//Logo Image

只有關懷,沒有距離-關懷快遞資訊看板

Beyond distance – Care Delivery Frame

Prepared by: Yi-Shin Chen* (陳意欣), Daniiar Andakulov**, Aizada Djaparova**, Chia-Che Wu* (巫佳哲), Yen-Wei Chen* (陳延暐), and Ju-An Wang* (王竹安)
*Mechanical Engineering Department, **Graduate School of Management, Yuan Ze University
Faculty Advisor: Yeh-Liang Hsu (徐業良), Professor of Mechanical Engineering Department, Director of Gerontechnology Research Center, Yuan Ze University

Executive Summary

數位相框總功能2The “Care Delivery Frame (CDF)” proposed here integrates two distinctly different applications, the home telehealth system and the remote photo sharing service of digital photo frame, to create a unique information channel for senior users who are not familiar with the operation of computers and Internet. In addition to health data monitoring, children or caregivers can “deliver care” to their seniors not living together by warm messages and thoughtful reminders on the CDF, as well as sharing their feelings, joy, and life experience through photos and video clips.

CDF is positioned as the first software for elder people providing care and positive emotion, with the emerging new class of computers – the “Pad PC”, as its major target platform. CDF will be made available through its product website by the end of 2010. It will be offered in 3 versions, the basic, advanced, and professional, with different functions, purposes, and pricing strategies.

This proposal first describes the motivation, concepts and functions of CDF. The business model is then presented. Current status and future development of CDF are also described.

1.     Product Description

1.1 Motivation: An information channel for “care delivery” is needed in the aging society

Most developed countries are facing the problem of increasing number of elderly population. The need of health care and management for the elderly is an urgent issue. Home has become the centerpiece of health delivery system today. Intensive monitoring of health parameters in the home environment is necessary for health care and management. Telehomecare, or the more modern term home telehealth, can be defined as “the use of information and communication technologies to enable effective delivery and management of health services at a patient’s residence” [1]. Home telehealth allows patients the dignity of remaining in their own home for as long as possible by providing care that is equal to or superior than approaches that rely solely on health providers coming into the home for scheduled visits [2]. Most telehomecare systems adopt the following sequence for health parameter monitoring: measurement of various health data è health data transmission è data storage and analysis è medical actions. The technical emphasis is on establishing an information channel for health data transmission between homes and hospitals. The “care” in such systems often refers to “medical care”.

Aging is associated with an increasing risk of isolation. In addition to transmitting health monitoring data, the essence of “care” to the senior should emphasize more on the care from people, in the forms of warm messages, thoughtful reminders, and sharing feelings, joy, and life experience. We need to establish an information channel so that the love ones, children, family members, and care givers can easily “deliver care” to the seniors not living together.

To those users who are familiar with computers and Internet, the PC is the most important and irreplaceable information channel. Information access, interpersonal communication, audio-visual entertainment, shopping, distance learning, and health care, can all be achieved on a PC connected to the Internet. However, there is still no proper information channel for those people who are not familiar with computers and Internet, such as the seniors.

1.2 Innovative product concept: “Care Delivery Frame”

The “Care Delivery Frame” proposed here integrates two distinctly different applications, the “decentralized home telehealth system” and the “remote photo sharing service” of digital photo frame, to create a unique information channel for the seniors at home.

Most telehomecare systems use a centralized database structure. Health data measured at home is transmitted to a centralized database at the “home health care services provider” through the telephone line (including mobile communications) or the Internet for storage and analysis. Users subscribe service from the home healthcare service provider to access the health information and receive medical care. Although the usefulness of telehomecare systems has been recognized, and all technologies required are readily available, expectations for its widespread adoption have not been realized. Current model often involves in integration of different business and very complicated infrastructure. Moreover, a monthly fee is required to maintain such systems, which hinders the acceptance of customers. Whether the users have enough trust on the home healthcare service provider, so that they are willing to transmit their private health data to the home health care service provider on a long term basis, is also an important concern.

