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Access to information becomes more valuable with the continuing proliferation of medical knowledge and the increasing economic pressure being experienced by health care organizations. This is particularly so for community hospitals in rural or isolated areas, where the economic pressures are at least as great as in urban areas and where access to information is often inadequate. These conditions have implications for the quality of patient care and for economic viability. In response to this, the National Library of Medicine, the University of Washington, and seven community hospitals in five Pacific Northwest states have joined forces in a broad-scale technology diffusion project to facilitate the application of research work to clinical care. There are three components to the project: 1) a pilot connections component to extend Internet access to the community hospitals, 2) a research component to test the performance of a client/server model for network access to anatomical text and images, and 3) a clinical component to develop a registry of DNA diagnostic laboratories facilitating the provision of genetic information to clinicians. The pilot connections component is described and preliminary findings are reported.