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Friday, 13 July 2012

Narayana Hrudayalaya moves out of ISRO satellite for telemedicine, switches to Skype

Narayana Hrudayalaya which pioneered the concept of telemedicine project in the country using Indian Space Research Organization (ISRO) satellite has now switched over to video conferencing through the Skype. The move comes in to keep pace with the significant changes in the telemedicine transmission protocols.
The cardiac care major started telemedicine using ISRO satellite in 2002-2003 and  since then has treated over 53,000 patients in the remote locations.
“Today by far, we have the largest experience in tele-cardiology. We have extended our services with the trans-telephonic ECGs to general practitioners in remote locations and today we get hundreds of ECGs everyday for interpretation from remote locations. But now we are not dependent on ISRO satellite any more. Five years ago, ISRO connected us to 54 cities in Africa through its Pan-African Satellite network. We are using this connectivity to educate healthcare professionals in Africa and also treat patients,” Dr Devi Prasad Shetty, chairman, Narayana Hrudayalaya told Pharmabiz in an email interaction.
“However, now we have switched over to video conference mode through the Skype which is very inexpensive and easily available tool which can be done through laptops and mobile phones. Now we have regular tele-consultation with Skype at Dhaka other than several locations in India,” he added.
Cost of telemedicine has gone down significantly once the internet became ubiquitous and Skype became virtually free. “We are connected to over 100 locations and several hundred ECG installations. However all consultations and treatment for patients via telemedicine is offered entirely free for the patients so there is no business model around telemedicine services. We believe that large hospitals are in a position to offer these services free of cost to reach out the patients and telemedicine should not be projected as a means of business to earn money to make it financially viable,” he said.
Karnataka kicked off its first telemedicine project at the Narayana Hrudayalaya,  to link Chamarajanagar district hospital and the Vivekananda Memorial Hospital, an non-government organisation (NGO) health unit at Saragur in HD Kote Taluk. The Karnataka Health and Family Welfare department financially supported the  project. It was coordinated by the Karnataka State Remote Sensing Applications Centre (KSRSAC).
Pharmabiz had earlier reported that, telemedicine consists of customized medical software integrated with computer hardware along with the diagnostics instruments connected to the VSAT (very small aperture terminal) at each location. The medical record is sent to the specialist doctors who in turn study and provide diagnosis and treatment during video conferencing to the patient. The technology helped patients in far-flung areas to avail timely consultations of specialist doctors without going through the ordeal of travelling long distances. The facility enables transmission of patient's medical records including images, besides providing live two-way audio and video link. With the help of these a specialist doctor or a paramedic at the patient's end can advise on the course of treatment to be followed.

1 comment:

  1. Its good decision for them as ISRO is not able to provide proper teleconnectivity sessions since 2 years. ISRO had such a telemedicine system and hardware which are not user friendly. Also teleconnectivity is limited to hospitals for a fixed time slots which makes patient to be present only at fixed time in telemedicine centres.Till date most hospitals in India are connected only by teleconfrencing (Audio and video only). Telemeidicine instruments and other customised softwares for data transmit is also limited to few hospitals.


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