A typical cooperative telediagnostic (e-diagnostic) environment is shown in Figure 2. Yearwood and Pham (2000) and Pham and Yearwood (2000) describe a cooperative telemedicine environment for interactive processing of visual data. This environment consists of databases containing medical/pathological images and textual information, a cooperative interaction facility, and telecommunication. The typical characteristics of such an environment are:
Remoteness of users: Users work remotely on common shared resources and applications and simultaneously communicate both visually and through audio. This environment becomes more flexible and useful if it can work in an integrated (wireless and wired-in) environment so that the services can be provided for mobile hosts .
Cooperation: Many e-medicine applications require doctors , specialists, and health-record officials to cooperate and discuss particular medical treatment. In this application we are concerned with a large data set such as radiological images, video images or signals, and text that are transferred to the host from a server. Cooperation among the participants requires special communication tools for conversation, e-pointing, and e-surgery.
E-pointing facility: E-pointing is the act of moving an on-screen tracking symbol, such as a cursor, by manipulating the input device. Such a tracker can be placed over text, images, icons, and menu items and is basic to human interaction with graphic interfaces. Such a facility can aid conversation between two or more participants dealing with medical images or signals. The interactive e-pointers (MacKenzie & Jusoh, 2001) aid each participant to point out a particular segment of an image or a video image of a signal so that each of the other participants can visualise the movements of the remote pointer and discuss any abnormality for diagnostic purposes.
Facility for Internet link: Also users should be able to remotely access worldwide knowledge bases/databases, download files from the Internet, and browse the World Wide Web using portable and mobile devices such as laptops, palmtops, and PDAs. Further technological developments are needed to provide the PDA users with facilities to handle text, graphics, and audio messages and access interactive multimedia services.