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Proceedings Paper

Selective visual region of interest to enhance medical video conferencing
Author(s): Walt Bonneau; Christopher J. Read; Girish Shirali
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Paper Abstract

The continued economic pressure that is being placed upon the healthcare industry creates both challenge and opportunity to develop cost effective healthcare tools. Tools that provide improvements in the quality of medical care at the same time improve the distribution of efficient care will create product demand. Video Conferencing systems are one of the latest product technologies that are evolving their way into healthcare applications. The systems that provide quality Bi- directional video and imaging at the lowest system and communication cost are creating many possible options for the healthcare industry. A method to use only 128k bits/sec. of ISDN bandwidth while providing quality video images in selected regions will be applied to echocardiograms using a low cost video conferencing system operating within a basic rate ISDN line bandwidth. Within a given display area (frame) it has been observed that only selected informational areas of the frame of are of value when viewing for detail and precision within an image. Much in the same manner that a photograph is cropped. If a method to accomplish Region Of Interest (ROI) was applied to video conferencing using H.320 with H.263 (compression) and H.281 (camera control) international standards, medical image quality could be achieved in a cost-effective manner. For example, the cardiologist could be provided with a selectable three to eight end-point viewable ROI polygon that defines the ROI in the image. This is achieved by the video system calculating the selected regional end-points and creating an alpha mask to signify the importance of the ROI to the compression processor. This region is then applied to the compression algorithm in a manner that the majority of the video conferencing processor cycles are focused on the ROI of the image. An occasional update of the non-ROI area is processed to maintain total image coherence. The user could control the non-ROI area updates. Providing encoder side ROI specification is of value. However, the power of this capability is improved if remote access and selection of the ROI is also provided. Using the H.281 camera standard and proposing an additional option to the standard to allow for remote ROI selection would make this possible. When ROI is applied the ability to reach the equivalent of 384K bits/sec ISDN rates may be achieved or exceeded depending upon the size of the selected ROI using 128K bits/sec. This opens additional opportunity to establish international calling and reduced call rates by up to sixty- six percent making reoccurring communication costs attractive. Rates of twenty to thirty quality ROI updates could be achieved. It is however important to understand that this technique is still under development.

Paper Details

Date Published: 26 June 1998
PDF: 6 pages
Proc. SPIE 3335, Medical Imaging 1998: Image Display, (26 June 1998); doi: 10.1117/12.312502
Show Author Affiliations
Walt Bonneau, Cubic (CTS) Corp. (United States)
Christopher J. Read, Sony Electronics Inc. (United States)
Girish Shirali, Loma Linda Univ. Medical Ctr. (United States)


Published in SPIE Proceedings Vol. 3335:
Medical Imaging 1998: Image Display
Yongmin Kim; Seong Ki Mun, Editor(s)

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