Hello, I'm happy to hear Stuart Gannes' voice on alternative means of connectivity. Stuart's Digital Vision program has been instrumental in, among many other activities, promoting the use of store-and-forward models as a way to deliver information services in advance of reliable connectivity. And as many others have said, the answer to the question "How much bandwidth is necessary?" is critically dependent on what your program is trying to accomplish. For closed systems of data exchange -- as opposed to open systems such as browsing the World Wide Web and accessing documents or media files -- low-cost, low-bandwidth solutions may be ideal.
Jiva Institute's Teledoc project uses commercial, off-the-shelf mobile-telephone technologies to reduce costs and enable sustainable, enterprise-based healthcare to reach villages. Village-based field representatives exchange data with the central clinic using a mobile phone to access the Internet via a GPRS network. GPRS is widely available in India, with higher-bandwidth CDMA networks now being installed in the south. Custom applications written in Java 2.0 Micro-edition (J2ME) allow the phone to connect directly with a central database of patient records at the Jiva clinic. Field representatives are able to add new patients, review patient treatment histories, and describe symptoms in detail. The telephone interface has been designed to accommodate the phone's limited screen 'real estate' by providing field representatives with simple codes and sequential decision-support. At the central clinic, Jiva's expert Ayurvedic doctors analyze the data, and then prescribe medication and treatment. Medicines are compounded at a regional office, picked up by field workers, and delivered to patients in their homes-all for 70 rupees or US $1.50 per consultation. Access to healthcare in villages is extremely limited, and is one factor contributing to much higher morbidity rates in India's villages when compared to cities. Teledoc is currently in pilot tests in the state of Haryana, where Jiva is based, and is providing traditional, cost-effective Ayurvedic treatments in villages. Jiva has offered Ayurvedic care locally and internationally over the Internet (60+ patients per day) since 1995. However, we anticipate bundling other healthcare services into Teledoc as the project evolves. The combination of mobile telephones, GPRS, and J2ME results in an extremely low-cost solution. Network installation and maintenance costs are borne by the private sector. The ability to exchange data between villages and the central database combines with a solid business plan and pricing scheme, and with demonstrated demand in the villages to make the project highly scalable. Jiva's innovative, low-cost computing technology has just received the World Summit Award for eHealth for the World Summit on the Information Society. Regards to all, Edmond Gaible www.natomagroup.com | www.jiva.org ------------ This DOT-COM Discussion is funded by the dot-ORG USAID Cooperative Agreement, and hosted by GKD. http://www.dot-com-alliance.org provides more information. To post a message, send it to: <[EMAIL PROTECTED]> To subscribe or unsubscribe, send a message to: <[EMAIL PROTECTED]>. In the 1st line of the message type: subscribe gkd OR type: unsubscribe gkd For the GKD database, with past messages: http://www.GKDknowledge.org