In the health-care industry, medical imaging represents the largest potential application of broadband telecommunications technology. Health care is, of course, an enormous industry that today consumes about 13 % of the nation's gross national product (GNP). Competition in health care is based on service. Patients demand convenient access to medical facilities and prefer outpatient treatment. To facilitate easy access and outpatient care, the health-care industry needs an electronic infrastructure that provides both intraconnectivty and interconnectivity. Electronic local area networks allow imaging equipment to be intraconnected within hospitals and clinics. However, as health- care organizations set up facilities scattered throughout an urban or rural area, such as satellite hospitals, outpatient clinics, health maintenance organizations, and physician offices, these sites need to be electronically interconnected as well. Interconnection can link a specialist in the city with a patient in a rural area, at a military site, in a retirement village, or at a distant hospital or clinic. The infrastructure that provides interconnectivity is based on broadband telecommunications technology, such as frame relay, broadband ISDN (integrated services digital network), SONET/SDH (synchronous optical network/synchronous digital hierarchy), and ATM (asynchronous transfer mode) switches.