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International Journal of Telemedicine and Applications
Volume 2009, Article ID 406753, 9 pages
http://dx.doi.org/10.1155/2009/406753
Research Article

Delivering Diagnostic Quality Video over Mobile Wireless Networks for Telemedicine

1AEC Automotive, Texas Instruments Inc. Stafford, TX 77477, USA
2School of Electrical and Computer Engineering, Georgia Institute of Technology, Atlanta, GA 30332, USA
3Center for Telehealth, School of Medicine, Medical College of Georgia, Augusta, GA 30912, USA
4Department of Pediatrics, School of Medicine, Medical College of Georgia, Augusta, GA 30912, USA

Received 4 August 2008; Revised 22 December 2008; Accepted 26 February 2009

Academic Editor: Fei Hu

Copyright © 2009 Sira P. Rao et al. This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.

Abstract

In real-time remote diagnosis of emergency medical events, mobility can be enabled by wireless video communications. However, clinical use of this potential advance will depend on definitive and compelling demonstrations of the reliability of diagnostic quality video. Because the medical domain has its own fidelity criteria, it is important to incorporate diagnostic video quality criteria into any video compression system design. To this end, we used flexible algorithms for region-of-interest (ROI) video compression and obtained feedback from medical experts to develop criteria for diagnostically lossless (DL) quality. The design of the system occurred in three steps-measurement of bit rate at which DL quality is achieved through evaluation of videos by medical experts, incorporation of that information into a flexible video encoder through the notion of encoder states, and an encoder state update option based on a built-in quality criterion. Medical experts then evaluated our system for the diagnostic quality of the video, allowing us to verify that it is possible to realize DL quality in the ROI at practical communication data transfer rates, enabling mobile medical assessment over bit-rate limited wireless channels. This work lays the scientific foundation for additional validation through prototyped technology, field testing, and clinical trials.