Supporting Tele-consultations through Tangible Interfaces
Teleconsultation refers to the electronic communication that happens between a clinician and patient for the purpose of diagnostic or therapeutic advice. Teleconsultations are particularly useful to provide healthcare services in situations where face-to-face consultation may not be easy. So far, the teleconsultations sessions are primarily supported by audio and video based communication. Although audio and video based communications are advantageous for teleconsultation, they may not fully support all the diagnostic tasks that are carried out in a face-to-face consultation session. For example, diagnosis of physical injuries may require physical handling through touch, which is not possible over video based communication.
To address this, I put forward a novel approach of using tangible interfaces and artifacts to support physical diagnostic tasks in a teleconsultation sessions. The aim of this thesis is to contribute to the understanding on how to design such tangible interfaces. The research will be carried out in three phases. In the first phase, I will investigate the experience of users with technology involved in a teleconsultation session through observation studies to gather a deep understanding on existing teleconsultation processes. These insights will inform the design for tangible interfaces to support teleconsultation session. The prototyping will be carried out in second phase. Finally, in the third phase I will field deploy the prototype to gather and understand its implication in teleconsultation sessions. This investigation will guide me towards a first conceptual understanding of the design of tangible interfaces for teleconsultation sessions. Ultimately, my aim is to invoke thinking towards natural (tangible) interfaces in supporting teleconsultations to get closer to the experience of face-to-face consultation.