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Linux to Save the Health of the World
By Janine M Lodato
Abstract:In Order to deliver a workable and affordable telemed system we
need to break away from all conventions:
This will be done by a group of dedicated and courageous teams outlined
below, but they do need one more consortium member: a Linux implementation team.
This article is written with the aim to find such Linux team.
- replace telephone-line based connectivity with
data over power-line technology; this is readily available
all over the world and at a lower cost.
- replace the Windows environment with Linux
due to its lower cost and higher reliability, simplicity
- replace the keyboard- and and mouse-based human-to-machine
interface with voice recognition.
I. Statement of Purpose
TelMedForte is a project formed as a consortium of:
- a large MasterASP-BSP (=Application Services Provider / Business Services
- experienced entrepreneurs and professionals located in the Silicon Valley
- a VAR for Siemens medical group
- a VAR for Siemens data-over-power-line division
- a small high tech comapany offering medical e-record systems
The goal of TelMedForte is to become the leader in the design, integration
and implementation of advanced telemedicine solutions enabled by power line
and wireless broadband technologies, and through leveraging existing wireline
The financial support for all the various telemedicine implementations
efforts in the rural communities will be based on USDA Loan/Grant made
available to rural communities under the USDA large solicitation:
Distance Learning and
Telemedicine Loan and Grant Program.
In each community the above consortium teams up with the local
medical facilities to jointly offer the community-wide collaborative
telemed system and distance-learning system.
TelMedForte will also provide integrated solutions for the medical
facilities of each community by integrating telemedicine applications and the
facilities management applications of MasterASP-BSP. This will bring
significant additional revenues to MasterASP-BSP.
II. Background and Market
For TelMedForte, telemedicine is the examination, diagnosis and treatment of
health-care consumers by health care service providers when direct,
face-to-face interaction is inconvenient, costly, inefficient or ineffective
for the consumer or purchaser of healthcare services. Also included is
telemonitoring of medical devices.
Broadband deployment and adoption has proceeded at a blinding rate over the
past few years. However, there is market of at least 30 million health care
consumers in the U.S. alone without broadband access.
Several key factors make TelMedForte's offering the right technology at the
- Gartner forecasts the number of power line broadband lines in service
worldwide will be 200,000 by end-2003 and will hit the 1 million mark by 2006
with equipment revenues exceeding $200M.
- Cost of bandwidth continues to decrease. The cost to go by each home using
power line broadband communications is significantly less than Cable or DSL.
There are a number of medium-voltage power-line broadband trials that have
been successful and the technology is available today. Also, the regulatory
environment is favorable. TelMedForte provides a 5-10x improvement in
performance, at substantially lower costs, over available power line carrier
(PLC) solutions in the market.
- Payer issues have been resolved using the MedStage e.Health web-based
telemedicine solution from Siemens Medical Health Services Corporation.
- Videoconferencing equipment and applications have become affordable, and
standardized. Use of videoconferencing for home health care has demonstrated
that provider resources can be managed more efficiently while also improving
quality of care.
- Sharing of medical images has been made easier through the use of Siemens
- Technology is available for telemonitoring using Siemens Hot Key wireless
- Additional applications will also be included such as electronic medical
records (Sensitron), e-visit (Rao) etc
III. TelMedForte Solutions
TelMedForte will create integrated solutions including multimedia
communications to regional and teaching hospitals, enhanced communications
with medical devices (including Siemens "syngo" enabled and Hot Key), delivery
of broadband to the homes of patients using 216 Mbps medium-voltage networks
(over the existing power grid) and HomePlug standard in-home power line
modems, provision of telemedicine software solutions (MedStage), in-home
devices to support the provision of telemedicine, plus in-home and mobile
telemonitoring of medical devices using Hot Key or other wireless modules.
IV. TelMedForte Technology
The TelMedForte system includes components to distribute a high capacity
connection over the medium-voltage grid to multiple end-user gateways located
at or near neighborhood transformers. Consumer premises are linked into the
network with either low-voltage HomePlug, Bluetooth or 802.11x modems or a
combination of them.
This power line-wireless combination is useful as a ubiquitous network for
in-home and mobile medical device monitoring (e.g., using Hot Key GPS with
the appropriate wireless modules).
Alternative power line broadband technologies are also starting to appear in
the market. These are all based on traditional balanced-line approaches and
operate in the 2-40MHz frequency ranges. These solutions are inherently
limited in performance in terms of network capacity and susceptibility to
noise interference, compared to the TelMedForte system.
Siemens is already in the telemedicine market with MedStage®, but they are
not going after the Rural communities which will be the major market for
TelMedForte. In fact TelMedForte will be a VAR for Siemens.
Existing Cable and DSL access technologies are only infrastructures not as
much competition to the TelMedForte solution. In fact they can be a supplier
of MAN services to TelMedForte in each community. TelMedForte with HomePlug
and wireless solutions beats both in terms of performance - higher bandwidth,
symmetric operation, low-latency - and cost - 2-5x lower cost in terms of
VI. Strategic Relationships
As a VAR of Siemens solutions, TelMedForte will integrate solutions from a
number of different Siemens divisions including MedStage from Med, Hot Key
and wireless module technology from ICM, and low-voltage Powerline modems
from Efficient Networks (a Siemens company). Broadband access is an enabler
to video and image based telemedicine applications. In order to effectively
market telemedicine in rural communities, TelMedForte will leverage
government and other grant funding and loan programs for equipment and
TelMedForte will also provide integrated solutions for the medical facilities
each community by integrating telemedicine applications and the facilities
management applications of MasterASP-BSP.
TelMedForte will add additional value to the System Integrator (SI) and VAR
value chains by leveraging the expertise of its management team in product
marketing and support. These elements converge to create a powerful mixture
of enabling technologies, expertise and implementation of new products and
services. An example of the new generation of services and the strategic VAR
relationships capable of adapting and developing new services at Layers 6-7
into vertical markets include TelMedForte forming localized consortia with:
Although market estimates vary widely, one estimate of the global demand for
telehealth services is $1.125 trillion.
TelMedForte will support these offerings with a comprehensive set of business
case information and tools to help its customers develop winning strategies
for their broadband telemedicine service offerings.
- Local health care providers
- Regional and teaching hospitals
- Application Service Providers currently servicing the local health care
- Local power companies; and,
- Internet Service Providers (ISPs)
to provide seamless end-to-end telemedicine solutions. Siemens Global
Services will also be a VAR of TelMedForte's packaged telemedicine solutions.
Copyright © 2003, Janine M Lodato.
Copying license http://www.linuxgazette.com/copying.html
Published in Issue 92 of Linux Gazette, July 2003
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