Advertisement

Computing

, Volume 98, Issue 1–2, pp 169–193 | Cite as

WebRTC-based video conferencing service for telehealth

  • Julian Jang-JaccardEmail author
  • Surya Nepal
  • Branko Celler
  • Bo Yan
Article

Abstract

Existing video conferencing systems that are often used in telehealth services have been criticized for a number of reasons: (a) they are often too expensive to purchase and maintain, (b) they use proprietary technologies that are incompatible to each other, and (c) they require fairly skilled IT personnel to maintain the system. There is a need for less expensive, compatible, and easy-to-use video conferencing system. The web real-time communication (WebRTC) promises to deliver such a solution by enabling web browsers with real-time communications capabilities via simple JavaScript APIs. Utilizing WebRTC, users can conduct video/audio calls and data sharing through web browsers without having to purchase or download extra software. Though the promise and prospective of WebRTC have been agreed on, there have not been many cases of real life applications (in particular in telehealth) that utilizes the WebRTC. In this paper, we present our practical experience in the design and implementation of a video conferencing system for telehealth based on WebRTC. Our video conferencing system is a part of a large tele-home monitoring project that is being carried out at six locations in five different states in Australia. One of the aims of the project is to evaluate whether high-bandwidth enabled telehealth services, delivered through tele-home monitoring, can be cost effective, and improve healthcare outcomes and access to care. This paper however focuses on WebRTC-based video conferencing system which allows online meetings between remotely located care coordinators and patients at their home. We discuss the underlying issues, detailed design and implementation, and current limitations of using WebRTC in a real life application.

Keywords

Telehealth Video conferencing WebRTC P2P  Real time communications Multimedia 

Mathematics Subject Classification

68U35 Information systems (hypertext navigation, interfaces, decision support, etc.) 

Notes

Acknowledgments

We would like to thank our industrial trainee Alex Ponomarev for the contribution towards the development of the prototype implementation. The research is funded by Australian Government Department of Health and Ageing under Commonwealth Telehealth Pilots program. We also would like to acknowledge and thank our partners: Department of Human Services, ACT Health, ACT, Northern District Health Service, TAS, Townville Mackay Medicare Local and Health District, QLD, Ballarat Health Services, Grampians Health Alliance, VIC, Nepean Blue Mountains Medicare Local and LHD, NSW, Anglican Retirement Villages, NSW, TelMedCare, iiNet, and National Brodband Network (NBN) Co.

