Volume 11, No. 3 • Fall 1996

ASA Safety Videotapes Now Seen on Internet

Keith J. Ruskin, M.D.

The APSF is pleased to announce that the ASA’s Patient Safety videotape series will be available for broadcast on the Internet using an inexpensive audio and video conferencing program called CUSeeMe.

CUSeeMe is an Internet audio and video conferencing program that is available from White Pine Software, Inc. It allows anyone with a computer connected to the Internet (either directly or through a modem and an Internet service provider) to receive audio and video programming. The program is currently priced at $69.00 U.S. ($49.00 for academic users), and a time-limited, demonstration version can be downloaded free of charge at the White Pine WWW page at http://www.wpine.com. Information about the broadcasts, including a schedule, and complete instructions for downloading a demonstration version of the software will appear on the APSF Home Page : (http://apsf.med.yale.edu).

For best results, the videos should be viewed on a computer connected directly to the Internet, which should provide seven to ten frames per second video as well as audio. Viewing the programs on a computer connected to the Internet with a modem will usually yield one or two frames per second video (more like a fast slide show) in addition to the sound. The software is available for both IBM PC compatible computers and Apple Macintosh computers. Access to the patient safety video series is the first of several planned educational programs to be made available on the Internet by APSF.

It is often difficult for physicians to communicate with colleagues in different countries or even to travel to educational meetings in this country due to their clinical responsibilities, the cost and inconvenience of travel, and problems associated with coordinating communication between people in different time zones. Technology has been developed to allow physicians in remote locations to collaborte on patient care and to attend educational conferences and meetings. Unfortunately, most telemedicine systems are relatively expensive, require skilled personnel to operate, and use costly high-speed communication links.

The Internet is a global network of computers that can give the busy clinician access to sophisticated educational materials. Access to the Internet is available to nearly anyone, is relatively inexpensive, and uses off-the-shelf software and hardware that requires little or no computer experience to install or use. The Internet offers many advantages over printed educational materials, including its ability to provide interactive, multimedia presentations. A physician needs only a computer equipped with a modem and an on-line service provider (there are many) or direct Internet access (through an educational institution or hospital).

One of the many advantages of the Internet is that it allows documents to be distributed inexpensively to many people. The Anesthesia Patient Safety Foundation World Wide Web Home Page has been accessed thousands of times. At the present time, grant guidelines, an adverse event protocol, and the APSF Newsletter are available on the web at: http://apsf.med.yale.edu. Additional educational material, such as “TEECHER,” an interactive primer for transesophageal echocardiography will soon be available for downloading.

Dr. Ruskin of Yale University has been the principal developer of the APSF web page and currently maintains it in part using equipment donated by the Hewlett-Packard Company.