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Release: Dec. 18, 2000

UI's Virtual Hospital passes 100-million mark

IOWA CITY, Iowa -- The University of Iowa's Virtual Hospital recently passed an important milestone: More than 100 million pages have been accessed on the World Wide Web site.

Founded in 1992 by faculty and staff members in the UI department of radiology, the Virtual Hospital was one of the first 250 sites on the Web. Its goal is to make the Internet a useful medical reference and health promotion tool for health care providers and patients. In 1999, the site had 6.9 million visitors from around the nation and the world.

Virtual Hospital content is drawn from University of Iowa Health Care faculty, including emeritus and junior faculty and medical residents. About 150 faculty authors have contributed their work. The Virtual Hospital serves not only as a resource for information for health care professionals and the public, but also as an entrance point for people interested in receiving health care at the UI Hospitals and Clinics. The Virtual Hospital also delivers continuing education to health care providers.

"We have more than 20,000 visitors a day. We serve in three days the same number of people who come here on a football Saturday," said Michael D'Alessandro, M.D., UI associate professor of radiology and director of the Virtual Hospital. "We are one of the UI's biggest outreach programs."

The number of pages read at a Web site is recognized as a more reliable figure of actual site use than the number of hits at a site.

"Every page is considered to be an object and every image in the page counts as a separate object," D'Alessandro explained. "So when the user reads a page with 10 images on it, the visit is classified as one page read but as 11 overall hits, even though it is only one page of information."

The site can be found on the Web at www.vh.org. For more information about the Virtual Hospital, contact Greg Johnson, manager of the Virtual Hospital, at (319) 356-7698 or via e-mail at gregory-johnson@uiowa.edu.

University of Iowa Health Care describes the partnership between the UI College of Medicine and the UI Hospitals and Clinics and the patient care, medical education and research programs and services they provide.