Figure 1 shows the information structure of the “decentralized home telehealth system” proposed by Gerontechnology Research Center (GRC), Yuan Ze University [3]. In this structure, a single household is the fundamental unit for sensing, data transmission, storage and analysis. The core of the system is the “Distributed Data Server (DDS)” inside a household, which can be a hardware thin server or software running on a PC. Instead of sending the health monitoring data to a centralized database in a home healthcare service provider, health monitoring data is stored within the household. This is the smallest possible home telehealth system, which makes it economically viable and acceptable to the end-users. However, all technical functions of a centralized system, such as health monitoring data storage and display, health event alert, regular report etc., can still be achieved. Monthly service fee is not necessary, as the caregivers of the senior users (not the home healthcare service provider) take the responsibility of providing necessary care based on the health monitoring information. The DDS can still be connected to a centralized database when more complicated health management services are needed.

Figure 1. Information structure of the decentralized home telehealth system

GRC has received 11 patents of the various applications based on this innovative structure to form a complete patent portfolio. The core patent of the decentralized home telehealth system won a gold medal award in the 2008 Taipei International Invention Show & Technomart. Collaborating with Ming-Sheng Hospital, GRC has field tested the system in the homes of 40 chronic patients for more than one year in the “UCare Project” sponsored by Ministry of Economic Affairs (2007~2008). The system proved to be feasible, stable and mature.

Far EasTone Telecom launched a digital photo frame product in 2009 which provided remote photo sharing services. The main theme was “sharing happiness with your families remotely” by the remote photo management function to display your photos on a remote digital photo frame with Wi-Fi capability. Though not successful, this is the only such product ever appeared in Taiwan. Inspired by this remote photo sharing service, the “Care Delivery Frame (CDF)” proposed here is an extension of DDS, incorporating the idea of remotely sharing feelings, joy, and life experience with the seniors at home in the form of photos and video clips.

The emerging of a new class of computers – the so-called “Pad PC”, is also a very important driver of CDF. Pad PC was called “tablet PC”, “slate PC” or “screen PC”. The industry is starting to consolidate its name into “Pad PC” after the successful launch of iPad by Apple Inc. in April 2010. Pad PCs are often small in size, equipped with a stylus and a touch screen, and they are less expensive, more mobile than laptop PCs. Pad PCs usually possess less computation than laptop PCs, and are designed to be used for specific purposes such as digital day planners, Internet surfing devices, project planners, music players, and displays for photos, video, live TV, and e-reading. Many PC manufacturers have planned to introduce new pad PCs after iPad in early 2011. Figure 2 shows a few examples.

   

Figure 2. Examples of pad PCs: iPad, Eee Pad, Samsung Galaxy Tab, MSI WindPad

Derived from DDS of the decentralized home telehealth system, CDF can be a hardware thin server or software. Considering the time to market and the capital investment required in manufacturing and delivery hardware, CDF is set up as PC software in this first stage. Pad PC is the major target platform for CDF. After acceptance of CDF is proven by a large number of users, we will collaborate with hardware manufactures to develop a dedicated CDF hardware device.

1.3 “Care Delivery Frame” product description

The “Care Delivery Frame (CDF)” integrates two distinctly different applications, the home telehealth system and the remote photo sharing service of digital photo frame, to create a unique information channel for senior users who are not familiar with the operation of computers and Internet. In addition to health data monitoring, children/caregivers can “deliver care” to their seniors not living together by warm messages and thoughtful reminders on the CDF, as well as sharing their feelings, joy, and life experience by displaying photos and video clips remotely on the CDF. Even more applications can be imagine once this information channel to the seniors at home is established, such as entertainment, displaying life information or even commercial ads. As shown in Figure 3, CDF provides the following 4 main functions:

(1)       Home telehealth: The basic function of CDF is the DDS of the decentralized home telehealth system. All technical functions of a home telehealth system are built in the CDF. Currently the vital sign sensors that can be connected to CDF are blood pressure meter, blood glucose meter, and weight scale.

(2)       Remote photo sharing: CDF provides a platform for children and caregivers to upload photos and videos clips remotely, and manage the display sequence and timing on the CDF for their seniors not living together.

(3)       Caring messages and reminders: Children/caregivers can send warm caring messages and thoughtful reminders to their seniors to display on the CDF.

(4)       Entertainment and life information: Collaborating with information service companies such as Far Eastone, CDF can also be a platform to display life information such as weather, shopping, as well as music and other entertainment information.

