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Journal Article

Knowledge Management for Virtual Reality Applications in a Home Rehabilitation Virtual Network  pp477-486

Emil Scarlat, Virginia Maracine, Adriana Nica

© Jan 2008 Volume 5 Issue 4, Editor: Charles Despres, pp347 - 550

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Abstract

This paper describes the reference architecture to support a multi‑user virtual healthcare network that enables rehabilitation and social reintegration of people with disabilities. The network, based on a virtual collaborative environment supported by the www, includes collaboration and interpersonal communication devices and data collection mechanisms that provide knowledge management for the system and effectiveness evaluation. The Virtual Network (VN) allows the rehabilitation patients spread in geographically dispersed areas, a very frequent reality in the considered context, to access a distributed virtual platform able to offer communication and shared knowledge with doctors, nurses, therapists, social workers and other people involved in the process of rehabilitation. VN solutions allow building a virtual shared space, a context of understanding and knowledge where the "real world" knowledge affects virtual interaction and virtual interaction modifies "real world" therapies. The main aim of the VN is to achieve a higher quality of life for the people with disabilities and, in the long term, from the economic point of view, to produce important savingsprofits and bring about feasible ways to improvingre‑organizing health care services. The present paper illustrates our team's first steps in building such a network in Romania. The first section establishes the link between the virtual reality and the medical rehabilitation as an important branch of the healthcare system. Several applications in the field are presented here. The second section focuses on two main aspects: on the one hand, the current Romanian reality of medical rehabilitation and, on the other hand, the existing possibilities to build a VN for rehabilitation as a solution to the main problems Romania has in this field. The third section is a technical preamble to the knowledge sharing process particularized for a healthcare VN in section number four. The last part of the paper includes both pro and cons arguments for the designing of a VN as a solution to the discrepancy between the demand and the real current hospitals' supply of medical rehabilitation in Romania.

 

Keywords: home rehabilitation, virtual reality, virtual healthcare network, virtual organization, knowledge sharing models, information broker agent, personal healthcare agent

 

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