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Interwise Selected by Health Officers Association of California for First State-Level Collaboration Platform for Managing Contagious Disease Threats; Project Harnesses Advanced Technology to Enable Rapid Response for Saving Lives.

CAMBRIDGE, Mass. -- Interwise(R), the global leader in unlimited voice, web and video conferencing for the enterprise, today announced that Interwise Connect(TM) has been selected by the Health Officers Association of California (HOAC) as the conferencing and collaborative platform for its Project Collaboration Research Initiative (PCRI). PCRI is a three-year project that will determine how "real-time" collaboration technologies can be best adapted for use by physician health officers throughout California to manage infectious disease outbreaks. Out of a review of 47 collaborative products, Interwise Connect was named the clear winner by participating health officers and lab directors for its intuitive ease-of-use--a critical ingredient for a system that would used to connect hundreds or even thousands of health professionals during a crisis.

PCRI is a collaborative research initiative being implemented by the HOAC for the U.S. Army Medical Research Command, with the cooperation of multiple end user organizations. As the first initiative of its kind in the nation, PCRI will identify on a large scale, how advanced collaboration technologies can enable California's physician health officers to respond rapidly and effectively to infectious disease outbreaks--especially disease threats of pandemic proportion.

"To arrive at a definitive diagnosis of any disease, its pathogen must be identified. But even before this identification occurs, a complex process involving many different kinds of data must be initiated in order to provide crucial guidance to the public, the hospital community and first responders. The process for this can be accelerated with a 'virtual meeting space' where health officers, public lab personnel and others can instantly share data such as micrographs, x-rays and written information in a free-flowing informal way," stated Roger Rosenberg, HOAC's project manager for the PCRI. "Once a diagnosis of a highly-infectious disease is made, it is the health officer's responsibility to focus the efforts of the medical community and the community as a whole, against a serious threat. Additionally, they must advise first responders, hospital staff and others who are at-risk as to the protective measures they should be taking. The real-time capability of Interwise Connect is crucial for this. In our business, time saved translates to lives spared."

The PCRI consists of a secure, statewide virtual private network hosted by Verizon Business Systems that is installed with the integrated voice, Web and video conferencing capabilities of Interwise Connect. Health officers in 61 jurisdictions throughout California as well as the State Health Officer will be granted access to the system; in many cases it will be the first time jurisdictions are given the opportunity to apply virtual meeting technology to their capabilities for contagious disease control.

Other organizations involved in the project include the CDC Center for Excellence, the California Conference of Local Health Officers, the California Department of Health Services, the California Association of Local Public Health Lab Directors and University of California Berkeley Center for Infectious Diseases Preparedness.

"To mount an effective response to a widespread, serious public health threat, health officers need to collaborate in real time," added Rosenberg. "PCRI will allow officers to rapidly and securely share biometric, environmental, GIS, and other visual data, collaborate on strategies, policies and communications, as well as update one another continuously as a situation unfolds. The end result will be improved and more timely diagnosis, consultation and treatment of citizens during mass outbreaks."

"The experience of other first responders who have successfully used Interwise technology in emergency situations makes us confident that California's health officers will be better equipped to exchange information and collaborate quickly and effectively when the need arises," said John Donnelly III, vice president of Americas sales and business development for Interwise. "This is true whether the challenge is the logistics of assigning and briefing health care workers in the field, coordinating mass delivery of prophylaxis, the marshalling of other resources or simply reducing the costs of travel for routine meetings."

The HOAC has assembled a unique team of health professionals, high technology companies, government agencies and research centers and non-profit research affiliates to participate in PCRI. The project will include drills and exercises dealing with bio-terrorism, weapons of mass destruction and natural public health disasters. The situations will involve both single and multiple jurisdictional public health departments, hospitals, first responders, emergency operations centers and others. The project will rapidly expand to all of California's 61 public health departments (58 counties and 3 cities). Interwise will be integrated within modular web portals for each county as well as an overall portal for the entire state.

About HOAC

The Health Officers Association of California represents physician health officers in California's county and city health departments. It promotes and improves public health practices through increasing knowledge about the cause, prevention and cure of diseases, as well as conditions or states detrimental to the health of the people of California. HOAC manages the Project Collaboration Research Initiative. For more information, see www.calhealthofficers.org.

About Interwise

Interwise is the leader in delivering unlimited voice, Web, and video conferencing for the enterprise. Interwise' fixed price / unlimited usage business model and enterprise-class technology combine to make it easy for companies to deliver conferencing and collaboration as a core business application, replacing multiple products with a single, integrated solution that can reduce overall conferencing expenses by 50 per cent or more. More importantly, our unique capabilities drive innovation, corporate agility and operational effectiveness by enabling customers to give unlimited conferencing and collaboration to every employee in the enterprise, like email. Interwise sells to and supports customers globally through a direct sales force, distributors, value-added resellers, communications service providers, and network-oriented systems integrators. For more information, see www.interwise.com.

Trademarks

Interwise Connect, Interwise Expressway and the Interwise logo are trademarks and Interwise is a registered trademark of Interwise, Inc. All other trademarks are the property of their respective holders.
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Publication:Business Wire
Date:Sep 12, 2006
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