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Telemedicine project proves to be a boon to tribal people of Kinnaur and Lahaul & Spiti

(Shimla, August 7, 2016) The telemedicine project launched by the Himachal government has come up as a big respite to the patients of snowbound and remote villages of the tribal district of Lahaul and Spiti as they are now getting access to specialised medical services without having to travel long distance for medical examination, especially in emergency.

A Spokesperson of the State government said here today that telemedicine healthcare services were being presently used through healthcare professionals in Lahaul-Spiti and Kinnaur districts, where distance was a critical factor by using ICT (information & communication technology) for exchange of information on diagnosis, treatment and prevention of disease and injuries. In future, the project would be extended to other parts of the state as well, which would go a long way in providing specialised health care services up to the far-flung and inaccessible areas of the state.

He said the state government had launched this project keeping in mind the shortage of specialist doctors and tough geographical locations of the tribal areas. The telemedicine system consist of customised hardware and software at both the patient and specialist doctor ends with some of the diagnostic equipment like ECG monitors, X-ray machines and pathology microscopes/cameras provided at the patient end.

He said Apollo Hospitals have been roped in for implementing this project and people living in this tribal area are connected through satellite to specialists of Apollo Hospital sitting in New Delhi and Hyderabad. Due to lack of specialists, this highly specialized doctor service has been a big success to connect patients with physicians.

Two centres are being run in Lahaul and Spiti district under telemedicine project one at Keylong and another at Kaza. So far, 4365 patients have been provided treatment under this project which includes 288 emergency cases. The telemedicine facility has especially helped the local doctors to successfully treat the emergency and medicine cases in consultation with the specialists. Immediate and specialised medical treatment has helped in saving a number of precious lives so far.

The Spokesperson said one such emergency case was successfully treated on Saturday in Kaza telemedicine centre. A person named Raj Kumar was diagnosed with superaventricular tachycardia (SVT) disease along-with very high blood pressure and heart rate. For the first time doctors used defferlader technique in the Kaza centre and the life of the patient was saved.

He said the doctors and nursing staff had been given special training to deal the emergency cases and separate operation theatre has also been set up to treat such cases. The specialists from Apollo hospitals also visit these telemedicine centres in regular interval of time. A special camp were organised at Keylong and Kaza under the supervision of specialist doctors including gynecologist, neurosurgeon, orthopedician. As many as 234 cases were examined at Keylong and 222 at Kaza centre.

The telemedicine project is also being implemented at IGMC, Shimla for research and evaluation as well as for continuing education of healthcare providers in consultation with the specialists from PGIMER, Chandigarh, SGPGI Lucknow and AIIMS, New Delhi. Dr. RPGMC Tanda has also been linked with IGMC Shimla under this project.

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