Oral Communication

Configurable audio/video/physiological data telehealth platform designed for physical medicine and rehabilitation

Mr Pierre LEPAGEa, Mr Dominic LÉTOURNEAUa, Mr Simon BRIÈREa, Mr Mathieu HAMELa, Prof Hélène CORRIVEAUb, Prof Michel TOUSIGNANTb, Prof François MICHAUDa

a Institut interdisciplinaire d’innovation technologique, Université de Sherbrooke, b Centre de recherche sur le vieillissement, Université de Sherbrooke

Telehealth is defined as the use of information and communication technologies (ICT) to extend health care service delivery across distance. Remote vital sign monitoring is a common example for home telehealth and one promising market, but lacks the breadth, comforting and subtleties of face-to-face assessments usually done by having either the patient go to the clinic or the clinician going to see the patient at home. To conduct more lively and interactive sessions, virtual visits involve the use of video and audio for live and remote consultations between clinicians and patients [1]. These consultations are done through fixed workstations or mobile devices using web videoconferencing systems, which may not always be sufficient to the practice of clinicians [2].

Objectives: To provide flexibility to the interactions that would normally take place in face-to-face consultations, we are developing a multi-point, multi-view and multi-data (video, audio, medical devices) videoconferencing system, called VIGIL, to conduct live sessions between health caregivers (e.g., physiotherapists, occupational therapists, doctors, nurses) and patients at home.

Methods: Like Skype and OmniJoin/Nefsis, VIGIL is a cloud-based videoconferencing system working on mobile devices, laptops and workstations. VIGIL has customized and simple interfaces to improve usability for specific telehealth needs. For instance, it can transmit images from one or multiple cameras, control pan-tilt-zoom (PTZ) cameras from a distance, and interface a mobile communication badge and a mobile PTZ camera for interaction away from the workstation. It can also receive data from wireless medical devices.

Results: VIGIL is currently hosted at Sherbrooke Techno-Centre and exploited in trials are underway at the Centre de réadaptation de l’Estrie.

Discussion: Technologically, it is possible to provide a diversity of interaction modalities in support of telehealth practice. It is now more a matter of finding out what is necessary to address those needs.

[1] Canada Health Infoway (2011), Telehealth Benefits and Adoption - Connecting People and Providers Across Canada, Report May 30th, 121 pages.

[2] Reginatto, B.M.B. (2012), Understanding barriers to wider telehealth adoption in the home environment of older people : An exploratory study in the Irish context, International Journal of Advances in Life Sciences, 4(3-4) :63-76.

Keywords : Telerehabilitation, eHealth