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Release: May 18, 2001

EDITORS: Media contacts for Samsung SDS: Christian K. Yi, 011-82-2-3429-3028 (South Korea), christianyi@samsung.com; Taehee Bae, (319) 335-8756, taehee@samsung.com; Daniel Kang, (319) 335-9141, danielkang@samsung.com.

UI, Samsung developing telehealth system for patients in long-term care facilities

IOWA CITY, Iowa -- University of Iowa Health Care researchers are collaborating with Samsung SDS, Korea, to develop a "telehealth system" that may eventually benefit elder adults who reside in long-term care facilities.

Gerald Jogerst, M.D., associate professor in the UI department of family medicine, is leading the project. He explained that the system will incorporate advanced wireless communications technology that will enhance medical interactions for physicians and their patients.

"Our goal is to develop a system that physicians can use to care for patients from a distance," Jogerst said. "We want to free the physician to interact with patients without having to physically go see them in person at the care facility, or being tied down to their office."

Another goal is to decrease the burden on the patient and families by reducing the need to transport patients from the nursing home to the hospital or physician's office for medical evaluation. Also, the system may enable families to see and talk with their family members residing in the nursing home by way of the Internet or a camera.

The system would enable the physician in a remote location to establish visual and voice contact with the staff and patient in the care facility. After concluding their discussion, the physician could prescribe medication, have access to the patient's chart via the Internet and update the patient's medical record through wireless networking, Web technology and video-conferencing.

"There would still obviously be occasions when a physician would want to see a patient in person," Jogerst said. "However, this system could provide a cost-effective, efficient means to respond to many of the concerns of a care facility's staff and their patients, and it may significantly enhance the health care that patients receive because of the features that make it possible to contact physicians quickly and receive a swift response."

Samsung SDS has provided financial support for the UI personnel and engineers from Korea to develop the telehealth system. The development effort is scheduled for completion in about a year.

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. Visit UI Health Care online at www.uihealthcare.com.