Objectives of Telemedicine
What is Telemedicine.? ...... The use of electronic information and communications technologies to provide and support health care when distance separates the participants.
Institute of Medicine, 1996
Use of information and communication technologies to provide specialised health care consultation to patients in remote locations, to facilitate video-conferencing among health care experts for better treatment and care and to provide opportunities for continuing education of health care personnel.
Relevance of Telemedicine
Inadequte infrastructure in rural/district hospitals.Large number of indoor/outdoor patients requiring referral for specialised care. Low availability of Health Experts in district/remote hospitals. Dearth of adequate opportunities for training or continuing Medical Education for Doctors in Rural/Remote Health facilities.
Telemedicine and information technologies are mere vehicles that permit the delivery of health care services but which have no greater impact on health care than the truck that delivers our groceries has on our nutrition. It is the content of the vehicle that permits effective health care, not the vehicle.
Benefits of Telemedicine
Access to specialised healthcare services to under-served rural, semi-rural and remote areas.
Access to expertise of Medical Specialists to a larger population without physical referral.
Reduced visits to specially hospitals for long term follow-up care for the aged and terminally ill patients.
Continuing education or training through video conferencing periodically.
Reduction in avoidable visits and hospitalisation for specialised care at tertiary hospitals.
Earlier discharge of patients leading to shorter length of stay in hospitals thus optimise bed occupancy level.
Increase in the scope of services without creating physical infrastructure in remote hospitals.
Nodal Hospital connected to Referral Hospital through POTS/ISDN/LEASED LINE/VSAT
Patient under treatment
Pysician treating the patient.
A remote telemedicine console having audio visual and data conferencing facilities.
|An expert / specialised doctor|
A central telemedicine server having audio visual and data conferencing facility
Telemedicine in Karnataka
Telemedicine facilities were started in association with ISRO since 2004.
In the first phase they were started in District hospital Chamarajanagar, Mandya, Tumkur, Chitradurga, Shimoga, Karwara, Chikmagalur, Gadag and Taulk hospitals at Maddur, Sagara and Yadgir. Hub centers (Centres from whom expert advice is given) identified are - Jayadeva Institute of Cardiology, ST. John’s Medical college Hospital, Narayana Hrudayalaya, NIMHANS at Bangalore and JSS Hospital at Myosre.
During 2008-09 in 2nd Phase Telemedicine centres were started at District hospitals- Kolar, Madikeri, Belgaum, Bellary, Dharwad, Davangere, Gulbarga, Udupi, Bijapura & GH Lingasagur, Raichur District. Hub centres at Bowring and Lady Curzon hospital, Indira Gandhi child health Institute, Institute of Nephro & Urology centre. ISRO was unable to continue V-SAT Connectivity due failure of V-Sat in September 2010. Later onwards telemedicine facilities are functioning through Broad band connectivity.
In 2013-14 through Keonics with the help of KSWAN connectivity from e-govrnance department connectivity established to all the centres along with new centers, they are Wenlock Hospital Mangalore, District hospital Koppal, Haveri & General Hospital Hospete. New hub centres are Kidwai Institute of Oncology, Karnataka Diabetic centre and K.R. hospital, Mysore. 34,624 patients were given expert advice through telemedicine during 2013-14.
As announced in the Budget during 2015-16, Taluk and district level hospitals will be linked to medical colleges through tele-medicine. With this, opportunity will be provided to the doctors of taluk and district level hospitals in providing good treatment to the patients by getting advice of the expert doctors in the medical colleges. State Government is contemplating to facilitate telemedicine facilities in two or three districts initially during this year.
By installing digital software in the high frequency x-ray machines of the taluk and district hospitals, action will be taken to get the opinion and advice of experts by way of sending the x-ray reports to the higher level hospitals through tele-radiology.
Tele facilities can also be utilised for activities associated with following facilities which are being set up.
- With a view to prevent female foeticide in the state, real time data will be documented through internet from all ultra-sound scanning centres, which will be monitored till delivery.
- e-hospital software will be implemented in all the hospitals of the state with a view to document and utilize the health information of every patient visiting Government hospitals in the state. This will help improving the administration of health care to the patients.
- Five laboratories will be established in the state at Bellary, Hubli, Bagalkot, Mysore and Mangaluru for detection of communicable diseases like H1N1, Dengue, Malaria, Chikunguniya.