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Telemedicine - The simple route to Speciality Health Care

Dr. Sanjeev Singh

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Challenges and Issues

Medical Community should adapt to the changes in health field to reach out. They need to create awareness among doctors, health administrators and public, include Telemedicine as an integral part of training and education. Telemedicine is no more expensive but a financially viable funding and self-sustaining plan of implementation should be developed. Members of cooperatives or family group insurances coupled with telemedicine and involvement of specialty hospitals could play an important role. There needs to be a framework to deal with medico legal issues arising out of telemedicine consultations. There is a freedom of the patient to select any doctor and move with patient record for primary or secondary opinion, which will be restricted by telemedicine consults. Rural patients normally seek treatment from local doctor and then move to district hospital. By creating a National Telemedicine Grid, patient record can be accessed by any doctor at any terminal to maintain continuity of care.

Telemedicine for Primary Care

A comprehensive plan of action had to be evolved to deliver an integrated package of “grass-root” Telemedicine services, including limited teleconsultation, simple telediagnostic ,telecoordination and tele-education. Additionally the system may be employed to improve the quality and efficiency of the existing MIS (Management Information System). This will thereby provide a workable model of telemedicine which is representative of the actual need in the field.

Major areas of application, identified are:

  1. Routine consultation with specialist for any major illness-bringing specialist in close proximity to the distant community.
  2. Emergency obstetric care.
  3. Emergency trauma care.
  4. Any acute illness.
  5. Follow-up for chronic illness.

Health Education

One of the most important concepts of primary healthcare is that of health education. Awareness forms the basic crux of any efficient health care system. The telemedicine may be used efficiently for enhancing the effectiveness of IEC (Information, Education and Communication) strategies under several national and local health programmes. This would not only increase the knowledge of the intended beneficiaries but also help the programme managers to deliver the services effectively. Another component that can be tapped is Continuing Medical Education for the healthcare providers. Skill imparting sessions may also be undertaken via Telemedicine and improve the quality of healthcare.


In this era of constant change, medical field is undergoing rapid transformations and the healthcare providers must be kept abreast of the recent advances and development.

There are different challenges and issues in the implemetation of Telemedicine systems and network and they can be categorized under technical, managerial, ethical, legal and financial aspects and they need to be addressed systematically for establishing a successful telemedicine network. An integrated effort by all agencies is required to promote telemedicine to make our community healthier and to reach out to the remote areas and deprived people for specialist advice.

Dr. Sanjeev Singh: 09447133964,
[email protected]

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

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