Figure 3. The 4 main functions of the Care Delivery Frame

As illustrated in Figure 4, CDF software will be offered in 3 versions. The “basic version” uses the simplest “stand-alone” information structure involving only two PCs on the Internet. CDF software is installed (in a pad PC) as software DDS in the home telehealth system for the senior user. Children/caregivers communicate with the senior user remotely by installing “CDF-Remote” program. The senior user uses vital sign meter (such as Bionime blood glucose meter in Figure 4) at home. The measurement data can be transmitted to the pad PC, and saved in the storage unit. Children/caregivers can login into the senior user’s pad PC using CDF-Remote program to track the health monitoring data of the senior user, and perform the 4 main functions of CDF. In the “advanced version”, the users register in the application server to perform the 4 functions of CDF from any browsers without installing the CDF-Remote program, and receive advanced services such as User name/IP convert, email/SMS event message, regular report etc. The “professional version” connects the CDF to the centralized database of a hospital or home healthcare service provider for users who need professional health care.

Figure 4. The Information structure of CDF in 3 different versions

2.     Business Model

The business model for CDF is centered on the decision that the Gerontechnology Research Center (GRC) of Yuan Ze University who developed this product will also be the business unit to carry out this business plan.

2.1 Basic business concept of CDF

Before outlining the basic business concept of CDF, the objective, strength, resources, and limitations of Gerontechnology Research Center are carefully examined. GRC was officially established in January 2003, with the mission to “design technologies and products to provide practical solutions to the various problems of the aging society”. As the first research institute in this field in Taiwan, GRC has good academic reputation. GRC participated in many industry collaboration projects developing home telehealth systems, and has accumulated technical competence, operation experience, knowledge of the market, and valuable partnership in this field. Currently, GRC has 6 full time staff (including 1 doctoral research fellow), 7 doctoral students, 6 master students, and several undergraduate senior students working in the center. GRC collaborate with many professors in various departments of Yuan Ze university, for gerontechnology is an interdisciplinary research field in nature.

During the past 7 years in the field of gerontechnology, we realized that the answer to this question, “How can technology be best used to support the needs of aging society”, is even more important than technical development itself. CDF is our answer to this question. We believe this is how a home telehealth system should be designed. With this belief, our primary goal in the commercialization of CDF is to spread the use of CDF, so that the aging society can really be beneficial from our research. We are not looking at maximizing the profit from selling this product. We simply hope to make enough revenue to sustain the operation and continuing research of GRC, and to give the members of GRC research team a stable career outlook.

Under these objectives, we felt that it is better if GRC itself carries out the sales and support of CDF. Except for the fact that GRC already possesses technological competency, knowledge, and experience in this field, there are other advantages of GRC over general companies:

Ÿ    GRC can access various university resources, in particular, the expertise of professors in different fields, in the commercialization processes.

Ÿ    As a research center in a university, it is easier for GRC to get the trust from the customer that they will receive long-term technical support on CDF.

Ÿ    It is easier for GRC to obtain research funding from government and research manpower from graduate students of the university. The cost of maintaining support and continuing research and development of CDF will be much lower than the cost of a company.

There are of course limitations of GRC in carrying out the commercialization of CDF:

Ÿ    GRC does not have enough capital for the development and manufacturing of hardware device.

Ÿ    GRC will not be able to run physical stores or develop sales channels for CDF, especially in international market.

Based on the objective, strength, resources, and limitations of GRC discussed above, the basic business concept of CDF is described as follows in terms of the “4Ps”:

(1)   Product

Ÿ    Considering the time to market and capital investment required in manufacturing and delivery hardware, CDF is set up as PC software in this first stage.

Ÿ    After acceptance of CDF is proven by a large number of users, we will collaborate with hardware manufactures to develop a dedicated CDF hardware device.

Ÿ    CDF will be offered in 3 versions, the “basic version”, the “advanced version” and the “professional version”. The functions of the different versions are described in the previous section.

(2)   Price

Ÿ    The basic version will be free to customers. This version aims to quickly spread the use of CDF, to build and observe customers’ behaviors using CDF, and to gain customer base.

Ÿ    In the advanced version, the users have to register to use the advanced functions provided by the application server. An annually service fee of NT199 will be charged.

