As the COVID-19 pandemic has disturbed the process of medical education in a severe manner, the services of medVC.eu, which allow teaching medical students remotely, are in high demand. The medFLAME+ experiment aimed to test various aspects of QoS and QoE of a new a feature of our product – synchronous live playout of recorded surgical sessions during a live lecture.
The original plan was to perform trials in Barcelona with medical students and a professor from the Sant Pau hospital, with which we collaborate regularly. Unfortunately, the pandemic situation did not allow that. The hospital could not participate in the experiment, due to the fact it was operating in “pandemic” mode. Furthermore, the experimenters were not able to travel to Barcelona in order to execute the trial.
Such a situation was foreseen in the experiment planning stage, so the experiment was conducted using the mitigation measures that were planned to minimise the adverse impact of such a turn of events. The remote lecturer was simulated from Poznań by our employee, and the trial was substituted by on-site testing performed with the help of infrastructure staff, complemented by extensive remote testing meant to simulate in-person testing to some degree and utilizing methods for remote measurement of QoS and QoE.
The on-site testing part of the plan involved 4 persons from the Barcelona infrastructure staff. The test persons executed a few predefined scenarios, including walking along an agreed route or standing in one place to represent a break in a cafe. Afterwards, each test person would evaluate the service by fulfilling a questionnaire on their quality of experience.
The on-site testing part of the experiment was performed in September 2020, and it turned out that, alongside the remote part, all of the originally envisioned results were successfully gathered. The evaluation of those results indicates that, while one could take part in the lecture while sitting in a cafe, it is impossible to do so while walking. Therefore, there is still some effort required on our side to make the system robust enough to work in mobile scenarios in an acceptable way.
The insights gathered thanks to FLAME will allow us to plan the steps necessary to further develop this functionality.