NIH News Alert
National Library of Medicine

Friday, November 29, 2002

Robert Mehnert
Kathleen Cravedi
(301) 496-6308

National Library of Medicine to Unveil Vast Potential of Internet2 for Improving Delivery of Health Care
Advanced Computer Networks Will Help Treat Disease

Bethesda, Maryland — "Computers are rapidly revolutionizing how medicine is taught and practiced in the United States and throughout the world," according to Donald A.B. Lindberg, M.D., Director of the National Library of Medicine (NLM), the nation's leading government agency in the use of information technology and the Internet for health care. "Next week, the public will get to preview what is coming through the digital pipeline, Internet2, as it re elates to the improvement of health care," said Dr. Lindberg. "You'll get a clue to the future practice of medicine."

Demonstrations of the newest, fastest Internet technology and its potential for improving the delivery of health care in America will take place on December 3, 2002 in a VIP/Press Briefing scheduled for 9:30 a.m. in McCormick Place during the annual Radiological Society of North American (RSNA) meeting. Chicago's Metropolitan Research and Education Network is providing the high speed link from McCormick Place to the Internet 2 backbone that will allow radiologists and interested press to actually sit down at the keyboard and get hands-on experience with high-performance networking applications that show promise in our fight against breast cancer and other diseases. Attendees will also see how new technology will convert 2-dimensional images into 3-dimensions thus permitting surgeons to rehearse patient-specific surgery, how sophisticated video-conferencing can be used for collaboration and education, and how advanced networks will make possible the storage and retrieval of vast amounts of vital medical information across multiple sites in ways never before possible.

"This is the brave new world of Internet 2," says Doug Van Houweling, the President and CEO of Internet 2, a consortium of over 200 U.S. Universities working with industry partners and federal agencies to created a faster, smarter Internet. "Computer networks today are faster and more efficient which allows them to be a great aid in medicine," he added.

Michael J. Ackerman, Ph.D., NLM's Assistant Director for High Performance Computing and Communications, agrees saying "Internet2 and the NLM are taking medical education out of the dark ages by developing the means for physicians to practice or simulate a surgical procedure in a secure environment where mistakes do not adversely affect patients, and by creating the tools to speed vital life-saving information anywhere in the world."

The VIP/Press Briefing will demonstrate some of the remarkable future medical uses of Internet2 under way at universities nationwide. The applications to be shown include:

The National Library of Medicine is a part of the National Institutes of Health, an agency of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services.