About ADES Program


As described above, the ADES will be divided into three major segments, each should appeal to different target audience. The first segment - "Dermatology in primary care" focuses on providing introductory dermatology course and self-evaluation session to medical students and primary care physicians. A "Multimedia dermatology course" section will offer a vivid illustration of common skin disorders with pictures, videos and animation while a "Simulated dermatology patient" section will let an user evaluate her progress by presenting a simulated case for diagnosis and treatment.

The second segment - "Dermatologist lounge" aims at dermatologist or dermatopathologists that uses the Internet. A "Dermatologist forum" in this segment will enable participating dermatologists to discuss and share professional knowledge, experience and opinions with one another. Rare and interesting cases can be submitted to a "Case of the month" section where they were exhibited and discussed.

In the third segment - "Skin problem Q & A" frequently encountered skin problems and its management would be listed in a "Skin Problem FAQ" section. Whereas a user can also ask for help from dermatologists that visit the ADES by utilizing a "Ask-a-Dermatologist" section in this segment. Both segment II and III will have a "Internet Dermatology Resource" section that would provide hyperlinks to related web sites in the world.

The purpose, target audience and planned sections of each segment are listed in the following table:

Segment Purpose Target audience Planned sections
I.Dermatology in Primary Care Provide an introductory dermatology course and self-evaluation session 1.Medical student
2.Primary care physician
1.Multimedia dermatology course
2.Simulated dermatology patient
II. Dermatologist Lounge Provide an electronic meeting place for dermatologists to share opinions and experience 1. Dermatologist
2. Dermatopathologist
1. Dermatologist Forum
2. Dermatology Case of the Month
3. Internet dermatology resource for dermatologist
III. Skin Problem Q & A Allow convenient access tofrequentlyasked dermatology questions (FAQ) and also chances to ask dermatologis specific question about skin illness 1. General public 1. Skin Problem FAQ
2. Ask-a-Dermatologist
3. Internet dermatology resource for general public

A dual-Pentium PC server with large storage (4GB) will be used as our hardware platform because of its superior cost/performance efficiency compared to other UNIX server that can cost millions. A Netscape Commerce Server (free for education purpose) running under the Microsoft Windows NT operating system will be our WWW server software platform. The language used to construct a WWW site is called Hypertext Mark-up Language (HTML). CGI (Common Gateway Interface) will be used as the programming component that bridges HTML and more advanced computer access. The combination of HTML and CGI is sufficient for building most of our applications in ADES, whereas the "Dermatologist forum" will need an Internet BBS (Bulletin Board System) server or News server to be a full functional discussion board.

The content of the multimedia dermatology course, the simulated patient cases and the skin problem Q&A will be developed by the project investigators and other board-certified dermatologists from university teaching hospitals. The images and video needed in this course will be captured by a high-resolution scanner and a high-performance video capture card (provided by the computer center of Taipei Medical College). JPEG (Joint Photographic Experts Group) and MPEG (Moving Picture Experts Group) compression will be used in the storage of the images and the videos respectively. The relationship between the quality and the size of the picture (or video) will be studied. The size of the multimedia components is an important issue since most users on the net does not have high-bandwidth access, a site with too many large pictures or videos will almost ensure its unpopularity. Effort will be made to invite dermatology specialists from the medical centers and teaching hospitals to participate in reviewing the contents of each segment. This step is necessary to guarantee the quality of the information served on the ADES.

Messages will be broadcast to the Internet and the dermatologist community about the incarnation of the Dermatologist Forum and invite all dermatologist to visit. Free e-mail accounts can be provided to dermatologists who are willing to participate the dermatologist forum. Rare and interesting cases are encouraged to be submitted to the Case-of-the-Month on-line exhibition.

The skin problem FAQ will be build by soliciting frequently asked questions from our OPD patients and from recommendations from the visitors of this site. The answers to those FAQs will also be verified by the dermatology specialists before posted. The Ask-a- Dermatologist section will let users post questions to a board where voluntary dermatologists could answer. Although there is no perfect way to ensure the correctness of these answers, the open nature of this board should eliminate answers that are too far-off.

Usage statistics and participated user profiles will be logged in the ADES to study the demand of different categories of information. The type of questions and information posted to or retrieved from the ADES will be analyzed to understand the feasibility and difficulties of remote medical education and consultation. The efficiency of professional communication in virtual meeting place like the dermatologist lounge in the ADES will also be studied by on-line questionnaires filled by participated physicians.