The novel idea is that instead of having the expensive hard-to-maintain computing power sitting at a remote site, why not have cheap data imaging collection at the remote sites and then utilize an urban hospital to do the heavy lifting. The first Distributed Network Imaging experiments were based on electrical impedance tomography (EIT), an imaging technology that constructs 3D visualizations based on the electrical resistivity of the tissue under study. The data is painlessly gathered through an array of inexpensive electrodes placed on the body. Read more about it here
Here is a link to Professor Rubinsky's homepage
Update: From Boing Boing---
Medical imaging via modem that will enable remote village doctors to perform minimally-invasive cancer surgery.