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May 27, 1974

Health Communication In Alaska

Author Affiliations

National Library of Medicine Bethesda, Md

JAMA. 1974;228(9):1100. doi:10.1001/jama.1974.03230340016018

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To the Editor.—  Your speculations about physician's assistants and satellite communications in sparsely populated Alaska (227:935, 1974) read like a description of an experimental program that the National Library of Medicine and the Indian Health Service have sponsored for the past three years, as well as a blueprint for its planned expansion later this year. Since June 1971, native health aides in 26 remote villages in Alaska have had regular daily voice contact, via the ATS-1 satellite, with an Indian Health Service field hospital in Tanana. This has proved a vast improvement over regular high-frequency radio communication which, because of terrain and atmospheric disturbances, is unreliable in those parts. The experimental satellite system has been credited with saving several lives.A National Aeronautics and Space Administration satellite to be launched later this year, the ATS-F, will allow two-way video and physiological data transmission at certain sites in Alaska, in addition