Telemedicine call pricing 'ridiculous'

February 13, 1998

Experts on dentistry and distance education exchanged speeches and well-tended smiles last month as a videoconference linked Norway, Saudi Arabia, Switzerland, the United States and two United Kingdom sites.

Steinar Pedersen of the telemedicine department at the University Hospital, Troms?, Norway had his x-rays ready and asked the experts at Kings College Hospital Dental School, London for a second opinion on a dodgy molar.

But what pains Dr Pedersen is the price of international videoconferencing. "They have a ridiculous price structure," he said. His chart of ISDN prices showed how a call to the UK costs 17 times as much as one within northern Norway.

From Geneva, Salah Mandil of the World Health Organisation described how telemedicine is reducing the gap between demand and resources in world healthcare, with regular video linkups between Nice and Tunis, and between Jordan and the United States.

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