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Health network boon

Doctors of primary health centres would now be able to take suggestions from their counterparts at district hospitals and medical colleges using telemedicine services.

Keonics, an enterprise of the Karnataka government, would develop the facility under an MoU with the health department inked last year. According to sources in the health department, the service would be started in the government hospitals within a fortnight.

Sources said the department would spend Rs 27 crore to develop this system. The facility would be first available at 100 primary health centres, 22 district hospitals and 11 medical college hospitals.

Among medical college hospitals, the facility would be first started at Patna Medical College and Hospital (PMCH), Indira Gandhi Institute of Cardiology, Anugrah Narayan Medical College and Hospital, Gaya, and Darbhanga Medical College and Hospital.

Talking about how the telemedicine centres would work at primary health centres (PHCs), district hospitals and medical college hospitals, T.A. Lari, the state programme officer, State Health Society, Bihar, said: “All the PHCs and district and medical college hospitals would be provided with a set of machines by Keonics. All the devices would be attached to a computer, in which a software will be installed to transfer the electronic health records to another computer installed at another health centre. All the machines, which would be provided at the hospitals, would have a special electronic device to record the test report and transfer it to the computer.”

Sources said initially the health department had also conceived the idea of connecting government hospitals with reputed private hospitals of other states, including Apollo Hospital (Chennai), Columbia Asia, Fortis Hospital and Jaydeva Hospital (Bangalore) but the plan didn't materialise. “We had a plan of connecting government hospitals with major hospitals like Chennai’s Apollo Hospital and Bangalore’s Fortis Hospital but we were not successful as most private hospitals with whom Keonics contacted didn’t show willingness to tie up with hospitals in Bihar,” said Lari, who is looking after the telemedicine centre programme of the health department.

Sources said patients would be able to avail consultation through the tele-medicine facility at government hospitals in a fixed timeframe.

“We have decided to run the service during the time of outpatient department between 8am to 2pm. We can’t run the service beyond this time because we face manpower shortage,” added Lari

Experts said the telemedicine facility at government hospitals would be no less than a boon.