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THE PUBLIC TELECONFERENCE: USING TECHNOLOGY FOR HEALTH EDUCATION

 OAKLAND, Calif., April 22 /PRNewswire/ -- Every week for the past three years, Bob Bodine, director of Audiovisual and Teleconferencing for Kaiser Permanente, has arranged 40 or more teleconferences to connect doctors, nurses and other healthcare workers in separate Kaiser Permanente facilities up and down the state. Teleconferencing, according to Bodine, saves time and energy for these Kaiser Permanente employees who no longer need to travel in order to talk over problems of mutual concern. Courses for credit are also offered on a regular basis, and the University of California at Berkeley uses the Oakland operation to train Kaiser Permanente employees who aspire to careers in information services.
 On April 28, the high-tech art of teleconferencing will reach an even wider audience as Kaiser Permanente opens its doors for the first time to the public, inviting audiences at 22 sites to participate in a conference on autism and pervasive development disorder (PDD). Autism and PDD are chronic developmental brain disorders which afflict as many as 15 in 10,000 children.
 The teleconference will be broadcast from the South San Francisco facility, sending compressed digitized video pictures via microwaves into 12 telephone lines, part of Kaiser Permanente's internal telephone system. This grouping of telephone lines to receive and send data is the heart of Kaiser's teleconferencing capability, though Kaiser is also able to tap into AT&T lines to hook up regions across the country.
 An audience of 2,500 will hear a panel of three experts on autism and PDD on April 28th: Ivy Fisher, M.D., a pediatrician; Roman Rodriguez, M.D., a child and adolescent psychiatrist; and Calvin Wheeler, M.D., pediatric neurologist. Following the presentation, audience members may pose questions to the panel via a local coordinator from Kaiser Permanente's health education department.
 The next phase of teleconferencing, said Bodine, is "telemedicine" which gives doctors the ability to transmit diagnostic procedures from one facility to another. A newborn in trauma in one hospital, for example, can be hooked up to an echocardiogram while the image of his heart and lungs is reviewed by physicians in a second facility, and a recommendation made for treatment. "The infrastructure is already in place," said Bodine. "We're part of a revolution here."
 -0- 4/22/93
 /CONTACT: Linden Berry, 415-563-7977, Cynthia Lopez, 415-742-2329, or Beverly Hayon, 510-987-2703, all of Kaiser Permanente/


CO: Kaiser Permanente ST: California IN: HEA SU:

ML-GT -- SF021 -- 9816 04/22/93 18:46 EDT
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Date:Apr 22, 1993
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