for the Internet
A select group of Bay Area business, industry and academic
leaders will be briefed on Friday, July 7, of an important national report that examines
the technical, organizational and policy-related efforts needed for the Internet to
fulfill its potential in consumer health, clinical care and public health and biomedical
"Networking Health: Prescriptions for the Internet" is a report from the
National Academies' Computer Science and Telecommunications Board (CSTB). The UCSF School
of Pharmacy and Center for Health and Community is hosting the West Coast briefing of the
report on July 7, 10 a.m. to noon, in N 225.
Mary Anne Koda-Kimble, dean of the School of Pharmacy, and Susan Graham, CSTB member
and professor of electrical engineering and computer science at UC Berkeley, will deliver
opening remarks. Members of the CTSB will present the report.
"The kinds of technical capabilities that health care and biomedicine need from
the Internet are not unique," said Edward H. Shortliffe, chair of the CTSB, which
wrote the report. "But the operational demands of health care applications create
distinctive requirements and must be considered in computer network design and
implementation. The kinds of security, reliability, and quality of service that are
necessary for physicians to use the Internet more routinely can go beyond those needed for
e-commerce. Advances are needed in all these areas before we see physicians retrieving
medical histories of emergency room patients on a more regular basis or doctors monitoring
homebound patients using medical devices that send data over the Internet. Organizational
and policy issues also must be addressed."
In 1999 an estimated 30 million Americans used the Internet to search for
health-related information. A reported 32 percent of online users shopped for health
products on the Web, spending $160 million on prescription drugs and $280 million on other
health products. More than 190 million searches were run against the National Library of
Medicine's medical publications database, said Shortliffe.
"That's 600,000 searches a day from more than 120,000 different users. These
numbers demonstrate the increasing popularity of the Internet in health and health care
and the ability of the Internet to revolutionize the health sector by connecting people,
information, and services from anywhere across the country, if not across the globe,"
said Shoftliffe. "People continue to explore new applications, both within the health
sector and beyond, and all forecasts point to increasing use of the Internet for
"But these numbers do not tell the whole story," he said. "They mask the
fact that the Internet has not penetrated many areas of health and health care that
promise even more significant transformations than we have seen to date."
-- Significant Technological Barriers Remain for Providing Health Care on the Internet
by Edward H. Shortliffe: Networking Health