Software Process Capability/Maturity Model for Asynchronous Store-and-Forward Telemedicine Systems (ASFTSs)

Telemedicine refers to the use of information and telecommunication technologies to distribute information or expertise necessary for providing or delivering healthcare services among geographically separated participants, including physicians and patients. It allows the creation of virtual service networks, which have to potential to solve diverse problems in modern health care; e.g., increase the quality, accessibility and utilization effectiveness/efficiency, and to lower costs. This contributes to eliminate distance barriers and can improve access to medical services that would often not be consistently available in distant rural communities, reducing costs and improving the quality of care.

An important modality of telemedicine is asynchronous store-and-forward telemedicine that allows the remote diagnosis by medical professionals in asynchronous sessions (store and forward) where data is gathered remotely (such as in teleradiology) and sent to a remote specialist for later analysis and interpretation. Results are made available for the patient or the referring physician. Such asynchronous telemedicine is established in several medical disciplines, such as teleradiology, telecardiology, teledermatology, among others.

Advances in technology and changes in medical care delivery have enhanced the ability of telemedicine to fulfill its purpose, but, their application in practice also made clear the need for effective high quality software systems as their correct operation is critical taking into consideration the involved risks with respect to human safety in order to prevent medical errors.

Yet, the key questions are:

“What are important product qualities of ASFTSs so that we can depend on them to improve health care services yet not endanger the lives of the patients?”

“How do we have to develop and maintain ASFTSs to achieve these levels of quality?”

Software Product Quality Model for ASFTSs (SPQ-ASFTSs)

SPQ-ASFTSs a software quality model for asynchronous store-and-forward telemedicine systems . The quality model provides an organized set of characteristics (attributes) forming a foundation for specifying telemedicine quality requirements and evaluating the quality of such systems. Furthermore, such a model provides a basis for systematically derive from product qualities requirements for the software process used for the development of such products, representing a first step in the customization of software process capability/maturity models for ASFTSs.

Software Process Capability/Maturity Model for ASFTSs (SPCMM-ASFTSs)

SPCMM-ASFTSs is a first proposal for a software process capability/maturity model for the development and maintenance of asynchronous store-and-forward telemedicine systems. It is based on ISO/IEC 15504, using as a basis for the reference model the standard ISO/IEC 12207. Based on the defined product quality model (SPQ-ASFTSs), ISO/IEC 12207 is enhanced by adding processes principally related to security, usability and product line management.

The work has been realized in cooperation with the Dundalk Institute of Technology/Irland, CTI – Centro de Tecnologia da Informação Renato Archer/Brazil and the LQPS – UNIVALI/Brazil.

This work is supported by the CNPq (Conselho Nacional de Desenvolvimento Científico e Tecnológico –, an entity of the Brazilian government focused on scientific and technological development.