Ÿ    The professional version is for users who need professional health care. By providing the connection from the CDF to the centralized database, GRC will share the revenue in the monthly service fee charged by the hospitals of home health service providers.

(3) Place

Ÿ    CDF basic version and advanced version will be made available to the customer through a product webpage set up by GRC.

Ÿ    CDF professional version will be sold with the home telehealth service by the hospitals or home telehealth service providers.

(4) Promotion

Ÿ    CDF is designed for senior users, but the younger generation and Internet users, who will actually download the software, are the more important customers.

Ÿ    Promotion of CDF should concentrate on the younger generation (e.g., “CDF is a gift to the elderly parents to show that you will always care about them.”) Promotion channels should also utilize medias on the Internet.

2.2 Value chain structure of CDF

To understand the feasibility of commercialization of CDF, this section analyzes the 5 members in the value chain structure of CDF.

(1)      Suppliers

Ÿ    Software developers: Software development can be accomplished by GRC or can be outsourced to the many high quality software companies in Taiwan if needed.

Ÿ    Vital sign measurement device manufacturers: Vital sign measurement devices used in CDF can be acquired easily, as Taiwan is the worlds second largest vital sign measurement device provider. Communication protocols of the devices are needed in order to connect with CDF. GRC already have partnership with the major vital sign measurement device manufacturers such as TaiDoc and Bionime and have obtained their protocols.

Ÿ    Internet access: According to the survey conducted by III-FIND, the household computer penetration rate in Taiwan reaches 85.7% in 2009, with 6,629 thousand households owning computers, representing an average of 2.4 computers owned per household. The household Internet penetration is 78.7%, and household broadband penetration rate is 73.9% [4]. Cheaper Pad PCs and 3G Internet access can be the solution for the senior users who do not have Internet access. GRC has very good collaboration relation with Far EasTone Telecom. Co., which can be a good resource in this aspect.

Ÿ    Sales Channel: The basic and advanced versions of CDF can be made available to customers by directly downloading from the product website developed and maintained by GRC itself. For the professional version of CDF, SmartCare Inc., a spinoff company from the UCare project by Ming-Sheng Healthcare and GRC, will be the sales channel.

(2)      Manufacturers/Developers

GRC has a position of developer in the value chain structure. GRC has enough experience and capabilities and will integrate all resources from suppliers to continuously update and maintain CDF software, the application server, and the product web site.

(3)      Marketing

The marketing strategy for CDF will be concentrated (niche) marketing strategy because we are targeting a niche which is not served and overlooked by other companies. Currently there is no software providing care delivery for elder people, even though there is a need for that. CDF is positioned as the first software for elder people providing care and positive emotion. Distribution strategy is mass distribution aiming to increase availability and awareness of CDF. Detailed marketing strategies will be described in the later section.

(4)      Partners

In addition to the suppliers mentioned above, GRC will explore partnership with pad PC or digital photo frame producers to develop a dedicated CDF hardware device after acceptance of CDF is proven by a large number of users. The hardware producer’s benefit will be increasing their market horizontally by selling products to senior who were not supposed to be their users.

Other possible partners are hospitals or home telehealth service providers, who can adopt CDF as the platform of their home telehealth services, to increase the distribution of CDF. The hospitals and home telehealth service providers’ benefit will be wider acceptance by their patients since CDF incorporates more “caring functions” than typical home telehealth system.

(5)      Customers

An important value of CDF to our customers will be the care delivery of children to their parents from the far distance and involvement of children and family members to the life of elder people. In addition to the senior users, the younger generation is actually the more important customers. GRC will continue customer research in this segment, to increase the value of CDF as a convenient and effective platform for the younger generation to care for their seniors.

2.3 Industry analysis of CDF

“Porter’s 5 forces analysis” is used for a complete industry analysis of CDF. As summarized in Figure 5, the CDF industry is found attractive.

Figure 5. Porter’s 5 forces analysis for CDF

(1)      Competitive rivalry within an industry

For the initial stage of the introduction of CDF to market, rivalry and competition pressure will be low due to the nonexistence of this type of product in Taiwan and global market. GRC will not have direct competitors. Home telehealth vendors are indirect competitors to CDF. They are providing service to connect doctors, nurses to patients through the telecommunication tools, aiming to provide skilled care to patients in their home. Currently these companies are implementing centralized structures which results in high maintaining cost complexity from the involvement of too many members to the value chain.

