Columbus, Ohio – April 22, 2008 – Ohio may soon be widely recognized as the global hub of sophisticated videoconferencing technologies following a meeting April 16 of an international group of telehealth experts convened by Ohio Governor Ted Strickland to consider the benefits of establishing a Telehealth Video Resource Center in Columbus.
The proposed center would build upon the substantial videoconferencing resources of the Ohio Supercomputer Center and the experience of international telehealth projects already being coordinated, such as those involving the World Bank’s Global Development Learning Network, Johns Hopkins University and Columbia University. These activities have provided vital educational and clinical experiences to physicians from such countries as Tanzania, Pakistan, China, Egypt, Canada, Iraq, India, Brazil and Mexico.
The daylong, telehealth work session was hosted by the Governor’s Office and sponsored by the World Bank, Internet2 and the Ohio Supercomputer Center. The meeting drew local, national and international participants in-person and via high-definition videoconferencing.
The World Bank is an international development organization that provides financial and technical assistance to developing countries around the world, while Internet2 is the foremost advanced networking consortium in the United States. The Ohio Supercomputer Center, funded by the Ohio Board of Regents, provides supercomputing, networking, research and education resources to Ohio educational institutions and business partners.
The Ohio Supercomputer Center has been at the forefront of networking technologies for many years. The technology behind broadband telephone service was tested at the center, which now is testing software developed there to allow researchers to use broadband networks to remotely access and operate expensive scientific equipment such as electron microscopes.
OSC recently partnered with Nationwide Children’s Hospital and Adena Regional Medical Center to pioneer delivery of specialized neonatal expertise via high-definition videoconference to hospitals in rural areas. The center also is the networking hub for Megaconference and Megaconference Jr., highly respected annual international videoconferences for higher education and K-12 schools.
“The use of advanced networking is quickly increasing within the healthcare community, and the need for high-quality, easy-to-use and well-supported video resources to support these activities is essential to better healthcare,” said Stanley Ahalt, executive director of OSC. “The expertise and technology required to achieve these results is both expensive and difficult to acquire. Therefore, the ability to access a high-quality resource is of significant benefit, both here in Ohio and abroad.”
With the advent of high-bandwidth optical networks and global access to national research and educational networks such as Internet2, more and more information and communication technology applications and collaborative tools are becoming available for physicians and other professionals. These technologies are quickly maturing from proof-of-concept to proven concept, and will be available as production-quality resources at the center.
The video resource center – which is expected to quickly become self-sustaining – will encourage, promote and support the use of high-quality video for health education and training, research and associated clinical activities. Healthcare providers with little or no experience will have the ability to communicate via high-quality videoconference with other health providers.
The center’s telehealth resources will be available for the provision of clinical care in such areas as: neonatalogy, pediatrics, orthopedics, psychiatry, dermatology and radiology, and may be used for consultation in any of the medical disciplines. The services also would be available for medical education activities, such as grand rounds where doctors meet to discuss multiple patients, continuing education programs and demonstrations of new and emerging clinical practices. The center may be utilized for research projects, such as clinical trials or multi-center interactions.
In the technology arena, the center will provide a forum for the development of standards, including: best practices, process and priority standards and coordination of educational resources.
Development in telehealth applications has made it possible for the video resource center to use medicine as a demonstration model for developing such an infrastructure worldwide to aid in minimizing the digital divide felt by remote and impoverished nations. Networking services for professionals in other fields are expected to be made available at the center in the coming years.
Celebrating 20 years of service, the Ohio Supercomputer Center (OSC) is a catalytic partner of Ohio universities and industries that provides a reliable high performance computing and high performance networking infrastructure for a diverse statewide/regional community including education, academic research, industry, and state government. Funded by the Ohio Board of Regents, OSC promotes and stimulates computational research and education in order to act as a key enabler for the state's aspirations in advanced technology, information systems, and advanced industries. For additional information, visit http://www.osc.edu.