We have developed a three-dimensional ultrasound telepresence system for remote consultation. Three-dimensional ultrasound data-sets can be acquired by relatively unskilled operators. The data are stored in the remote unit and then transmitted to a consultant equipped with a similar unit. A telepresence pointing device enables the consultant to re-slice that data-set in any plane. During the study period, 72 volumetric scans of male and female volunteers aged 18-45 years were performed in Bosnia. Field users of limited ultrasound experience (most with less than 30 min of training) were able to acquire volumetric scans, send volume data and interact with remote consultants over standard communications lines at distances of up to 20,000 km. Communications links from 9.6 to 1500 kbit/s were used. Technical limitations included lack of motion data, lack of colour data, scan artefacts and increased scan-to-diagnosis time. However, our preliminary experience indicates that this technique may eventually prove to be a useful adjunct to telesonography. Further studies of the technique are needed to determine its value in the broader clinical setting.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Health Informatics