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Andrea Falco illustrated the EUMEDA Telemedicine Platform at the 23rd Infopoverty World Conference

The creation of a comprehensive database for telemedicine programs is an essential endeavor that can significantly transform healthcare delivery by prioritizing reliability, efficiency, and cost-effectiveness.


Such a database serves as the backbone for telemedicine initiatives, ensuring that healthcare providers can access accurate and up-to-date information swiftly and seamlessly. This is particularly important in telemedicine, where timely and accurate data can make a critical difference in patient outcomes.


One of the key features of such a database is a modular structure, which offers the flexibility needed to adapt to various medical fields and specialties, making it easier to customize and scale according to specific healthcare needs. This flexibility is crucial for accommodating the diverse requirements of different medical disciplines, from general practice to specialized fields such as cardiology, oncology, and neurology.


During his intervention, ANDREA FALCO PEng, from Alfa Design Studio, illustrated how EUMEDA Platform for telemedicine was designed and implemented.


READ THE FULL STATEMENT


“Good afternoon to everyone. First of all I would like to thank all those who made this event possible and Professor Azzolini who invited me to speak.
How to build a reliable, efficient, and economical database for telemedicine programs? 
The system must be based on on these fundamental cornerstones: access, ease of use, speed in executing data queries, security data storage, maximum flexibility, and maybe most importantly maximum cost reduction. To ensure greater views, we decided to create a web-based platform, accessible everywhere, where an Internet connection is available. It does not require the installation of any additional software, which would necessarily make it more complicated and more expensive to access.The diffusion of a web global network makes us understand that the platform is virtually reachable all over the world. 
How is a web-based system built? 
There are 3 key elements: the first is a database, the engine of the machine, the one in which the data is stored and managed; the second is the server-side language, the one that immediately translates the data inserted in the database and transmits them to the web-pages, where anyone can see, which is the third key point. There are a lot of languages we can use, but we opted for a MySQL / PHP combination on Linux server, because it’s the most widespread combination in Europe, for efficiency, and minimal impact of cost, as they are all open-source languages, so there is no need to pay any kind of bill.
What makes a database more efficient?
We can imagine a database as a giant beehive, where each cell corresponds to a data table. The maximum partialization of the data entries allows each query to find the answer, by analyzing the smallest possible number of data, without having to execute queries among a huge amount of data. Correct planning in database construction is essential for the success of the project. 
Is this enough? No. For a system to be performant, the code that deals with interactions with the database must be optimized.
When we make a query to a database, 3 things happen. The interface, which is basically a pure graphic code, and which does not in itself have the ability to communicate with the database, calls the translator code, therefore PHP, which sends the request to the database. Once the answer is found, the opposite happens. If the code is not correctly optimized, latencies are inevitably generated, and therefore delays and inefficiencies in responses.
In our platform, a further improvement was implemented by the latest development of PHP, interaction with another code language that supports it. In practical terms, every time a database call is made before the question-answer cycle needs to be completed, now, similarly to what happens for streaming platforms such as Netflix where the transmission begins as soon as it has been reached the indispensable minimum of bytes and the download continues in the background, the platform acts in the same way. This leads to a considerable speeding up of processes, especially in the case of multiple requests.
How was this platform built? 
To meet one of the primary needs, that of flexibility, the platform is managed in the nucleus, that fits together and interacts with the mother structure, the core of the system, like more or less the LEGO bricks. The nucleus coordinates everything: it checks access, credentials, permission level, interests, users, and modules to which they have access rights, that remain independent from each other. Therefore, this structure of individual modules guarantees additional flexibility and extreme efficiency, because requests to the database are partitioned only to the tables relating to the module.
The construction through an independent module therefore allows it to be possible to create folders for the exchange of data for each field of medicine, I imagine especially in the context of research, of data collection in case of pandemic and epidemic disease.  This makes access to this data possible for healthcare workers wherever they work, in whatever situation they find themselves, the opportunity to ask for a second opinion or exchange of videos, all this is a fundamental step towards guaranteeing the rights to health for all citizens of the world. As a pure engineer without any knowledge of medicine, I’m grateful to work on projects that I consider so important, due to its characteristics, and that can bring real benefits to the lives of billions of people. 
It was an honor to speak in front of such an important assembly.
Thank you all.”

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The FINAL DECLARATION of the 23rd Infopoverty World Conference is now available! The Plan of Action including a list of projects and proposals that emerged from the discussion will be available soon. STAY TUNED!

 


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