In the medium stage rivalry will increase because new entrants and imitators may copy this application and try to provide similar services. However, by the time GRC will already have a customer base, goodwill in the market, complementary assets as specialized software development capability, access to the distribution channels, service network etc. The complete patent portfolio owned by GRC will also provide legal instruments to protect from imitators.

(2)      Threat of substitutes (product and service)

Threat of substitutes for CDF is low due to nonexistence of products carrying similar value. There are possible substitutes as digital photo frame, centralized home tele-health systems, and others. But none of them were provided in conjunction. When these products are provided separately their value to potential customer is different, but when they are all included into one product like in CDF, the value stands to different points. By the combination of concepts from different products and application fields into one, the value of CDF is enriched and has a potential to become integral part of the senior users and their children/caregivers.

(3)      Bargaining power of the buyers

The bargaining power of the buyers of CDF is moderately low, again due to nonexistence of products carrying similar value. Therefore in the initial stage buyers will not have an opportunity to switch to other competitors. Even considering home telehealth service providers in the U.S. or western Europe, CDF still has a competitive advantage with much lower price.

(4)      Threat of new entrants

Threat of new entrants is high because it does not require high capital for start up. Moreover, this industry will be attractive to new entrants due to the high future profits. However, CDF’s competitive strategy against new entrants is based on pricing. GRC has an advantage of low cost, which will make possible to offer low prices.

(5)      Bargaining power of the suppliers

The bargaining power of the suppliers of CDF is moderately low due almost no switching cost to other suppliers. GRC itself is in charge of development and maintenance of software, application server, and product website. It is still easy to switch to other suppliers as Taiwan has plenty of software development companies. CDF is compatible to many types of vital sign meters. The Internet readiness in Taiwan is also high.

2.4 Market size estimation for CDF

Though CDF has the potential of application by other market segments, we choose the senior users as our concentrated (niche) market. Currently there is no software developed specifically for senior users who are not familiar with the operation of computers and Internet. This possible market is overlooked and GRC can carry out this opportunity. Market segment size estimation for CDF is also based on the number of people 65 and above. Table 1 shows the percentage of population 65 years or older in major countries around the world. The rapid increase of aging population is an obvious trend. The 3 oldest countries in the world are Japan, Germany and Italy, and China has the most number of elder populations.

Table 1. Percentage of population 65 years or older

 

1996

1997

1998

1999

2000

2001

2002

2003

2004

2005

2006

2007

Taiwan

7.9

8.1

8.3

8.5

8.6

8.8

9.0

9.2

9.5

9.7

10.0

10.2

India

4.2

4.2

4.3

4.4

4.4

4.5

4.6

4.7

4.8

4.9

5.0

5.1

Singapore

6.4

6.5

6.6

6.7

6.8

7.0

7.4

7.7

8.0

8.2

8.5

8.5

Japan

15.1

15.7

16.2

16.7

17.4

18.0

18.5

19.0

19.5

20.2

20.8

21.5

China

6.3

6.4

6.6

6.8

6.9

7.1

7.2

7.4

7.5

7.6

7.7

7.9

S. Africa

4.2

4.3

4.3

4.3

4.4

4.6

4.7

4.8

4.9

5.0

5.1

5.2

USA

12.7

12.6

12.5

12.5

12.4

12.4

12.4

12.4

12.4

12.4

12.5

12.6

Brazil

4.8

4.9

5.0

5.2

5.3

5.4

5.5

5.6

5.8

5.9

6.0

6.1

Sweden

17.4

17.4

17.4

17.3

17.3

17.2

17.2

17.2

17.2

17.3

17.4

17.5

UK

15.7

15.7

15.7

15.6

15.6

15.8

16.1

16.0

16.0

16.0

16.0

16.0

Germany

15.6

15.7

15.9

16.1

16.4

16.9

17.3

18.0

18.6

19.3

19.8

20.1

France

15.1

15.3

15.5

15.7

15.8

15.9

16.0

16.1

16.2

16.2

16.2

16.4

Italy

16.9

17.2

17.5

17.7

18.0

18.7

19.0

19.2

19.5

19.7

19.9

20.0

Australia

12.2

12.2

12.3

12.4

12.4

12.5

12.6

12.7

12.8

13.1

13.0

13.2

A simplified market size estimation and financial projection of CDF are conducted on the 3 target markets, Taiwan, China, and the US. The revenue calculation is based on the annual service fee of the advanced version of CDF. Three scenarios, best case, base case, and worst case, are calculated.

