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Telemedicine - The simple route to Speciality Health Care

Dr. Sanjeev Singh

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Health Change Scenario

Health care is changing by leaps and bounds from Electronic medical record to universal health insurance, from education to sophisticated tele surgery; e-health uses information technology from womb to tomb. The magnitude of the problem in health industry is enormous and extremely dynamic. However, the present day technology has the solution for this problem. The user-friendly equipments make the solution simpler. The only requirement is that the concerned people must have a mind to adopt this.

A meaningful and economical integration of the communication technology, information technology and the medical technology is called Telemedicine. Telemedicine can instantaneously bring to your doorstep the speciality healthcare, no matter where you are. Be it the islands, the hilly terrain, remote places or tribal areas, technologies have been synergised and the concepts have been successfully demonstrated.

Telemedicine system consists of a computer (PC) with customized medical software connected to a few medical diagnostic instruments like ECG or X-Ray Machine or an X-Ray Scanner for scanning the X-Ray photos. Through this computer, which digitizes the X-Ray images and ECG or blood test report, the details are sent to the Specialist hospital through the communication link, which could be a satellite VSAT system, or terrestrial links. This information is, in turn,received at the specialist centre where the specialists examine the reports,diagnose,interact with the patients and suggest appropriate treatment during the video conferencing session through the Telemedicine system.

Telemedicine facility, thus enables the specialist doctor and the patient separated by thousands of kilometers of geographical distance to see each other visually and communicate. This enables the doctor to assess the physical and psychological state of the patient. In this way, the systematic application of information and telecommunication technologies to the practice of healthcare rapidly expands the outreach of the healthcare system. The system have been commissioned and effectively used to treat patients in remote areas. The concept is picking up like wildfire. Obviously the beneficiaries are the people in the remote and rural areas.

Thus Telemedicine is a reality. All that is needed is for the concerned people to apply yheir mind. The systems have to be progressively made more and more user friendly and economical.

When we talk of developing countries like India, we can use this facility right now for Teleconsultation and postoperative consultations without the patients having to travel. But it is also a fact that there are technological developments taking place all over the world. We have the telesurgery, telerobotics, telepathology etc. along with the associated sophisticated equipments and instruments. All these enhance the level of services available to the patients making it possible for patients to get better medical & surgical treatment.


Sr. Medical Administrator, Amrita Institute of Medical Sciences, Kochi

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