Cyber-Care's Electronic HouseCall System tested in transglobal medical data transfer over Internet2

Boynton Beach 04 June 2001Cyber-Care Inc.'s Electronic HouseCall System has successfully transmitted simultaneous voice, video, and medical data on the Internet2, known as the Next Generation Internet, in a transglobal telehealth project. The link was initially made between the Georgia Institute of Technology in Atlanta and Taipei Medical University in Taiwan, and was then connected over a gateway to the Medical College of Georgia in Augusta. In addition to the live video link, the system transmitted medical data, including patient heart and lung sounds, using CyberCare's electronic stethoscope.

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"This is a very important milestone for Cyber-Care and the telehealth industry. Our telehealth programmes in the United States, Asia, and Europe have shown that there are significant opportunities to improve health care worldwide through the use of a routed network architecture. The world is shrinking at an incredible rate, and the Internet is helping to make that happen. Internet2 brings a whole new level of quality and practicality. Applications include the sharing of medical expertise as well as enabling the employees of international companies to stay in contact with their primary medical care provider in their home country. Internet2 also will bring major improvements to telehealth within a country", stated Daniel W. Bivins Jr., director of international affairs for CyberCare International.

Under a research programme supported by Cyber-Care, the Georgia Institute of Technology is conducting ongoing research to enhance the Electronic HouseCall (EHC) family of products and to support the planned migration of the CyberCare System to advanced networks, including Internet2 when it becomes commercially available. Under a separate co-operative agreement announced earlier this year with Taipei Medical University, the company has initiated a project in Asia.

Internet2 is expected to advance technology in the areas of data security and reliable bandwidth which are needed for high quality video connections when commercially available. During this development stage, Internet2 is utilised exclusively for research purposes among selected institutions. "With both those institutions now involved in the ongoing research for Internet2, the CyberCare System was a natural platform for combining the two projects for this event", explained Mr. Bivins.

John Peifer, director of the Biomedical Interactive Technology Center at the Georgia Tech commented: "The video quality is comparable to the video quality we see with EHC connections over a local network. This may seem surprising considering the great distance between Atlanta and Taiwan, but the network delays due to the distance are no greater than inherent delays in the video-conferencing software. This demonstrates the real possibility of an international telemedicine network over a high performance Internet. Today, the Internet2 is not available for general public use, but an increasing demand for high performance networks in health care is likely to accelerate the development of more advanced Internet capabilities."

Max Stachura, M.D., the director of the Telemedicine Center at the Medical College of Georgia and Georgia Research Alliance Scholar in Telemedine said: "What telehealth is all about is the networking of resources with those who require use of those resources in order to enhance the delivery and receipt of health care services. Telehealth does not replace traditional face-to-face health care. It is an enabling tool that makes it increasingly possible to link provider and recipient so that required services are available where and when they are needed. This connection dramatically underscores the rapidity with which this potential is being developed and realised."

Yu-Chuan Li, M.D., Ph.D., the director of the Graduate Institute of Medical Informatics, Taipei Medical University stated: "Our institute has been studying the practical use of Internet2 in medicine for several years. The successful transmission of voice and bio-signal as well as the convincing video images of medical consultation over the Internet2 infrastructure across tens of thousands of miles is the result of an international joint effort. This seemingly simple task requires experts in networking, video-conferencing, bio-signal, and medical informatics to work together as a team in years of research."

A few days before the Internet2 experiment, the network-based telehealth solutions company Cyber-Care released its Electronic HouseCall System 100i Patient Care Station, the newest addition to the EHC family of products connecting patients and caregivers via a standard phone line. Specifically, the EHC 100i can monitor a patient's blood pressure, blood sugar level, and body weight through plug-in peripheral medical devices. It allows patients to monitor and measure such vital signs around the clock and automatically transmits the readings over the secure CyberCare 24 Network, where they are stored for review by an authorised caregiver.

The EHC 100i is connected through the same common network shared by Cyber-Care's other monitoring products. Such other products include low and high bandwidth video units with multiple vital sign devices that transmit readings simultaneously during a video interaction. The entire family of EHC products allows for effective and efficient data collection, case management, and personal connectivity. More news on Cyber-Care's EHC system is to be found in the VMW June 2001 article Cyber-Care and BellSouth partner in tele-health screening sessions for senior golf players.


Leslie Versweyveld

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