eConsult Live24 video conferencing service brings Internet-based telemedicine to patients in California and Nevada

Los Angeles 15 August 2001eCureMe.com, a new consumer health care Web site, has launched the eConsult Live24 service, a 24-hour video conferencing telemedicine centre which offers consumers the ability to have real time consultations with their physicians via the Internet, anytime and anywhere. The eConsult Live24 telemedicine service also makes it possible for consumers in California and Nevada to consult with one of eCureMe's multi-specialised, board-certified, health care professionals in real time via the Internet, 24 hours a day, seven days a week.

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eCureMe.com launched its new service in California and Nevada with a live demonstration of an actual medical consultation between a patient in Central California and the family physician, in co-operation with Verizon Online, a Verizon Communications company, and provider of wireless and wireline communications. Using proprietary software, computer hardware, and affordable video cameras streaming video over Digital Subscriber Lines (DSL), high-speed Internet cable lines or high-speed Internet satellite services such as Direct PC, eCureMe.com is on the cutting edge of the information revolution facilitating medical treatment for patients in distant places, with limited access to doctors and few resources.

In addition, consumers now have access to comprehensive health care information, health self-assessment tools, on-line shopping and access to breaking news developments in medicine and health care, all from one easy-to-use Internet destination. "We built the eCureMe Web site with the intention of improving the overall quality of health care", stated Dr. Yong T. Lee, founder and chief executive officer of eCureMe.com, and chairman and chief physician of three outpatient clinics located in Los Angeles. "Most consumers want clear and simple health care information and services. They also want immediate and timely access to their primary medical care provider."

eCureMe.com launched its new eConsult Live24 telemedicine video conferencing service by linking a Lompoc family to their child's paediatrician via computers, software, and video cameras donated by eCureMe and DSL service provided by Verizon Online. "The live video consultation between the Denton family in Lompoc, California, and their physician, Dr. Cindy Blifeld, M.D., was an outstanding example of how technology can be used to improve the way we deliver health care to people who may otherwise find it difficult to visit their doctor every time they have a medical question", explained Dr. Lee.

Forrest, the Dentons' adopted child, was born prematurely and required extended hospitalisation after he was born. Today, he lives with permanent brain damage which has resulted in speech, language and motor skills problems. His biological mother had to give him up for adoption at birth since she herself was developmentally limited, and there was no one else in the family who could care for him. The Dentons are themselves disabled and they live a modest lifestyle.

Dr. Blifeld is one of the few paediatricians who practises medicine in Lompoc. She has made a career out of helping children with special needs. "With children like Forrest, who has behavioural and chronic developmental problems, it is more useful and informative to see him in his home environment", explained Dr. Blifeld. "By using eCureMe's video conferencing telemedicine programme, I can now chat with the Dentons while viewing Forrest's image on my computer. This saves time, and it ultimately makes it possible for me to see more patients."

The programme is designed to work with inexpensive video cameras at a cost of less than $50 per unit. Using eCureMe's software, the patient's computer screen simultaneously displays two video boxes, the first with an image of the doctor, the second of the patient. Below is a "chat box" where the doctor and patient communicate while viewing each other. On the doctor's computer, in addition to an identically formatted screen, he or she has instant access to the patient's medical charts.

eCureMe has made sure that the patient information storage programmes comply explicitly with the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act of 1996 (HIPAA), the stringent regulations for safety and patient confidentiality. eConsult Live24 works well for executives and working professionals alike, affording them a five-minute medical consultation, instead of having to spend needless hours in the doctor's office waiting for an appointment. eCureMe.com is the newest innovation in total health care on the Internet, which combines cutting-edge graphic design, state-of-the-art technology, computer medical diagnosis and immediate, live video conferencing with teams of multi-specialised physicians.

The Web site's entertaining, informative, user-friendly interactive features include 3D customised visual anatomy, step-by-step symptoms-to-diagnosis games, easy-to-understand medical information, 24-hour on-call physician and private physician consultation, and in-house answering services, all of which enable users to get easy and fast access to the best Internet medical and health care services available anywhere in the world today.


Leslie Versweyveld

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