Columbia-Presbyterian Medical Center in New York and the Boston University School of Public Health are among six finalists in the health category of a national award established to recognize achievement on the Internet and information highway.
The health finalists in the National Information Infrastructure awards program will join six finalists in each of nine other categories on Dec. 3 in New York, where the winners will be announced.
The competition was announced two years ago as a way to encourage the use of a vast but largely unknown electronic network of networks to solve communications problems. That was when the notion of a World Wide Web home page was foreign to most people.
Since then, the Internet and related publicly accessible electronic routes have caught on so widely that the NII program had 850 nominees from which to choose the 60 finalists this year, a 50% increase over last year, the first year the awards were presented.
In New York, Columbia-Presbyterian has teamed with the city Department of Health's Visiting Nurse Service and telecommunications companies to coordinate healthcare in northern Manhattan through an electronic network.
Representatives of the project said it's aimed at following patients across multiple encounters, settings and providers by developing electronic records, automated clinical protocols of care and wireless communications to reach patients' homes.
The initial clinical focus was management and tracking of tuberculosis, but the program has been expanded to include other patients.
In Boston, an interactive information service on the World Wide Web called Join Together Online is functioning as a resource center and "meeting place" for communities working to reduce the harm caused by drug, alcohol and tobacco abuse.
Boston University officials said the site is the world's largest on-line substance-abuse resource center with more than 14,000 documents and a number of interactive databases.
Other nominees in the health category are:
OncoLink, an Internet-based multimedia resource for information on cancer. Located at the University of Pennsylvania Cancer Center, the Web site contains thousands of documents directed at patients and physicians using text, pictures, sound and video.
Representatives of the project said it provides timely information on cancer at a level that's comfortable for patients as well as healthcare professionals. The site also includes inspirational essays from cancer survivors.
The Global Health Network, a Web site dedicated to making information on public health measures and disease prevention available worldwide. Operated by the University of Pittsburgh's department of epidemiology, the project's aim is a different approach to telemedicine, dubbed telepreventive medicine, in which telecommunication is employed to prevent disease rather than cure it once it's present.
The Family Village Project, a Web site created for children with disabilities or special healthcare needs and the families of such children.
Operated by the Terrence R. Dolan Waisman Center at the University of Wisconsin-Madison, it's designed to promote and support use of the Internet by parents and children as a means of acquiring practical and accurate information on special needs.
The site includes a "card catalog" listing several hundred specific diagnoses, with pointers on where to go to find more information.
Children With Diabetes, an on-line magazine for children, families and adults living with diabetes. Published by Castle Web, the site offers a range of information on nutrition and diet, products and supplies, links to other resources on the Internet, and interactive exchanges with experts and others living with diabetes.
More information about the awards and the National Information Infrastructure program is available on its Web site at http: www.gii-awards.com.