The Telegraph
Monday , March 10 , 2014
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Help to surgery & classes over Net

- IGIMS mulls telemedicine facility for doctors and students

Indira Gandhi Institute of Medical Sciences doctors would be able to take the help of their counterparts at AIIMS-New Delhi in case of any difficulty in surgeries, thanks to a telemedicine facility.

The MBBS students at the city’s health cradle would also be able to sit through lectures of faculty members of All India Institute of Medical Sciences (AIIMS)-New Delhi, and other premier medical colleges at the click of a mouse. Indira Gandhi Institute of Medical Sciences, Patna, has started negotiations on starting the telemedicine facility.

Usually, telemedicine facility refers to patients in remote districts being able to consult with doctors over telecommunication services. IGIMS, however, is mulling a telecommunication link for its doctors and students with premier health institutions in the country.

According to sources, N.R. Biswas, the IGIMS director, has taken the initiative and already initiated talks with AIIMS-New Delhi officials.

He confirmed to The Telegraph: “We have decided to start the telemedicine facility at the hospital. I have had positive talks with the officials of AIIMS-Delhi regarding this matter and I would soon visit the hospital. I am not only trying to connect the IGIMS with AIIMS-Delhi but also with other noted hospitals. It will be a big achievement for us if we can accomplish this.”

On the telemedicine facility, he added: “At present, we are developing the infrastructure necessary to start the facility. Telemedicine is the use of telecommunication by which clinical information can be shared through videoconferencing.”

Early this year, the government started telemedicine services at Patna Medical College and Hospital, district hospitals and primary health centres among others. Prior to that, such facilities were not available in any government or private hospitals.

Keonics, an enterprise of the Karnataka government, has developed the facilities in the government-run health institutions in Bihar under a memorandum of understanding it signed with the health department last year.

Sources in the health department said the department has decided to spend Rs 27 crore for providing telemedicine facility in all the state-run health institutions.

According to the deal, Keonics would set up telemedicine delivery centres in 212 primary health centres across the state and 38 district hospitals with a central unit in Patna. The delivery centres, located at various primary health centres and the district hospitals, would be connected with an e-governance system. Patients would get medical consultations from experts in far-off cities through videoconferencing. The Karnataka government enterprise has tied up with several leading hospitals across the country like Apollo in Chennai and Columbia Asia, Fortis and Jaydeva Hospital in Bangalore.

Doctors of IGIMS are excited about the availability of the telemedicine facility at the hospital.

“The new director, N.R. Biswas, has told us that he has taken steps to start the telemedicine facility at the hospital. I don’t know how much the plan has progressed but if the telemedicine facility is available at IGIMS, it would be extremely helpful for the patients as well as the students of IGIMS,” said Ashok Kumar, a doctor with the neuromedicine department of IGIMS.

He added: “It would be great if IGIMS students are able to access lectures of faculty members of other medical colleges. Students and doctors read about relevant research work after several months, but these virtual classes would help IGIMS students watch the live telecast of the research at other medical colleges. If doctors find any difficulty during surgeries, they can also consult doctors of AIIMS-Delhi or other major hospitals through videoconferencing facility.”

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