January 2012

Building Trust in Telemedicine

Dr Jawahar Shah throws light on the workthat Mind Technologies, a company that hefounded, has done for connecting rural and urbanspecialty centres through telemedicine, and byoffering quality preventive and curative services inHomoeopathy

dIgitalhealth

www.mindtechlive.com

Rural India desperately needs Telemedicine. Poor Indianvillagers are often forced to spend comparatively largesums of money on travel to the cities for treatment inspeciality hospitals. According to a study done by the Indian Instituteof Public Opinion, 89 percent of rural Indians are forcedto travel more than 8 kms to receive basic medical treatment.

AYUSH (Ayurveda, Yoga and Naturopathy, Unani, Siddhaand Homoeopathy) was undertaken by the National Institute ofHomeopathy in Kolkata in partnership with a private firm, InfrastructureLeasing and Financial Services Limited (IL&FS), bothof which were working under the Union Ministry of Health andFamily Welfare, Government of India. The team at Mind Technologiessought to harness this power of remote communication andcombine it with homeopathic treatment, which is cost effective,has no side effects, and shows tremendous ability in combatinga wide array of diseases.

dIgitalhealth

The project was implemented at 11 centres in Tripura. A patientliving in remote area of Tripura can approach any one of thesecentres and consult a doctor sitting in a nearby dispensary. If adoctor is not available in the dispensary, a link will be establishedwith the NSS hospital in Tripura or with the National Institute ofHomoeopathy, Kolkata, or to the expert consultation end at MindTechnologies, Mumbai. Upon making a prescription, a trained attendantin the centre dispenses the medicine to the patient.

The project is a massive success. More than 14,000 patientshave been treated since the project began; more than 60 percentof the patients are women.

In future, the team also sought to reduce isolation of ruralmedical practitioners by upgrading their knowledge throughtele-education and tele-CME (Continuous Medical Education),and facilitating full access to medical information through remotetechnology. This has enabled emergency and critical care situationsto be managed in the rural areas itself.

The project will overcome all geographic, economical and socialbarriers faced by the rural citizens and help them in obtainingquality preventive and curative services through homoeopathy.Embarking on a first of its kind telemedicine venture, Mind Technologieshas meaningfully touched the lives of more than 14,300people in rural Tripura. Not only has this initiative provided healthcareto the poor and needy, it has also opened new avenues inthe health industry, the government authorities, and the masses. Ithas already started the process of acceptance of homeopathy.

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