ATK launches remote autopsy project to speed up procedures

July 09, 2012, Monday/ 12:42:00/ ÇAĞLAR AVCI

Turkey's Council of Forensic Medicine (ATK), which will be celebrating the 100th anniversary of its founding next year, has announced a new project in which autopsies can be conducted interactively with specialists from different locations at one time through the use of modern technologies, cutting back on travel time for parties to judicial proceedings.

The ATK is responsible for conducting forensic medical examinations and filing reports for courts. Currently, most of the ATK's work is carried out at its headquarters in İstanbul, and individuals who need ATK reports in judicial proceedings often have to travel to İstanbul.

Under this new project, specialized boards will be established in İstanbul, and these boards will employ video conferencing via the Internet to examine bodies in ATK-affiliated centers around the country, eradicating the need to travel to ATK headquarters in İstanbul or an ATK branch in another city.

The first phase of the project is already being implemented, and a few such interactive autopsies have been conducted with the participation of specialists from various locations. Over the next few months the project will be extended to eight ATK branches in 45 provinces.

Experts say that in addition to eliminating the need to travel to İstanbul, the new system will also lighten the council's burden, which on average examines 110,000 cases and 2 million people annually.

To this end, special imaging systems and rooms designed for interactive real-time autopsies have been set up in various ATK-affiliated centers. By traveling to one of these centers, specialists will be able to interact with ATK board members in İstanbul. All the rooms are set up with high definition (1920x1080 pixels) audiovisual systems, with video images being transferred at a rate of 60 images per second. Findings from a particular examination conducted at one location can be sent to the ATK's servers as well as to the relevant court through Turkey's online judicial database, the National Judicial Network Communications System (UYAP).

The new system will enable a large number of experts from various locations to review or examine an autopsy being conducted at another location, minimizing the risk of error. All autopsy centers have been equipped with wide-angle cameras as well as enhanced imaging capabilities that can zoom in on details. ATK employees will soon undergo training on the use of these systems. The system will also be used in providing distance training courses for ATK employees as well as for foreign students of forensic medicine abroad.

The project is being undertaken by YD Yazılım, a software and R&D company based in Middle East Technical University's (METU) Teknokent, an area that is home to a large number of high-tech and innovative businesses.

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