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NLM National Telemedicine Initiative

This Web page presents information about NLM's National Telemedicine Initiative, which was funded in FY 1996 and FY 1997.

Telemedicine is the use of computers, the Internet, and other communication technologies to provide medical care information to patients at a distance.


In October 1996, NLM announced the award of 19 multi-year telemedicine research contracts 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
  • Testing emerging health data standards

The projects developed and evaluated the use of telemedicine in a wide variety of settings including rural, inner-city, and suburban areas. Two additional projects were announced in September 1997. Project summaries.

As appropriate, the projects were to review and apply recommendations from two National Academy of Sciences studies on criteria for evaluation of telemedicine and practices to ensure confidentiality of electronic health data. NLM was the principal funder of these studies, which were:

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