(1)   65 and over population portion of Taiwan: Assumption is that 40% of the potential market will be realized, which is about 1,000,000 people. Assume 3 annual sales scenarios: best case 10%, base case 5%, worst case 2%. At unit price for CDF software at 199NT, projection of annual revenues are: best case 20,000,000NT, base case 10,000,000NT, worst case 4,000,000NT.

(2)   65 and over population portion of China: Assumption is only 10% of the potential market will be realized, which is about 11,000,000 people. Assume 3 annual sales scenarios: best case 10%, base case 5%, worst case 2%. At unit price for CDF software at 199NT, projection of annual revenues are: best case 220,000,000NT, base case 110,000,000NT, worst case 44,000,000NT.

(3)   65 and over population portion of US: Assumption is only 20% of the potential market will be realized, which is about 8,000,000 people. Assume 3 annual sales scenarios: best case 10%, base case 5%, worst case 2%. At unit price for CDF software at 199NT, projection of annual revenues are: best case 160,000,000NT, base case 80,000,000NT, worst case 32,000,000NT.

3.     Design and Development Plan

Based on several years of the technical development of the hardware and software DDS in the decentralized home telehealth system, GRC started CDF development project in March 2010 with a team of 4 engineering students. The development stages of CDF are shown in Figure 6. The simultaneous consideration of “human desirable, technology feasible, and business viable” [5] was emphasized. Important work of each development stage is described as follows.

Figure 6. Development stages of the CDF

3.1 Scenario development

The engineering team spent 2 months doing scenario development for CDF. An animation made in Flash was produced to illustrate the application scenario, and initial business concept of CDF was also discussed (Figure 7). The output from this stage is a document of conceptual description submitted to the first round of Long Term Smile Competition, and the technical definitions of the four core functions of CDF in Table 2.

功能總覽2 

Figure 7. Application scenario and initial business concept

Table 2. The definition of the four core functions of CDF

Category

Function

Description

A. Digital Photo Frame

A1. Display photos

Ÿ       Display the photos of the specific folder.

Ÿ       Support the JPG, BMP, PNG 640×480dpi format.

Ÿ       Use timer to set up the play time.

A2. Photos management remotely

Ÿ       Via the Internet, remote computer management software uploads pictures to the system’s memory card.

B. Tele-Homecare

B1. Blood Glucose/pressure device data access

Ÿ       Through the transmission line, system is connected with device and use the protocol provided by vendors to get the vital sign measurement data and stored in memory card.

B2. Data browsing and analysis

Ÿ       Display the health monitoring data on the screen and demonstrate its historical curve, regression line, etc.

B3. Data browsing and analysis remotely

Ÿ       Through the management software, authorized remote users can login to the system to browse data and analysis.

B4. Data exception warning

Ÿ       When the data exceed the normal range, system automatically sends the event alert messages by e-mail or mobile phone message service (need to pay the fees) to the contact person.

C. Caring Messages and Reminders

C1.Caring messages and reminders checking

Ÿ       Users are able to choose the type of event reminder and the time, including medication reminder, measurement reminder, and revisits reminder.

C2. Reminding sound

Ÿ       Sound of the reminder alert for user's attention.

C3. Leave messages and reminders remotely

Ÿ       Remote users can also login the system to set the event reminders and leave messages.

D. Entertainment

D1.Music playback

Ÿ       Enable playing music clips in the specific folder.

Ÿ       Audio format support for MP3 and other popular formats.

3.2 Interface design

Based on GRC’s past experience on the interface design of home telehealth system, the operation flow chart of CDF was first developed (Figure 8). An industrial design specialist in the engineering design team then started the interface design.

