide everyone with effective health care and support remote consultation with health care professionals in specialized centers, district and regional hospitals, and other points of care.

Medical care is administered by many professionals during one episode of illness, let alone throughout a patient's lifetime. Hence the medical information systems at each level of the health care system have to support a wide range of users, cooperating synchronously or asynchronously in the process of delivering health care.

The CoMed project intends to develop and validate systems allowing and supporting Cooperative work in Medicine. The capabilities of different techniques and paradigms in interface design for CSCW applications is one of the focus areas of the project. Here the issues range from management of attention to the provision of information about the cooperative setting by means of special CSCW metaphors such as shared objects.

Conventional graphical user interfaces assume a single user. Anyarchitecture that distributes such an interface among several users must address whether to use a centralized or replicated computation model, whether to manage each participant's entire screen or only certain windows, and how to reconcile multiple pointing devices while still allowing meta-discussion.

The CoMed project will examine the relative advantages and disadvantages of centralized and replicated architectures in the context of the application domain, bearing in mind that existing R&D efforts identify the primary disadvantage of a replicated architecture as being the difficulty of maintaining identical state across all copies of an application, whereas a centalized architecture is intrinsically simpler but operating in heterogeneous computing environments, a requirement of the regional Health Telematic System of Crete, is much more complex.

Additionally the CoMed project will address a wide-range of issues related to the development of CSCW applications, such as:

Please contact:
Manolis Tsiknakis - FORTH-ICS
Tel: +30-81-391690
E-mail: tsiknaki@ics.forth.gr
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