Telemedicine soon across Maharashtra

Project planned with ISRO should have started in June last year; now, initial phase will connect via satellite premier medical colleges and hospitals to patients at eight or nine district hospitals. Two years after it was first proposed to link the city’s premier KEM hospital with four district hospitals, the telemedicine project planned with the Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO) is now being extended to centres across the state. In a month’s time, the initial phase of the project will connect via satellite premier medical colleges to patients at eight or nine district hospitals. “The King Edward Memorial (KEM) hospital project is now being extended and will start functioning soon. Almost 15 hospitals have already been connected. KEM hospital, JJ hospital, and medical colleges in the Pune, Aurangabad and Nagpur will be offering expert advice to the district hospitals,” said Dr Prakash Doke, director of health services, Maharastra. In the initial plan, super-speciality KEM Hospital in Parel was to be connected to the civic-run V N Desai Hospital in Santacruz and district hospitals at Latur, Beed, Nandurbar and Sindhudurg. Experts at KEM would, through satellite communication, offer consultation and advice to the team at these centres, serving a dual advantage of avoiding patients’ trips to Mumbai and adding to the skills and knowledge at the district hospitals. This project, to have been started in June last year, was delayed for varied reasons though the installation of the equipment had been complete. According to state health officials, the project has now been undertaken under the National Rural Health Mission and is being extended across the state. Apart from KEM Hospital, Mumbai’s JJ Hospital and the medical colleges of Pune, Aurangabad and Nagpur will be the regional centres to be connected to district hospitals. “The project completion for ISRO is March next year, but the initial phase of the project linking up eight or nine hospitals is set to begin next month,” said Dr Doke. Thanks to this first state telemedicine project, for a patient with a complicated cardiac condition or an accident victim in Beed, the doctor just moved closer home. At the regional centres, doctors will receive results of medical tests, X-ray and other reports from the set-ups in the district hospitals. While the telemedicine systems


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