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Telemedicine at Primary Health Centres, Tamil Nadu
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Subject Area="Access to service and coverage." Objective="Scope and quality of primary health centre services."
Details for Reform Option "Telemedicine at Primary Health Centres, Tamil Nadu"
Summary

Action: The Government of Tamil Nadu, under the Reproductive and Child Health (RCH) programme, introduced telemedicine at Primary Health Centres (PHCs) thereby linking PHCs with the nearest medical college hospital for patient consultation over the internet. The setup consists of a computer with a printer, speaker phones and a camera which is connected to the internet via cable (broadband connection is expected in rural areas late 2004/early 2005). A couple of PHC staff such as the health inspectors are trained to operate the computer and set up consultation timings with the hospital doctor/specialist. One specialist doctor is available at the hospital between 9 am and 1pm and other specialists can be called on to view a patient over the web if necessary. At other times, the enquiries can be forwarded through e-mail. The hospital can cater to 5 PHCs at a time. This facility is made available from the Health & Family Welfare department’s webpage. Results: Still to be ascertained at the time of writing as it was still a very new initiative.

Cost Computer equipment costs Rs. 2 lakh at each PHC. Other costs would involve training of PHC and hospital staff.
Place Three PHCs in Theni district and 4 in Madurai district, Tamil Nadu since July 2004.
Time Frame Procurement of computer systems: Two months. Training of PHC paramedics: One month.
Advantages

Economical: In terms of time and cost of travel to a hospital for a second opinion. Service extended: Referral process strengthened and specialist advice available at PHC level.

Challanges

Coverage: Possible only where telephone lines and reliable internet connectivity is available.

Prerequisites

Telephone lines and internet connectivity. Trained manpower. Computer equipment.

Who needs to be consulted

State and district level government staff, PHC and hospital doctors.

Risks

Sustainability

Sustainable as it is not so costly once the initial equipment is in place.

Chances of Replication

Replicable similar scheme is being implemented in Madhya Pradesh.

Comments

None.

Contact

Submitted By

Sara Joseph, Researcher, ECTA, New Delhi. September 2004.

Status Active
Reference Files
PROD84.jpg Health inspector at T. Kallupatty PHC, Madurai district demonstrating telemedicine equipment. (15 September, 2004)
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