If we succeed, it could be an ideal model to take telemedicine across India, especially to rural areas where doctors cannot reach. –
Mr Kaveh Safavi of Cisco T.E. Raja Simhan
Cisco Systems and Apollo Hospitals are jointly working on a telemedicine project to help doctors connect with patients through a laptop or any other mobile device from anywhere in the world — in contrast with the current concept of ‘telemedicine’ that calls for a ‘room’ with the necessary infrastructure.
“This is an experiment to create a completely different kind of telemedicine model,” said Mr Kaveh Safavi, Vice-President and Global Lead, Healthcare Practice Internet Business Solutions Group, Cisco, a global networking company.
Mr Safavi feels availability of quality bandwidth will be crucial for the project. “If we succeed, it could be an ideal model to take telemedicine across India, especially to rural areas where doctors cannot reach,” he told Business Line. With around 10,000 telemedicine locations, the Chennai-based Apollo is an interesting global example on telemedicine implementation, said Mr Safavi, who works with leaders in the healthcare and life sciences industries to design and deliver healthcare to customers.
At present, patients wait for consultation in Apollo’s affiliate remote office sites. While doctors attend to their normal routine in the clinics, they also visit the telemedicine room where patients are in video conference.
But doctors having to stay put in the clinic limits the number of cases they can handle through telemedicine, feels Mr Safavi. Apollo now wants a solution that will enable doctors to participate from home from their desktops, or any other mobile environment, and connect to a location that is not confined to just office location.
Another key issue in telemedicine is, how does the doctor examine a patient in a remote location? How does he connect a cardiogram or any other medical device, check the blood pressure and document medical records? These issues need to be addressed.
The issue is not about transitioning from having a physical infrastructure, such as a hospital, and expanding it but to cut it out and go to telemedicine directly and get the same kind of quality that one can get in an urban-set up, he said.