ERCIM News No.29 - April 1997

The Examination Room of the Future

by Thomas Berlage

The 'examination room of the future' is a setting to demonstrate information technology support for the medical examination situation. Different approaches from the SCENE project area at GMD are visualized in a common context: from cardiological training systems to three-dimensional imaging, from animated 3D heart models to teleconsultation, from medical online systems to the visualization of pharmacological mechanisms.

This scenario does not separate doctor and patient, but strengthens their cooperation. The technical installations are hidden. An enabling system along the walls gives a common orientation for doctor and patient. The whole room changes into a scenic situation that supports both learning and communication.

The examination room.

The relation between doctor and patient is central to this design. The walls are used to provide scenic visualizations related to and derived from the current examination. The most important points from the patient record are shown together with images (ultrasound, x-ray) and models. This surrounding information helps both the doctor and the patient. They can talk about this common reference and the doctor will use the material as a communicative reference to give the patient explanations.

Information about certain pathologies or possible therapies can be obtained from medical online services. Teleconsultation to remote physicians is possible for case discussion. New interaction techniques (video, gestures, voice recognition) are required to interact with such a system. Compared to the current situation, technology does not distract the physician from the patient, but lets them cooperate.

Even though this particular scenario will not immediately find its way into medical practice, it provides a vision how technology can really support human work. Support for lifelong learning is particularly needed for resident doctors to help them keep up with the progress of medical research. The SCENE project on the web at:

Please contact:
Thomas Berlage - GMD
Tel: +49 2241 2141

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