The state health and family welfare department is joining hands with Apollo Hospitals to provide free telemedicine services to urban and rural population.
The initiative includes the upgradation of 164 urban primary health centres (UPHC) to E-UPHCs. The state has undertaken this venture under public-private partnership (PPP) mode. As per plans in 2016, every UPHC centre would cater to 60,000 people with services such as telemedicine, diagnostics, and specialist consultation.
In February this year, the e-eye kendram project was launched under mukhyamantri. In other such developments, the state government introduced teleophthalmology facilities under PPP mode in 115 centres. This has benefited about 1.3 lakh people. As many as 51,000 spectacles to correct refractive errors are distributed every month.
Speaking on the services, vice-president of Apollo Tele-health services Prem Anand said, “Through digitised healthcare, we are extending our expertise and services beyond our hospitals. We are trying to reach out to persons who belong to the economically weak sections from far flung and rural areas. These persons do not have easy access to hospitals and specialist consultations.
We are training manpower for telemedicine service. We plan to serve 13.2 million people in three years focussing on quality and efficiency.”
The telemedicine services mainly cater to general medicine, pre-natal and post-natal care, specialities like endocrinology, orthopaedics and cardiology, immunization and so on. Even though government hospitals and health centres exist, there may not be adequate skilled doctors to conduct preliminary diagnostics and counsel for primary health care.
As per the National Family Health Survey-4 data, 55 percent of households do not generally use government health facilities and 45% of them said there was no facility in their vicinity. Notably, 48% said they feel the quality of care in government facilities is not upto the standard.