A general-purpose, low-cost system provides comprehensive physiological data collection, with extensive data object oriented programmability and configurability for a variety of medical as well as other analog data collection applications. In a preferred embodiment, programmable input signal acquisition and processing circuits are used so that virtually any analog and/or medical signal can be digitized from a common point of contact to a plurality of sensors. A general-purpose data routing and encapsulation architecture supports input tagging and standardized routing through modern packet switch networks, including the Internet; from one of multiple points of origin or patients, to one or multiple points of data analysis for physician review. The preferred architecture further supports multiple-site data buffering for redundancy and reliability, and real-time data collection, routing, and viewing (or slower than real-time processes when communications infrastructure is slower than the data collection rate). Routing and viewing stations allow for the insertion of automated analysis routines to aid in data encoding, analysis, viewing, and diagnosis.