While 4K might mean fancier television sets in your home, the technology has a far more meaningful application in the field of telemedicine where high definition gives remote specialists the clarity they need to perform delicate work. But 4K means big pipes are necessary to transmit the pictures – and that’s what REANNZ is demonstrating down South this week, as it fires up its newly established 100Gbps research network.
Working in partnership with global networking organisations, universities and research institutes in California, REANNZ (Research and Education Advanced Network New Zealand), the network is at the centre of a global three-way 4K telemedicine application which allows viewers at its Queenstown conference to watch a live stream video of a patient in San Diego being diagnosed by a doctor in Chicago.
“REANNZ is showing the potential of high-speed networks to extend the reach of New Zealand’s medical experts in providing highly specialised remote care,” says REANNZ Chief Executive Steve Cotter, adding that the network also shows where telemedicine-assisted clinical education and research is headed.
To support the demonstration, REANNZ has constructed the world’s first 33-megapixel ‘Scaleable Adaptive Graphics Environment’ (SAGE) OptIPortal using a two-by-two matrix of 4K displays. Based in Queenstown, this is connected to Qualcomm Institutes’ 64-megapixel SAGE OptIPortal and EVL’s 74-megapixel installation over the 100Gbps research network.
Using the network and associated optical equipment provides the ability to deliver specialist healthcare regardless of patient or physician location.
CineGrid President Laurin Herr says the real revolution is not the technology itself, which has been around for some time. Instead, it is the price of cameras and displays which have dropped by several orders of magnitude. “[That means] these new applications can be made available in areas such as healthcare education and certain medical areas such as dermatology, where viewing is critical.”
The proof-of-concept demonstration will highlight SAGE OptIPortal remote collaborative technology and uncompressed ultra-high definition 4K and HD video for use in dermatology clinical education; cancer epidemiology; and for remote examination, diagnosis, dermatopathology and patient counselling of skin cancers.
This Telemedicine Application allows for:
- Non-expert medical personnel to perform telemedicine-assisted screenings for skin cancers using remote telemedicine technology
- Expert diagnosis and prognosis of patient outcomes from remote sites
- Telemedicine-assisted clinical education of medical professionals for issues surrounding skin cancer
- Assessment of pathology and diagnostic materials by remote experts
- Skin cancer epidemiological review and trend analysis for returning veterans
This demonstration will highlight commercial-off-the-shelf and open source technology that is generalisable for other remote telemedicine applications, clinical education and patient intervention across a wide range of medical necessities.