Bell Atlantic Network Brings Students Into Operating Room to Observe Heart Operations, Talk with Doctors
Telemedicine, Distance Learning Meet in "Cardiac Classroom"
at New Jersey's Liberty Science Center
February 26, 1998
NEW YORK -- Doctors use video networks to examine patients in distant
cities. That's telemedicine. Teachers use two-way video to
teach in several classrooms at a time. That's distance learning.
Now, telemedicine and distance learning have merged in a unique video
experience known as the "Cardiac Classroom." Inaugurated today in New
Jersey, the Cardiac Classroom lets students watch open heart surgery
-- live, as it happens -- and talk to the operating room personnel as
At one end of a Bell Atlantic digital pipeline is the cardiac
operating room at Atlantic Health System's Morristown Memorial
Hospital, equipped with cameras, microphones and TV screens. Fifteen
miles away at the Liberty Science Center in Jersey City is a video
classroom with similar equipment.
Students will gather at the "Cardiac Classroom" to watch operations as
they happen. Technicians at the Liberty Science Center can manipulate
the cameras in the operating room remotely for the best view of the
surgery or for interviews with doctors and nurses.
Bell Atlantic's Large Business Services organization, which develops
telecommunications solutions to business problems, supervised the
project. Bell Atlantic Network Integration, Inc. (BANI), a subsidiary
that plans, implements, manages and supervises enterprise networks,
designed and installed the compressed video service and selected the
most appropriate hardware vendor, VTel Corporation. VTel is a leader
in video technologies that serve telemedicine.
"The power of networked video technology to support distance learning
and telemedicine comes alive in the Cardiac Classroom," said Tony
Murray, president-Bell Atlantic Large Business Services-South and
chairman of BANI. "BANI's expertise in developing and implementing
complex data, video and voice networks combined with the muscle of our
digital network to create a learning experience that is vivid,
interactive and compelling to young minds.
"We have arrived at a day when more and more physicians can use
networked information to examine patients, review radiographical data
and confer with distant colleagues about the welfare of patients,"
Murray said. "Teachers already use the technology to teach students
at remote sites. It's important that people understand and engage
this new technology, and it's great that so many can do that at the
Liberty Science Center."
The system was initiated by cardiologist William A. Tansey, M.D., a
member of the Liberty Science Center board of directors who works at
Atlantic Health System's Overlook Hospital, and Dr. John M. Brown III,
a cardiac surgeon at Morristown Memorial Hospital. Their goal was to
create a memorable experience that gives students a sense of the
energy and teamwork in an operating room and to build within them a
sense of curiosity about the field of medicine.
"The objective of the science center to expose students to scientific
and technological information in a way that excites and inspires them
has been achieved with this project," said Len J. Lauer, president
and CEO of Bell Atlantic - New Jersey and a member of the Liberty
Science Center board of directors who was involved in the project's
conception. "Technology in the hands of imaginative people makes
things like this possible, which in turn stirs the imagination of
Bell Atlantic - New Jersey contributed $10,000 toward the equipment
that serves the science center site.
The two-way, full motion video and voice signals travel between the
sites on a dedicated 1.5 megabit per second T-1 carrier system. Two
HS 2000 VTel video systems feed and deliver the video audio signals.
In addition, Integrated Services Digital Network (ISDN) connections
enable the science center to connect with other facilities using
dial-up video conferencing. BANI engineers bridged the center's video
link to an expanded Atlantic Health System video network to allow
connections to alternate locations, including other hospitals in the
Atlantic Health System network, for other distance learning or
"As the network integrator, BANI worked closely with the customer to
design, develop and implement the network as the single point of
contact on the project. BANI engaged VTel as a supplier and installed
the complex wiring at both ends," Murray said. "It was a team effort
that successfully mined the capabilities of technology for a unique
Bell Atlantic Network Integration, Inc. (BANI), an unregulated
subsidiary of Bell Atlantic Corp., is a leading data, video and voice
network integrator focused on providing customers with end-to-end
networking solutions. BANI's cutting-edge integration services
delivered via a single-point-of-contact cover the full "Network
Lifecycle" from the planning and implementation to the management and
support of enterprise networks. Incorporated in 1993, BANI is the
only U.S. network integrator to achieve company-wide ISO 9001
certification. With headquarters in Frazer, Pa., and 32 offices
across the United States, BANI is positioned to serve customers both
within and outside the Bell Atlantic region.
Bell Atlantic - formed through the merger of Bell Atlantic and NYNEX -
is at the forefront of the new communications and information
industry. With 40.5 million telephone access lines and six million
wireless customers worldwide, Bell Atlantic companies are premier
providers of advanced wireline voice and data services, market leaders
in wireless services and the world's largest publishers of directory
information. Bell Atlantic companies are also among the world's
largest investors in high-growth global communications markets, with
operations and investments in 21 countries.