ISO/TS 16058:2004 addresses the technical and system components of the telehealth reference architecture for telelearning systems. It does so by defining technical requirements to be satisfied for a compliant telelearning system. A compliant system will help to ensure that the telelearning technologies deployed for healthcare telelearning are capable of appropriately supporting and delivering distance learning as well as interoperating with disparate telelearning systems that are also compliant with this specification.
The specification deals with both the telelearning instructor and learner systems, and addresses the interfaces of these systems with telecommunications networks.
The specification also focuses on the use of real-time interactive communication in telelearning sessions. Most of the telelearning lecture and study material is delivered and distributed to all the learners prior to a telelearning session. This material is usually delivered in non-real time using the store-and-forward communications mode such as FTP download, email, fax or postal/courier services. The use of store-and-forward communications to deliver learning material is not addressed in the specification.
It is recognized that a telecommunications network is integral to and critical in the delivery of telelearning services. In order for the telelearning systems to interoperate, the network needs to provide certain services. However, the network service requirement is diverse and complex and it is beyond the scope of this specification. Network-related issues in the context of telehealth are discussed in ISO/TR 16056-2, Health informatics -- Interoperability of telehealth systems and networks -- Part 2: Real-time systems.