References

  1. 1.
    Polisena J, Coyle D, Coyle K, McGill S (2009) Home telehealth for chronic disease management: a systematic review and an analysis of economic evaluations. Int J Technol Assess Health Care 25(03):339–349CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  2. 2.
    Stamm BH (1998) Clinical applications of telehealth in mental health care. Prof Psychol Res Pract 29(6):536CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  3. 3.
    Bahaadinbeigy K, Yogesan K (2012) A literature review of teleophthalmology projects from around the globe. In: Digital Teleretinal Screening. Springer, Berlin, pp 3–10Google Scholar
  4. 4.
    Polisena J, Tran K, Cimon K, Hutton B, McGill S, Palmer K (2009) Home telehealth for diabetes management: a systematic review and meta analysis. Diabetes Obes Metab 11(10):913–930CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  5. 5.
    Finkelstein SM, Speedie SM, Potthoff S (2006) Home telehealth improves clinical outcomes at lower cost for home healthcare. Telemed J e-Health 12(2):128–136CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  6. 6.
    Mohan J, Razali R, Yaacob R (2004) The Malaysian Telehealth Flagship Application: a national approach to health data protection and utilisation and consumer rights. Int J Med Inf 73(3):217–227CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  7. 7.
    Hebert MA, Korabek B, Scott RE (2006) Moving research into practice: a decision framework for integrating home telehealth into chronic illness care. Int J Med Inf 75(12):786–794CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  8. 8.
    Bird SR, Kurowski W, Dickman GK, Kronborg I (2007) Integrated care facilitation for older patients with complex health care needs reduces hospital demand. Aust Health Rev 31(3):451–461CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  9. 9.
    Australian Department of Health (2003) NBN Enabled Telehealth Piolets Program. http://health.gov.au/ehealth-nbntelehealth. Accessed 28 Jan 2014
  10. 10.
    PolyCom (2012) An Introduction to the Basics of Video Conferencing. http://www.polycom.co.uk/content/dam/polycom/common/documents/brochures/video-basics-br-engb.pdf. Accessed 28 Jan 2014
  11. 11.
    Cregan P, Stapleton S, Wilson L, Qiao RY, Li J, Percival T (2005) The ViCCU project-achieving virtual presence using ultrabroadband internet in a critical clinical application-initial results. Stud Health Technol Inf 111:94–98Google Scholar
  12. 12.
    Wilson LS, Stevenson DR, Cregan P (2010) Telehealth on advanced networks. Telemed e-Health 16(1):69–79CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  13. 13.
    WebRTC Official Website. http://www.webrtc.org/. Accessed 28 Jan 2014
  14. 14.
    Rhinow F, Veloso PP, Puyelo C, Barrett S, Nuallain EO (2014) P2P Live Video Streaming in WebRTC. http://portovep.com/static/docs/2013-webrtc-p2p-live-streaming.pdf. Accessed 28 Jan 2014
  15. 15.
    Loreto S, Romano SP (2012) Real-time communications in the web: Issues, achievements, and ongoing standardization efforts. IEEE Internet Comput 16(5):68–73CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  16. 16.
    Eriksson GP, Hakansson S (2012) WebRtC: enhancing the web with real-time communication capabilities. Ericson Rev 5–9Google Scholar
  17. 17.
    Romain C (2013) Some WebRTC opportunities for RCS: And some inner challenges to overcome. In: 17th international conference on intelligence in next generation networks (ICIN). IEEE Press, New York, pp 31–38Google Scholar
  18. 18.
    Bertin E, Cubaud S, Tuffin S, Crespi N, Beltran V (2013) WebRTC, the day after: what’s next for conversational services? In: 17th international conference on intelligence in next generation networks (ICIN), IEEE Press, New York, pp 46–52Google Scholar
  19. 19.
    Rodríguez P, Cerviño J, Trajkovska I, Salvachúa J (2013) Advanced Videoconferencing Services Based on WebRTC. In: Proceeding of IADIS multi conference on computer science and information systemsGoogle Scholar
  20. 20.
    Fernandez LL, Diaz MP, Mejias RB, Lopez FJ, Santos JA. (2013) Kurento: a media server technology for convergent WWW/mobile real-time multimedia communications supporting WebRTC. In: 14th international symposium and workshops on a world of wireless, mobile and multimedia networks (WoWMoM). IEEE Press, New York, pp 1–6Google Scholar
  21. 21.
    Elleuch W (2013) Models for multimedia conference between browsers based on WebRTC. In: IEEE 9th international conference on wireless and mobile computing, networking and communications (WiMob). IEEE Press, New York, pp 279–284Google Scholar
