Web-based virtual collaboration is increasingly gaining popularity in almost every area in our society due to the fact that it can bridge the gap imposed by time and geographical constraints. However, in medical field, such collaboration has been less popular than other fields. Some of the reasons were timeliness, security, and preciseness of the information they are dealing with. In this paper, we are proposing a web-based distributed medical collaboration system called Virtual Collaboration System for Medicine (VCSM) for medical doctors that meet the needs. The proposed system consists of two parts: multimedia presentation and recordable virtual collaboration. The former supports synchronized multimedia presentation using Synchronous Multimedia Integration Language (SMIL). It allows synchronization of the contents of a PowerPoint presentation file and a video file so that the presentation shows slides and video on the same topic at any given time. The resulting SMIL file is used to provide multimedia presentation for image intensive discussion. The presentation may be provided to the participants before the discussion begins. Participants can use text along with associated symbols during the discussion over the presented medical images. The symbols such as arrows or polygons have x-y coordinates within the images to represent associated participants’ opinions. Those can be set or removed dynamically to represent areas of interest in digital images using so called layered architecture that separates image layer from annotation layer. Those annotations can be easily hidden for training purposes. XML files are used to record participants’ opinions along with the associated elements such as arrows and polygons over some particular images.
Received: April 9th, 2007
Revised: May 5th, 2007