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Press Release 93-78
Linda S. Ellis
(Bus: 216/433-2900)

NASA Lewis is Gateway Facility for Telemedicine Spacebridge to Moscow

Cleveland, OH -- An experimental two-way interactive videoconference link between U.S. and Russian Republic medical institutions becomes operational this month.

The Telemedicine Spacebridge Demonstration Project allows visual and voice interaction between medical specialists in both countries.

"We will be dealing with such issues as disaster medicine, routine patient consultation, medical evaluation, space medicine and other telemedicine applications such as telepathology and teleradiology," according to John Zuzek, Lewis project manager.

The next demonstration is slated for this Friday, November 19, and will focus on esophageal and gastrointestinal surgery.

Two earth stations located at NASA's Lewis Research Center provide the communication necessary for the project. One station is a domestic Ku-band terminal for use with the GTE Spacenet GStar II satellite and the other, a Russian earth station for use with the Russian Western Space Data Relay Network satellite.

Spacebridge to Moscow is a cooperative demonstration program between Russia and the United States to develop the use of telemedicine technologies and procedures. The initial program sessions began in September and are scheduled biweekly over the next eight months.

The biweekly sessions are planned between clinical consultants at the Moscow Clinical Hospital and four clinical sites in the United States. The U.S. sites are the Uniformed Services University of Health Sciences, Bethesda, Md.; Fairfax Hospital, Falls Church, Va.; University of Texas Health Science Center, Houston; and LDS Hospital, University of Utah, Salt Lake City.

The current telemedicine demonstration project is being conducted under the auspices of the 1992 Civil Space Agreement. While the telemedicine effort will assist NASA and the Russian Space Agency in developing systems and protocols for medical care of astronauts in space, it also will demonstrate how communications technology can improve the quality of health care for patients on Earth. Additionally, it will provide opportunities for technical refinement in telemedicine technologies.

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