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Telemedicine is having a great impact on the monitoring of patients located in remote non-clinical environments, such as homes, elderly communities, gymnasiums, schools, remote military bases, ships, and the like. A number of applications, ranging from data collection to chronic patient surveillance, and even to the control of therapeutic procedures, are being implemented in many parts of the world. As part of this growing trend, this paper discusses the problems in electrocardiogram (ECG) real-time data acquisition, transmission and visualization over the Internet. ECG signals are transmitted in real time from a patient in a remote non-clinical environment to a specialist in a hospital or clinic using the current capabilities and availability of the Internet. A prototype system is described that is composed of (1) a portable data acquisition and pre-processing module connected to the computer at the remote site via its RS-232 port, (2) a Java-based client-server platform, and (3) software modules to handle communication protocols between the data acquisition module and the patient's personal computer, and to handle client-server communication. The purpose of the system is the provision of extended monitoring for patients under drug therapy after infarction, data collection in some particular cases, remote consultation and low-cost ECG monitoring for the elderly.