  22. 22.
    Australian Government, Department of Health and Ageing. Building a 21st Century Primary Health Care System. Australia’s First NationalPrimary Health Care Strategy. http://www.yourhealth.gov.au/internet/yourhealth/publishing.nsf/Content/nphc-draft-report-toc/$FILE/NPHC-Draft.pdf. Accessed 28 Jan 2014
  23. 23.
    NHHRC (2014) A Healthier Future For All Australians-Final Report of the National Health and Hospitals Reform Commission-June 2009. http://www.health.gov.au/internet/nhhrc/publishing.nsf/content/nhhrc-report. Accessed 28 Jan 2014
  24. 24.
    Preventive Health Taskforce (2014) Taking Preventative Action-the Government’s response to the report of the National Preventative Health Taskforce. http://www.preventativehealth.org.au/internet/preventativehealth/publishing.nsf/Content/taking-preventative-action. Accessed 28 Jan 2014
  25. 25.
    Australian Institute of Health and Welfare (2014) Health Expenditure Australia 2011–2012. http://www.aihw.gov.au/publication-detail/?id=60129544658. Accessed 30 April 2014
  26. 26.
    Litan RE (2008) Vital signs via broadband: Remote health monitoring transmits savings, enhances lives. Better Health Care TogetherGoogle Scholar
  27. 27.
    Whole System Demonstrator Programme Headline Findings (2011) https://www.gov.uk/government/uploads/system/uploads/attachment_data/file/215264/dh_131689.pdf. Accessed 28 Jan 2014
  28. 28.
    Darkins A, Ryan P, Kobb R, Foster L, Edmonson E, Wakefield B, Lancaster AE (2008) Care coordination/home telehealth: the systematic implementation of health informatics, home telehealth, and disease management to support the care of veteran patients with chronic conditions. Telemed e-Health 14(10):1118–1126CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  29. 29.
    Nepal S, Jang-Jaccard J, Celler B, Yan B, Alem L (2013) Data architecture for telehealth services research: a case study of home tele-monitoring. In: 9th international conference conference on collaborative computing: networking, applications and worksharing (Collaboratecom). IEEE Press, New York, pp 458–467Google Scholar
  30. 30.
    W3C (2014) WebRTC 1.0: Real-time Communication Between Browsers. http://dev.w3.org/2011/webrtc/editor/webrtc.html. Accessed 28 Jan 2014
  31. 31.
    IETF (2014) Real-Time Communication in Web-Browsers (RTCWEB). http://datatracker.ietf.org/wg/rtcweb/. Accessed 28 Jan 2014
  32. 32.
    Dutton S (2012) Getting Started With WebRTC. http://www.html5rocks.com/en/tutorials/webrtc/basics/. Accessed 28 Jan 2014
  33. 33.
    Dutton S (2013) WebRTC in the real world: STUN, TURN, and signalling. http://www.html5rocks.com/en/tutorials/webrtc/infrastructure/. Accessed 28 Jan 2014
  34. 34.
    EasyRTC (2013) EasyRTC Documentation. http://www.easyrtc.com/docs/guides/easyrtc_client_tutorial.html. Accessed 28 Jan 2014
  35. 35.
    Grigorik I (2013) High performance browser networking. O’Reilly Media, SebastopolGoogle Scholar
  36. 36.
    Polycom (2014) Polycom Solutions for Telemedicine/Patient Care. http://www.polycom.com.au/solutions/solutions-by-industry/healthcare/telemedicine-telehealth.html. Accessed 4 April 2014
  37. 37.
    Bahaadinbeigy K, Yogesan K, Wootton R (2010) A survey of the state of telemedicine in Western Australia. J Telemed Telecare 16:176–180CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  38. 38.
    Microsoft Skype. http://www.skype.com/en/features/group-video-chat/. Accessed 30 April 2014
  39. 39.
    Google unveils hangouts: unified messaging system for Android, iOS, and Chrome. http://www.theverge.com/2013/5/15/4332556/google-hangouts-unified-messaging-google-io-2013. Accessed 30 April 2014
  40. 40.
    Apple FaceTime. http://www.apple.com/au/ios/facetime. Accessed 30 April 2014
  41. 41.
    http://www.oovoo.com/. Accessed 30 April 2014
  42. 42.
    http://www.camfrog.com/y. Accessed 30 April 2014
  43. 43.
  44. 44.
    http://www.audisoft.net. Accessed 30 April 2014
  45. 45.
    http://janet.iocom.co.uk. Accessed 30 April 2014
  46. 46.
    http://www.mirial.com. Accessed 30 April 2014
  47. 47.
  48. 48.

Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag Wien 2014

Authors and Affiliations

  • Julian Jang-Jaccard
    • 1
    Email author
  • Surya Nepal
    • 1
  • Branko Celler
    • 1
  • Bo Yan
    • 1
  1. 1.CSIRO Computational Informatics (CCI)MarsfieldAustralia

Personalised recommendations