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Satellife upgrades Polish health care: USAT link to British library is major innovation.


High costs of producing printed material in Poland and insufficient foreign currecny have limted its medical community's ability to access world medical and scientific literature.

The health-communications organization SatlLife is going to help. The Anglo-Polish Medical Information retrieval Service will link the Polish Central Medical Library and the huge British Medical Association Library. SatelLife will provide USATs (ultra-small aperture teminals) first in the Central Medical Library in Warsaw, then in every Polish medical institute.

The small dishes connect to a fax machine and can receive data directly from the pivately owned Pan-American Satellite-I. Via the same satellite dishes, Microspace Communications provides satellit transmission to Europe and the U.S.

A Polish physician (or scientist) will request a search from the Polish, who will run a computer search to generate a list of articles with a short abstract of each. The doctor will choose the relevant artcles. The librarian will tell the MBA libray which are needed. The BAMA librarian will copy up to several hundred pages of reference materials into a memory/storage fax machine, which will send that data via packet-swithing circuits to the Microspace Euoropean Network control Center.

The data will do directly via sattelite to an 18-inch MicroSPACE USAT, where where it will be stored in a computer of printed as a fax.

Aid To Tech-Poor

SasteLife hopes to soon extened the Medical Inforamtion Retrieval Service to other tech-poor nations.

Satellite's store-and-forward satellites--PacSats--enable E-mail to be sent as digital packets by radio. The basic ground unit--a laptop computer connected to a small radio transmitter/recier--fits in a briefcase.

When a life-saving message is typed on the computer, digitalized impulses are sent via radio to low-altitude orbiting satellites, which, functioning as couriers, deliver the messages to ground stations worldwide.

SatelLife provides a solar-powered ground station for about $2000. It allows a health worker in the field to receive instruction, get consultation, call for help, and transmit messages.

SatelLife is overseen by an international board of scientists and physicians. This East-West partnership has offices in the U.S. and Soviet Union. The Soviet Academy of Scientist will launch SatelLife's satellites free of charge, absorbing the multimillion-dollar cost of each launch.

The Cambridge, Mass., and Moscow offices also foster critical exchange of information between their two nations.

Following the 1988 Armenian earthquake, SatelLife facilitated the delivery of packet-radio equipment to disaster workers, enabling them to set up a database that helped them find more than 6000 missing persons.

In 1989, a SatelLife health link was established between medical workers from Moscow's Ninth Children's Hospital and specialists from the Shriners Burn Institute in Boston. Done in cooperation with the San Francisco/Moscow Teleport, the link allowed U.S. burn experts to continue advising Soviet physicians on treatment of young victims of a Soviet train wreck.
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Publication:Communications News
Date:Mar 1, 1990
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