The Telegraph
Wednesday , November 28 , 2012
Since 1st March, 1999
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Distant dose for rural healthcare

- Tele-medicine facility in 38 districts

Residents of remote villages in Bihar can soon have access to medical advice from experts in cities such as Bangalore and Chennai even without moving an inch outside their native places.

State Health Society, Bihar, on Tuesday signed a memorandum of understanding with Keonics, an enterprise of the Karnataka government. According to the deal, Keonics will set up tele-medicine delivery centres in 212 primary health centres across the state and 38 district hospitals with a central unit in Patna.

All the tele-medicine delivery centres would be connected with an e-governance system. At the delivery centres, which would come up at various PHCs and the district hospitals, patients would get medical consultations from experts in far-off cities through video conference.

Keonics has tied up with several leading hospitals across the country like Apollo in Chennai and Columbia Asia, Fortis and Jaydeva Hospital in Bangalore.

“Villagers seeking consultation of expert doctors at these reputed hospitals would have to pay a nominal fee,” said Sanjay Singh, executive director of the State Health Society, Bihar.

He added that the total expenditure of the project would be around Rs 28 crore. “We will spend around Rs 6 lakh to set up each tele-medicine delivery centre, while Rs 58 lakh will be spent for setting up the central unit in Patna,” Singh said.

The State Health Society, Bihar, chief admitted that the people in most of the villages do not have access to quality healthcare.

“Inadequacy of doctors is a problem plaguing various PHCs of the state. Even today, villagers have to depend on hospitals in cities for better treatment. They have to cover long distances to reach such hospitals. On many occasions, the patients fail to reach the hospitals on time,” he added.

K-Two Technology Solutions, founded by Dr Anant R. Koppar who had done his doctoral research in affordable and accessible healthcare system for rural India, had conceived the technology way back in 2007. It has set up similar facilities in Maharashtra and Karnataka over the years.

Koppar, the chairperson-cum-CEO of K Two Solutions, said: “One of the unique features of the tele-medicine delivery centres would be that the facilities would store electronic medical records of the patients. The records would be sent to the doctors by using the e-governance system.”

He added: “This would help the doctors concerned to treat patients in a better way. The tele-medicine delivery system would be equipped with special softwares that would be able to detect communicable diseases like tuberculosis and malaria in less than 30 minutes by using ima-ge processing techniques.”

Singh said the state government could not provide the facility free of cost. “But we can assure the villagers that they would need to spend a meagre amount for the service. We are, however, planning free service for families belonging to the Below Poverty Line,” he added.

villages in sight


Tele-medicine delivery units at 212 primary health centres (PHCs) across Bihar and 38
district hospitals with a central unit in Patna

Bihar State Health Society and Keonics, an enterprise of Karnataka government


Tele-medicine delivery centres would be connected with e-governance system


Keonics has entered into deals with hospitals like Apollo in Chennai and Columbia Asia, Fortis and Jaydeva Hospital in Bangalore for service