Consider the following scenarios: A 64-year-old woman with congestive heart failure has recently moved to a new city. She checks in with her doctor--who is hundreds of miles away--for their biweekly consultation, but she never has to leave her home. Through an interactive videoconference over the Internet, the doctor helps the woman install an electronic diary through which she will track her daily salt intake. The diary, in turn, will automatically update her electronic medical records.

A 2-year-old child wakes his parents in the middle of the night with a raspy cough. The parents, recent immigrants who speak little English, belong to a health plan that supplied them with Internet access over their television set and a home health kit containing a digital thermometer, a heart-rate monitor, a stethoscope, and a video camera. The parents call their pediatrician, who checks the child through videoconference. The doctor's instructions are supplied with...

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