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Researchers have developed a remote diagnostic system that can send doctors medical information on patients while they are still in an ambulance and heading for the hospital.

The system, which uses communication satellites, is expected to help save lives, particularly in mountainous regions and on remote islands, where more time is required to transport patients who are critically ill to hospitals, said Isao Nakajima, an assistant professor at Tokai University’s Institute of Medical Sciences.

As the system is stable and has more data capacity than ground-based communications, such as cellular phones, medical information can easily be sent to doctors in the form of high-quality video feeds, ultrasound images and electrocardiogram data, Nakajima said Saturday.

They added that companies and governmental organizations in the United States, China and Argentina have already shown an interest in the system.

The researchers developed the system to take advantage of the planned quasi-zenith satellite system, which the government and the Japan Business Federation (Nippon Keidanren) plan to put into operation in fiscal 2008.