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University of Iowa News Release

March 25, 2003

Virtual Hospital To Celebrate 10th Anniversary

Almost from the very beginning of the World Wide Web about a decade ago, the University of Iowa Virtual Hospital has led the way in providing authoritative, accurate health care information to professionals and consumers.

2003 marks the 10th anniversary of the debut of Virtual Hospital on the World Wide Web. Virtual Hospital first appeared as a Gopher site on the Internet in 1992. When it shifted to the infant World Wide Web the following year, Virtual Hospital (www.vh.org) became one of the first 250 sites on the Web.

Over the past 10 years, Virtual Hospital has grown to include more than 1,360 titles in its online collection. It encompasses more than 18,000 pages of information that represent the work of more than 300 authors, including nurses, physicians, pharmacists, dentists and other health care professionals from the UI.

In 1994, Virtual Hospital added the Virtual Children's Hospital home page. Its staff also produces the University of Iowa Health Care Website, the digital health information library known as the Virtual Naval Hospital, and portions of the UI Roy J. and Lucille A. Carver College of Medicine Website.

"One of the great strengths of Virtual Hospital is the high quality of its content," said Michael D'Alessandro, M.D., an associate professor in the UI Department of Radiology, one of the founders of the Web site and its current director. "Users can rely on the information, and it has an attractive, easy-to-use format. Those factors make it very appealing to both health care professionals and patients or their families."

Throughout the past decade, Virtual Hospital has earned praise from organizations such as Time, the New York Times and the BBC. The Web site has also won awards for excellence from Scientific American, Good Housekeeping and the Britannica Company.

Every day, more than 30,000 visitors come to the site. Each month, Virtual Hospital provides an average of 3.5 million pages of information. More than 45 million visitors have logged on since its inception.

As Virtual Hospital moves into its second decade of service, the staff has redesigned the site. Feedback from users helped drive the effort to make Virtual Hospital more visually appealing and to provide more guidance about how to navigate the Web site to obtain even more information. The redesign will add 4,000 new pages to the site. The popular "Common Problems" feature will expand the entries from about 50 disease topics to more than 700.

To commemorate the 10th anniversary of Virtual Hospital and to unveil its new look, UI faculty and staff will attend a special event on Monday, March 31, 2003. The celebration will kick off with a ribbon-cutting ceremony at 2:30 p.m. in the East Room on the eighth level of the John Colloton Pavilion.

University of Iowa Health Care describes the partnership between the UI Roy J. and Lucille A. Carver College of Medicine and 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.

STORY SOURCE: Joint Office for Planning, Marketing and Communications, University of Iowa Health Care, 200 Hawkins Drive, Room 8798 JPP, Iowa City, Iowa 52242-1009.

CONTACT: Tom Moore, 319-356-3945, thomas-moore@uiowa.edu.

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