Printer Friendly


 ATLANTA, Nov. 22 /PRNewswire/ -- Hillary Rodham Clinton's address Monday on U.S. health care policy received wide distribution -- and immediate feedback -- thanks to an innovative telecommunications system constructed by the state of Georgia.
 The Georgia Statewide Academic and Medical System, or GSAMS, was launched in 1992 when the state legislature set aside $50 million to construct a high-speed transmission network linking hospitals and schools throughout the state.
 Sprint (NYSE: FON), one of the nation's largest telecommunications companies and a leader in the deployment of fiber-optic lines and telemedicine services, subsequently was selected to serve as the backbone long-distance carrier for the network. Sprint works in cooperation with Southern Bell at the local end to construct and operate the network.
 As of today, about 100 schools and hospitals around the state have been linked to the network.
 The construction of the links to school sites "will provide Georgia the largest two-way, interactive distance learning system in the nation," said George A. Christenberry Jr., deputy commissioner of telecommunications for the Georgia Department of Administrative Services.
 Gov. Zell Miller said the extension of the network to support telemedicine "is going to revolutionize the way we deliver health care."
 Already, based on initial pilot results with 200 patients, the telemedicine system holds the promise of huge savings. For example, before the system was erected between the Medical College of Georgia and Dodge County Hospital in Eastman, Ga., rural residents who needed consultations with specialists had to travel to urban centers, paying an average $1,300 a day per patient bed.
 Thanks to telemedicine, and the capability it provides for doctors to examine patients and their records and X-rays via long-distance links, some 80 percent of the patients in the pilot project were able to remain at the local hospital, where the average cost was $800 a day per patient bed.
 That amounts to a savings of $500 a day, not counting the reduced travel expenses and time lost away from home. And according to Christenberry, the system also is improving the level of continuing medical education available to rural physicians.
 "We've really created an electronic umbilical cord for rural hospitals," says Dr. Jay Sanders of the Medical College of Georgia.
 Sprint's involvement in health care began several years ago with the creation of HANDS -- Healthcare Application Network Delivery Service -- a medical information superhighway that currently provides service to more than 800 hospitals. HANDS is the only nationwide health care network providing dial-up, "bandwidth on demand" digital services, allowing physicians to make a telemedical call as easily as a voice call.
 With HANDS, physicians and patients now have immediate access to specialized health care services anywhere in the United States and globally in 29 countries. Services provided through this multimedia network include telemedicine, teleradiology and other diagnostic procedures, plus electronic insurance claims submission as well as other long-distance voice, video conferencing and data services.
 As rapidly as telemedicine is growing, few states have moved as quickly as Georgia to extend a medical information superhighway from border to border. And beyond sheer geographic reach, Georgia already is setting the stage for a transition on its network to Asynchronous Transfer Mode (ATM), the most advanced type of high-speed data transmission yet developed. ATM will ultimately improve the speed and capacity of the Georgia network.
 Sprint, working in cooperation with the Defense Department and Fort Gordon, Ga., used ATM just five months to demonstrate how doctors at a field hospital in a war zone could be linked to specialists at the Walter Reed Army Medical Center and the University of Virginia Medical Hospital.
 Sprint is a diversified international telecommunications company with more than $10 billion in revenue and the United States' only nationwide all-digital, fiber optic network. Its divisions provide global long distance voice, data and video services around the world; local telephone services to more than 6 million subscribers in 19 states, and cellular services to 42 major metropolitan areas and more than 50 rural service areas.
 -0- 11/22/93
 /CONTACT: Norman Black, 404-859-6096 or, home, 404-578-0679, or Rick Johnson, 404-859-6095 or, home, 404-421-8820, both of Sprint/

CO: Sprint ST: Georgia IN: TLS SU:

IH-KD -- DC021 -- 6943 11/22/93 16:13 EST
COPYRIGHT 1993 PR Newswire Association LLC
No portion of this article can be reproduced without the express written permission from the copyright holder.
Copyright 1993 Gale, Cengage Learning. All rights reserved.

Article Details
Printer friendly Cite/link Email Feedback
Publication:PR Newswire
Date:Nov 22, 1993

Terms of use | Copyright © 2016 Farlex, Inc. | Feedback | For webmasters