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Center For Future Health Aims To Bring High-Tech, Low-Cost Health Care To The Home

ocket costs not currently included as part of the "medical system," Pentland says, a sure sign that people want more say in their health care.

Adds Fauchet: "The current health care system is under tremendous stress. Now there are tools to keep you alive the last few years of your life, at tremendous cost. What about maintaining your quality of life, at a minimum of cost? We want to give you the tools to be good to yourself."

A question the organizers hear often is whether people are ready and willing to use such technology. To help address this issue, the center has joined the LINCOS project, a collaboration initially set up between MIT, the University, and Costa Rican officials led by former president Jose Maria Figueres Olsen. LINCOS is a kind of "digital town center," providing isolated rural communities with a box of technology that offers information and links to the outside world. The center is developing the health component of the digital center, with information to assess one's health as well as instruments like stethoscopes and thermometers. The first box will be placed in a remote Costa Rican village later this summer, and several more are planned for Costa Rica, at least 20 in the United States, and dozens more throughout Latin America.

"It's a prototype for the integration of communities worldwide," says Alice Pentland. "It's vital that we understand the needs of each individual community. This component will help us understand a culture's decision-making on health, traditions, perceptions of computers, and a variety of issues. We don't want our inventions sitting in a laboratory. We intend these technologies to be used not just nationwide but worldwide."

A Partial List Of Projects

The projects being pursued by researchers at the Center for Future Health are designed to address health issues that affect many people. Most are being done at the University of Rochester, while several are the resul
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Contact: Tom Rickey
trickey@admin.rochester.edu
716-275-7954
University of Rochester
18-May-1999


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