Anne Frank once said “How wonderful itis that nobody need wait a single momentbefore starting to improve the world.”Nothing could be truer in today’s digitallyand electronically connected world. Thisfact was made evident once again with Dr.Helveston’s vision to further enhance thecapacity of ORBIS’s Volunteer Faculty toprovide ongoing assistance to the globalophthalmologist community by creatingan easily accessible Telemedicine website,providing top–notch patient diagnosisand treatment to anyone in the worldwho needs it. Having the vision is the ﬁrststep, but turning a vision into a practicalapplication calls for good old–fashionedanalysis and technical ‘know–how’. Luckily,that’s Clarity’s specialty.The true purpose of the project analysisprocess is to turn a concept into a workingreality. Excellence in front–end analysis of any project is not only found in the abilityto accurately identify and create a programthat meets the user needs of today, butto design a program that incorporatesa ﬂexible infrastructure that anticipatesthe way the program may need to evolve.Working closely with the Volunteer Facultyof ORBIS, Clarity ensured that the multi– faceted needs of the partner doctors andpatient recipients, now and in the future,were taken into full consideration.As our world continues to grow, so do thedemands upon the medical community toﬁnd new ways to provide medical services
Developing a program or website thatis dependent upon accurate and timelyinformation exchange becomes completelyineffective if the end–user’s technicalcapabilities can not match the program’stechnical requirements. For example, whendealing with diagnostic images (picturesor X–rays), it is important to assumethat the user will be working with a lowbandwidth environment. Consequently,the program should be designed to acceptimages collected with a basic digital camera(typically 10k or less) to ensure the successof all submitted images into the system.
When working within the medical community,it is essential that any and all appropriateparameters of doctor and patient privacy areidentiﬁed and met. Ensuring that partneringmedical professionals are correctly veriﬁedand properly registered prior to grantingthem access to any critical information orresources is an important part of the designprocess. Additionally, the highest programsecurity measures must be incorporatedto ensure patient privacy is maintainedand that the patient has approved of theirinformation being shared in this way.On the ORBIS website, partner doctors canonly access their own cases and Telementordoctors can only access cases they havebeen assigned. Clarity also ensured thatto patients situated in ever–expandinggeographical areas. Some initial analyticalconsiderations that are beneﬁcial to takeinto account include:
Who Are the Target Users?
In order to design an effective and efﬁcienttelemedicine program/website, it is vital toaccurately identify the target users. This caninclude partnering doctors, hospitals andclinics or the provision of general diagnosisand information services directly to patients.The needs of these different user groupssigniﬁcantly affect the internal informationﬂow structure, delivery of information andservices as well as the privacy requirementsthe program incorporates.
Clearly establishing the consultation agendais critical to determining the best formsof information gathering, processing andsharing with the target users. This qualitativesystem typically includes using one or twomethods of data acquisition and processingknown as ‘open’ and ‘closed’ processes. A‘closed’ process is deﬁned by asking peoplevery speciﬁc questions and giving themboxes to tick. The ‘open’ process is deﬁnedby asking people questions and givingthem space to formulate their own replies.Traditionally, using a combination of both‘open’ and ‘closed’ processes produces therichest and most useful responses.the E–Consultation system incorporated apatient consent form that they must sign togive their personal physician permission tosend their information and relevant imagesto the Telementors that can only be usedfor speciﬁc diagnostic and/or educationalpurposes. Further patient safeguardsalso clearly outlines to them that theirhealthcare and well being always rests withtheir personal physician and not with theTelementor(s) who have been asked forprofessional input.Clarity’s extensive experience within themedical community has taught them thatthe key challenges in electronic learningand consultation program design are not just technical – but also conceptual. ORBISneeded the E–Learning and E–Consultationprograms designed with the capacityfor precise data capturing of extremelyspeciﬁc information to facilitate the mostaccurate diagnosis possible. In order toaccomplish this, it was imperative thatevery aspect of the program analysis anddesign requirements were based upon bothrelevant and veriﬁable data.
Taking A Closer Look
Photo by Polly BradenPhoto by Kiran Ridley How to Make a Global House–Call4How to Make a Global House–Call5