IBM Connects World’s Most Remote Island to Healthcare


November 15, 2007

November 14, 2007 - IBM and Beacon Equity Partners today joined Medweb, the University of Pittsburgh Medical Center (UPMC) and the government of Tristan da Cunha in announcing the successful implementation of “Project Tristan,” a telemetry solution, allowing clinicians to access remote assistance with diagnoses and emergency support.

The world’s reportedly most remote inhabited island, Tristan da Cunha, can now access advanced telemedical care through to pro-bono services and support from a high-technology team led by IBM and Beacon Equity Partners.

The project was implemented with the guidance and support of UPMC and combines medical equipment, satellite communications and remotely supported electronic health-record (EHR) technology.

Project Tristan, which is based on open standards and runs on the Linux Operating System, is expected to greatly enhance the island’s level of medical care and standard of living. The island’s physician is now able to electronically capture and share medical data and information, including X-Rays and EKGsas well as pulmonary function evaluations and video camera examinations with physician consultants. Satellite communications will enable clinicians to provide real-time diagnostic advice and suggested treatments to the attending physician.

Contributions from each team member were as follows:

IBM: Solution co-development, integration and project management for the telemedicine system provided to Tristan da Cunha. Products and services included staffing, on-site installation of the system, financial resources, IBM xSeries servers provided to Medweb and high-resolution monitors.

Beacon Equity Partners: Co-development of the concept and funding for the project.

Medweb: Medweb servers and software and additional medical input devices, including a computed radiography system for digital X-Ray; integration of ECG, digital cameras, spirometry and video conferencing capabilities; configuration and testing, remote installation, training and sustained support services on an ongoing basis, including primary technical and help desk services.

University of Pittsburgh Medical Center: With its widely recognized experience in telemedicine in the U.S. and abroad, UPMC volunteered to help plan and implement Project Tristan. Additionally, UPMC offered clinical professional service to the island, including medical consultations on request; secure and reliable access to robust and comprehensive multimedia medical data on Tristan patients from the Medweb Telemedicine solution; and ongoing remote training to support Project Tristan as needed.

SOAPwareR: Project Tristan features a remotely supported Electronic Health Record (EHR) technology courtesy of SOAPware, Inc.

“Connecting the most remote inhabited spot on the face of the earth, Tristan da Cunha, to advanced medical care in real time and over the Internet is proof that the world is really flat. This a big step towards providing everyone access to centers of healthcare excellence regardless of geographical location,” said Paul Grundy, M.D., MPH, IBM’s executive sponsor for Project Tristan and Director of IBM’s Healthcare Technology and Strategic Initiatives. “It’s now possible to monitor a patient’s heart and remotely change the setting on a pacemaker or make a complex fracture diagnoses over a satellite Internet connection - even in an environment where the closest advanced care via a ship would otherwise have taken a week to reach the Island and another to return to the mainland for care.”

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