Figure 9 shows the interface of the CDF, which incorporates mostly large, graphical buttons. Designed as an information display channel, normally CDF works like a digital photo frame displaying photos and video clips managed by the remote children/caregivers. Message box pops up when there is a caring message or reminder. The button at the lower left corner provides a one-touch operation for importing data from vital sign measurement devices, which is the only occasion the senior user has to operate the CDF. The button at the lower right corner leads to the management pages of the 4 main functions (Figure 10) for proximal users/caregivers that have more computer skills.

“CDF-Romote” uses the same interface in Figure 10. Currently CDF has interfaces in 3 different languages, traditional Chinese, simplified Chinese, and English.

Figure 8. Flow chart of CDF operation

Figure 9. The interface of CDF

 

 

Figure 10. Management pages of the 4 main functions for CDF and CDF-Remote

3.3 Program Coding

Microsoft Visual Studio 2008 is chosen as the CDF development platform because it has rich user interface design tools. In order to facilitate system expansion and maintenance, all functions are written in modules. Currently 10 modules have been developed as described below. More modules can be easily added when desired.

(1)      Digital Photo Frame Module

Digital Photo Frame module play the photos in different kind of formats, and photos in different sizes will be transferred automatically into standard size. Table 3 lists detailed description of the functions in this module.

Table 3. Functions of the digital photo frame module

Function Name

Description

DigitalFrame_picseldir_Click

Select the folder

DigitalFrame_picnext_Click

Display the next picture

DigitalFrame_piclast_Click

Display the last picture

DigitalFrame_picplay_Click

Start play

DigitalFrame_picstop_Click

Stop play

DigitalFrame_playset_Click

Set the image loop speed

DigitalFrame_BtnControl

Button switch

DigitalFrame_Value()

Image play of different modules

(2)      Remote Connection Module (File Sending)

Remote connection module is in charge of file receiving and file transferring. Table 4 lists detailed description of the functions in this module.

Table 4. Functions of remote connection module

Function Name

Description

Frontpage_StartUdpReceive()

Open the connection and wait to receive file

SendFile_btnOpenFile_Click

Choose the folder (need to be sent)

SendFile_btnSendFile_Click

Send file

SendFile_btnend_Click

Leave

SendFile_BtnControl

Button switch

(3)      Multimedia Module

Multimedia Module enables playing music in different formats. Table 5 lists detailed description of the functions in this module.

Table 5. Functions of multimedia Module

Function Name

Description

music_text_musicset_Click

Select the folder

music_text_musicplay_Click

Start and pause

music_text_musicnext_Click_1

Play the next one

music_text_musiclast_Click_1

Play the last one

music_text_Value()

Music play of different modules

music_text_BtnControl

Button switch

(4)      Serial Port Communication Module

The vital sign meter use the serial port (COM Port) for communication (USB, RS232 or Bluetooth). The function of serial port communication module is to open or close the designated serial port. In addition, there is a function of automatically searching the serial port connecting with the vital sign meter. Table 6 lists detailed description of the functions in this module.

Table 6. Functions of serial port communication module

Function Name

Description

ComPort_Open

Open Serial port

ComPort_Close

Close Serial port

ComPort_Search

Search Serial port

(5)      Device Communication Module

Device communication module communicates with the vital sign meter through the serial port. CDF will be able to communicate with the meter if the communication protocol is stored before connecting to the device. Table 7 lists detailed description of the functions in this module.

Table 7. Functions of device communication module

Function Name

Description

Device_Read

Device reading procedure

Device_Get_Model

Read the type of device

Device_TimeUnitSetLoad

Read / set the time of device

Device_Correct_Time

Devise time correction

Device_Get_Date_Number

Read the number of data in device

Device_Get_Data

Read a certain data amount the device

Device_EEPROM_Erase_Enable

Start the mode of removing blood glucose meter data

Device_EEPROM_Erase_All

Remove data from the blood glucose meter

(6)      Data Access Module

The purpose of data access module is to execute the data storage, reading and checking. The content of the data include the personal vital signs, user information and the system information. Table 8 lists detailed description of the functions in this module.

