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Fact Sheet
Telemedicine Related Programs

 

Background

Telemedicine uses a range of technologies including standard telephone service and high-speed, wide-bandwidth transmission of digitized signals in conjunction with computers, fiber optics, satellites, and other sophisticated peripheral equipment and software. The National Library of Medicine (NLM) provides information about telemedicine and supports research and development of telecommunications technology and applications to enable providers to diagnose, provide information, and deliver health services when they are not available for on-site service delivery.

NLM and its employees are active participants in the telemedicine arena. NLM is an Institutional Member of the American Telemedicine Association and a Contributing Member of the Continua Health Alliance.

Telemedicine Information

NLM collects and indexes literature related to telemedicine through its MEDLINE® and Health Services/Technology Assessment Research HealthSTAR databases. Health Services Research Projects in Progress database (HSRProj), (http://www.nlm.nih.gov/pubs/factsheets/hsrproj.html) provides information on grants and contracts awarded by major public and private funding agencies in the area of health services research. HSTAT (Health Services/Technology Assessment Texts) (http://hstat.nlm.nih.gov) contains some full-text documents on telemedicine and telehealth.

In 1996 an NLM supported study of telemedicine evaluation methodology was completed by the Institute of Medicine, National Academy of Sciences.  The report is published by the National Academy of Sciences Press as “Telemedicine: a Guide to Assessing Telecommunications in Health Care” and is available free online at (http://books.nap.edu/books/0309055318/html/index.html) or for purchase in book form at (http://books.nap.edu/catalog/5296.html).

In 1997 an NLM supported study of patient privacy and data security issues was completed by the Institute of Medicine, National Academy of Sciences.  The report contains policy recommendations for the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA) and is published by the National Academy of Sciences Press as “For the Record:  Protecting Electronic Health Information”.  The report is available free online at (http://www.nap.edu/books/0309056977/html/index.html) or for purchase in book form at (http://books.nap.edu/catalog/5595.html).

In 2001, the Office of High Performance Computing and Communications (OHPCC), LHNCBC, NLM, sponsored a two day conference at the National Institutes of Health's William H. Natcher Conference Center in Bethesda, MD highlighting telemedicine research funded by NLM from 1994 to 2000. The symposium proceedings, along with available final reports and other supporting information is available at (http://collab.nlm.nih.gov/tutorialspublicationsandmaterials/telesymposiumcd/starthere.html).

Research Projects

The Collaboratory of the OHPCC explores advanced computer and network technologies as a means for assisting health science institutions with distance learning, wireless technology and virtual reality research. There is further information available at (http://collab.nlm.nih.gov/).

In 1994, NLM awarded research contracts in High Performance Computing and Communications designed to improve healthcare by utilizing the advanced computing and networking capabilities of the Internet.  Many of these research projects involved telemedicine and telehealth and are described at(http://www.nlm.nih.gov/archive/20041229/research/telemedhpcc.html).

In 1996, NLM awarded research contracts for telemedicine projects to serve as models for; evaluating the impact of telemedicine on cost, quality, and access to health care; assessing various approaches to ensuring the confidentiality of health data transmitted via electronic networks; and testing emerging health data standards.  Several additional awards have been made under this program. Information on these projects is available at (http://www.nlm.nih.gov/research/telemedinit.html).

In 1998, NLM announced a multi-phase Next Generation Internet (NGI) research program to develop innovative medical projects that demonstrate the use of the capabilities of the NGI.   Many of these projects have applications to telemedicine and telehealth.  Information about the phase 1 projects is available at (http://www.nlm.nih.gov/research/ngisumphase1.html) and the phase 2 projects at (http://www.nlm.nih.gov/research/ngisumphase2.html).

In 2003, NLM awarded research project contracts demonstrating the application of scalable, network aware, wireless, geographic information system (GIS) and identification technologies to a networked health related environment.  These Scaleable Information Infrastructure projects are described at (http://www.nlm.nih.gov/research/siiawards.html).  Many of these projects have applications to telemedicine and teleheath.

A complete list of NLM Fact Sheets is available at:
(alphabetical list): http://www.nlm.nih.gov/pubs/factsheets/factsheets.html
(subject list): http://www.nlm.nih.gov/pubs/factsheets/factsubj.html

Or write to:

FACT SHEETS
Office of Communications and Public Liaison
National Library of Medicine
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Phone: (301) 496-6308
FAX:(301) 496-4450
Email: publicinfo@nlm.nih.gov

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