TeleHealth's TigrNet brings Internet access to hospital patients

Raleigh 16 September 2003TeleHealth Services, an integrator of hospital television systems and applications in the United States, launched TigrNet, a new system enabling hospital patients to access the Internet, send and receive e-mail, select from enhanced entertainment programme options, order meals and provide real-time feedback via their bedside TV set.

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TigrNet marks a significant advancement in interactive TV (iTV), because it leverages the hospital's existing TV platform to provide an array of computer-based programmes employing Microsoft's Windows CE .NET operating system. For patients, TigrNet is "user friendly", allowing them to surf the Web or access health care services using Internet Explorer, the most popular Web browser. For hospital staff, TigrNet's use of the Windows CE .NET operating system allows connectivity with other Microsoft-based technology in the hospital.

By placing their own Web portal on the TigrNet Internet home page, hospitals can become the trusted source of health information for their community and patients. TigrNet also enables bedside access to hospitals' housekeeping, dietary management and discharge systems. It can aid hospitals in meeting stringent JCAHO accreditation requirements by making the hospital's educational materials available to staff on-demand. It can also aid in administering exams and capturing results in a database for easy retrieval or for documentation in the employee's file.

"Before TigrNet, hospital patients had to bring their own laptops and plug them into phone jacks if they wanted to use the Internet. Today's health care executives are trying to empower patients to take more control over their health care, and providing a communication tool that connects the hospital portal to the patient is one way they are getting that vital information into the hands of the patients and their families. In addition, hospitals are on the fast track to improving patient satisfaction, and providing home-like amenities is one way to accomplish that objective", stated Dan Nathan, Vice President and General Manager, TeleHealth Services. "User interface devices and graphics are intuitive and were designed with the patient in mind."

"TigrNet provides health care facilities with a wide range of multimedia capabilities", stated Olivier Fontana, product manager of the Embedded Devices Group at Microsoft Corporation. "The full-featured Windows CE .NET operating system in conjunction with Windows Server technology provides an ideal platform for hospitals to connect patients and staff with Internet access, cable TV programming, hospital food services, patient education programmes and real-time customer feedback."

Because of its advanced features and consistency with the objectives of today's hospitals, TeleHealth expects its system to be widely adopted. Initial prospects for TigrNet will include some of the 2400 hospitals that TeleHealth serves today. On an annual basis, TeleHealth delivers more than 30.000 hospital-grade televisions to the health care market. TeleHealth Services is the health care division of Telerent Leasing Corporation, founded in Raleigh, North Carolina in 1957. Telerent is a subsidiary of Itochu International Inc., based out of New York.


Leslie Versweyveld

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