Indian space programme has multi-dimensions, providing significant infrastructure for national development in the vital areas like telecommunication, television broadcasting, meteorological observations and generating timely and accurate data on natural resources management. More recently, it has brought in revolutionary progress in education and public health domain. Today, the fruits of space research are reaching the common man and society, touching their daily life, be it a fisherman, a farmer, a student, a patient from a remote area, an administrator, a policy maker or a person struck in a natural disaster. In the recent years, ISRO has undertaken important applications programmes for societal benefits; one such example is being Telemedicine.
The telemedicine network of ISRO began in 2001 with a vision to extend technological support to provide quality medical services to needy patients across the country. In this pursuit, ISRO had provided dedicated satellite bandwidth, state-of-art satellite communication equipment, telemedicine hardware and software to various hospitals/medical colleges. The network is satellite based, with the central hub of the network located in Bengaluru.
The one-to-many Continuing Medical Education (CME) facility was introduced in the Telemedicine network by incorporating TrainNet, a Learning Management System (LMS). The TrainNet server is installed at the Telemedicine hub, Bengaluru. The Teacher Component of TrainNet has the capability to deliver the live audio/video of the presenter and power point presentation to all the receiving nodes. The lecture originating from one node can be received by all the nodes which have Student Component of TrainNet. Besides, the lecture originating node can have live audio-video interaction with remote student nodes, which is re-transmitted on the network, thus creating a ‘Virtual Classroom’.
This facility will help hospitals and medical institutions to share their experiences and best practices with each other. As this is a satellite-based network, any node on the network can be a lecture originating node after installation of Teacher Component.
CME session is conducted from Development and Educational Communication Unit (DECU) -ISRO, by inviting Ahmedabad-based specialist doctors to DECU studio. Started in November 2014, around 2300 doctors/medical professionals from various hospitals and medical institutes have participated in the last 7 CME sessions. Live audio-video interaction was done between the specialist doctors in a studio and the participants at remote locations. Around 130 questions were asked by various hospitals and medical colleges, in addition, medical cases were also discussed during the seven CME sessions.
With this CME initiative, ISRO’s Telemedicine programme has further improvised to benefit medical practitioners/doctors and is enhancing the utility of the network in service of society.