Table 8. Functions of data access module

Function Name

Description

Data_Check_File

Check the file exists

Data_Check_Dir

Check folder exists

Data_Make_Dir

Create the folder

Data_GoIn_Dir

Into the folder

Data_Read_From_To

Read the blood glucose data in a certain period

Data_Read_last_True

Read blood glucose data (number of the data)

Data_Read_True_Data

Read blood glucose data

Data_Read

Read blood glucose data

Data_Save_BG

Blood glucose data storage

Data_Unit_Change

Glucose unit conversion

Data_Read_Configure_ini

Read the fixed data of system

Data_Read_User_init

Read user data

Data_Save_Configure_ini

Store the fixed data of system

Data_Save_User_init

Store user data

(7)      Print Module

Microsoft Visual Studio 2008 Printing Print Document is used to achieve the function of print module. Table 9 lists detailed description of the functions in this module.

Table 9. Functions of print module

Function Name

Description

Print_Report_View

Printing preview

Print_Document_Report_QueryPageSettings

Set the action before printing

Print_Document_Report_PrintPage

Set the printing content

(8)      Message Module

Message module deals with message functions which includes add, delete, reading, save the messages. Table 10 lists detailed description of the functions in this module.

Table 10. Functions of message module

Function Name

Description

Message_Data_Add

Add new message

Message_Data_Delete

Delete the message

Message_Data_Read

Read the message in system

Message_Data_Save

Save the message in system

Message_Data_Read_last_True

Read the latest message in system

(9)      Reminder Module

Reminder module enables adding, deleting, reading, storing the reminders. Messages and reminders are saved by month. Table 11 lists detailed description of the functions in this module.

Table 11. Functions of reminder module

Function Name

Description

Event_Data_List_Save

Events list storage

Event_Data_List_Read

Read the events list

Event_Data_List_Add

Add new event in the list

Event_Data_List_Delete

Delete the event in the list

Event_Data_Add

Create event

Event_Data_Delete

Delete event

Event_Data_Read

Read the events in system

Event_Data_Save

Save the events in system

(10)  Network Communications Module (Commands Sending)

Network communication module uses the http protocol to deal with the network communication. Table 12 lists detailed description of the functions in this module.

Table 12. Functions of the network communication module

Function Name

Description

Net_http_cmd_send

Network command sendinghttp Communications protocol

Net_http_Server

Network command receivinghttp Communications protocol

3.4 Current Development and Future Work

After passing the first round screen of Long Term Smile Competition, 2 international students from Kirgizstan in the MBA program of Yuan Ze University were recruited in June to form the business team and assist in drafting a formal business plan. In the process of preparing this business plan, all meetings, discussion, and documentations were conducted in English.

The engineering team is working on system integration and testing in July and August. As shown in the Gantt chart in Table 13, a 2-months field trial of CDF will be conducted, and CDF will be ready for distribution to the customers from the product website at the end of 2010.

Table 13. Gantt chart of future development of CDF

 

Jul-10

Aug-10

Sep-10

Oct-10

Nov-10

Dec-10

(1)   System integration and testing

 

 

 

 

 

(2)   Define the system efficiency indicators

 

 

 

 

 

 

(3)   Evaluation items and process design

 

 

 

 

 

 

(4)   Contact volunteers for the evaluation

 

 

 

 

 

 

(5)   Evaluation

 

 

 

 

 

 

(6)   Suggestions and data feedback

 

 

 

 

 

 

(7)   System modification

 

 

 

 

 

 

Acknowledgement

The CDF team wishes to express gratitude to Directors of Far EasTone Telecomm Jullian Wu, Steven Tsou, and Ivy Cheng, for their valuable and inspiring suggestions during the process of writing this business plan and the creation of CDF.

References

[1]       Office of Health and Information Highway, Health Canada, “International Activities in Tele-homecare: Background paper,” September 1998.

[2]       American Telemedicine Association, http://www.americantelemed.org.

[3]       Hsu, Y. L., Yang, C. C., Tsai, T. C., Cheng, C. M., Wu, C. H., “Development of a decentralized home telehealth monitoring system”, Telemedicine and e-Health, Vol. 13, No.1, pp. 69-78, February, 2007.

[4]       III-FIND, “Indicators on Household and Individual Internet Connection”, http://www.FIND.org.tw/, published April 15, 2010.

[5]       Tim Brown, “Design Thinking, Thoughts by Tim Brown,” http://designthinking.ideo.com/.