Tuesday, 24 February, 2009

E-health for blind guys

I wanted to have some more inputs about any kind of handicap be it mobility, blindness, handicapped or deafness to e-health. Some people may be surprised to find out that the blind and visually impaired are about as likely to be on the internet as a sighted person. It can seem like a daunting task to learn to use a computer system, but the fact is, there are plenty of easy ways for the visually impaired to get online.

A common method for computer access for the blind and visually impaired is a screen reader. There are many screen reader programs available; the most common is the JAWS screen reader. A screen reader takes the output from Microsoft Windows and converts it to speech. The screen reader will tell you that you are currently in the Internet Explorer browser, and it will read to you the contents of the web pages. With time, and practice, a blind or visually impaired user can become very proficient at using a computer system.
Screen Readers offer a great degree of flexibility; you have full control over your computer. However, the screen readers are often difficult and time consuming to learn. Each program generally has different button combinations to access different menus and systems. These button combinations must be memorized. There are, literally, hundreds of possible key combinations which provide a great deal of control, but can be very daunting to learn.

How It Works

For example, a visually impaired individual wants to find out what image is showing. The image shows a photo of Mount Fuji taken during sunset. Existing screen reading software may not obtain the same information as shown in the image, or a description of the photo is simply missing. Whenever visually impaired users face such difficulties, they can report that incident by using the collaboration tool developed by IBM Research and ask for adding an improved alternative text to describe the image.

The request then is automatically sent to a server hosting the Social Accessibility Project Website where visually impaired users and any Internet users who wish to take part in help improving Web accessibility will register themselves to use the collaboration tool. Internet users who are registered to the Social Accessibility Project can see this request on the project Website, and may decide to respond to this request by using the collaboration tool by clicking "start fixing it" button, and type a short description, such as "Photo caption: Mount Fuji during a gorgeous sunset." The short description will automatically be transformed to an external metadata. The next time any visually impaired person tries to revisit the Web page showing the photo image, screen reading software will read the alternative text from the metadata to give better explanation of what the photo shows.

Metadata consists of useful information such as description of the content and the physical location of the particular content. By having external metadata to reside at the Web server, Web content will remain unchanged while making the Web more accessible.

To further enhance the usability of Web content, the Social Accessibility Project Website offers an incentive mechanism where screen reading software users can rate the quality of external metadata provided by Internet users along with a comment to show their appreciation. Also, active users are listed at the project's top page to recognize their active participation on the project.

In addition, screen reading software users can place a landmark whenever they find an important position on a Web page, and other users can benefit from those landmarks to help reach important information easier and faster.

One such good initiative is taken in Bhutan ..Read this link below:

Another method for computer access is to use an assistive technology device that simplifies the Windows operating system down to a few common workflows. There are a few devices on the market which do this. The SpeakEasy Media System is one such device. It is a system that comes with hardware and a preconfigured e-mail address. The system provides simple, menu driven access to e-mail, typed documents, news articles, podcast audio shows, encyclopedia entries, dictionary entries, and more. The SpeakEasy does not provide as much control over the system as a screen reader, however it is an excellent option for easy access to the most common functions that the blind and visually impaired will use.

Lastly, there are also machines specifically designed for reading typed documents. These reading machines will take a typed document and convert it into speech. They do not provide any access to the internet, nor do they support any function beyond simply reading a document. However, they are very simple to operate. There are a number of standalone reading machines on the market, one such machine is the Simon reading machine.

The options discussed provide a good cross section of the available access methods to computers for the blind and visually impaired. Screen Readers provide the most functionality, but are also the most difficult to use. Reading machines are simple to use, but lack most functionality. The media system provides most functionality of a screen reader, and also provides an ease of use experience similar to a reading machine.

But the question that still persists is how a blind person can read a patient information leaflet. Same explanation is given below:

So suggest me some more ideas for the possible outcomes like:


• Improved health condition of the visually challenged people participating in the pilot project as direct beneficiaries.

• Development of critical awareness and understanding on issues of e- Health for visually challenged people among health professionals, policy makers, development agencies and the blind population at large.

• Financial and social sustainability of the pilots launched as part of the research.

• Adoption of visually impaired people friendly e-health amenable solutions within the national health system.

Monday, 9 February, 2009

Scommerce and How much it matters in Healthcare

First of all I would like to thank all of you for this overwhelming response..

So lets take our discussion further, Yesterday I was talking to a few people on the possible alliances between scommerce and health as for them all this was new.

Lets first of all have a look at stats:

10% of Retail shopping including health and cosmetic products happens online, out of which the conversion of the best websites is almost 4%.(that too not in first 3 yrs.) I firmly believe in this survey which happened among approximately 2,000 online shoppers, that a majority (53 percent) went directly to retailer and manufacturer sites to research and purchase products, rather than using shopping comparison sites or social and/or community networking sites.

So 100 - 53= 47% left.

Of this 47% around 35% wanted to be physically present in the store while they buy and were certainly not online shoppers.

While social and community sites and content offer some value, they are only driving a small portion of online shoppers (12 percent) to buy more than planned."

So are we fighting for this 12%?

The answer is NO.

Reason 1: Despite their negligible impact on sales, social and community networking sites do play a role in how consumers perceive a company's brand, products and/or services. = A brick model to support this would work wonders.The big opportunity in the social arena is really in branding and advertising and awareness building= after this effort Sales happen through the pull model only.

Reason 2: Believe it or not, Scommerce is SEO as well. Scommerce is also used as a way to build inbound links and generate user content, all of which are tools to improve a website's search results on a given search engine such as Google.

However, social and community networking sites play a pretty minor role in driving online sales, it is equally true that Google still played a relatively major role, especially when compared to shopping comparison sites, social and community networking sites and third-party blogs.
Indeed, Google now drives 15 percent of traffic to retailers' Web sites, compared to just 3 percent for shopping comparison sites.= So the model should revolve around this approach.

Will come up with more.

Saturday, 7 February, 2009

Scommerce and Health

sCommerce has been called the new Web 2.0 buzzword by web
The Difference between eCommerce and sCommerce in that
eCommerce is electronic commerce whereby people individually
buy stuff online while sCommerce is Social Commerce whereby
individuals buy stuff online with millions of people helping
them.www.suvidhaa.com is one such initiative.
If you ask me there was a long standing need for thsi as far
as healthcare online shopping was concerned.

Where ecommerce is the art of customer acquisition, Scommerce will be for
customer satisfaction.

Although this is a very new and a very good idea, it will require legislation
and controls.Shopping online is a user convenience module which has to be made
more standardised and user friendly, For health related products specific guidance
is necessary before one takes the leap.

Scommerce will be the ray of hope in here.

Scommerce will benefit anyone who:-
  • seeks to benefit from the combined knowledge of more than one doctor /
    health professional
  • 'feels' there are things wrong but can't identify the nature or cause of
  • would like to prepare questions for their doctor in advance of a visit
  • seeks advice on which supplements to buy at a health food store
  • is deciding whether or not to see a doctor and wants an online Internet
    diagnosis with treatment recommendation
  • is not easily able to visit a natural, alternative, wholistic (holistic),
    naturopathic doctor
  • would like a second opinion.
How can scommerce be modified and placed in the healthcare scenerio?

A Doctor
Has the combined knowledge of many doctors and researchers Has the knowledge of one doctor
Has no time limit Has a few minutes per patient
Does not suffer from forgetfulness or imprecise recall Is human
Operates at the same high standards every day Has good days and bad days
Offers complete anonymity (if desired) Knows exactly who you are
Is available 24x7x365 from where you are now Is available by appointment only
Shows you the full reasoning behind its findings Tells you "Trust me, I'm a doctor"
Looks at your health from many perspectives Tends to think within his or her specialty
Provides you with a comprehensive, prioritized report Keeps a few notes that you generally can not see
Has no interest in selling you treatments May profit from the sale of treatments
Views your system as a highly interconnected whole Deals with obvious symptoms and with what you say is wrong
Highlights risk factors and discusses your overall 'system status' Is generally unaware of this information
Presents the latest research, organized and cross-referenced Will answer specific questions according to recollection, if time permits
Views each case objectively May be biased by preconceptions, stereotyping, emotions or personal interests
I will leave you all to digest this much, will come up with more..keep filling in!

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