Telemedicine Centres set up by Apollo

Apollo has set up over 85 Telemedicine Centres across different locations in India , Pakistan, Srilanka, Middle East. Apollo currently has many more are in the pipeline. Apollo has worked with different kinds of entities in the healthcare industry ranging from large Corporate hospitals and Government hospitals to small clinics and Information Centres. Apollo has the expertise to execute different kinds of Telemedicine projects. A sampling of our centers is given..

Apollo’s initiative in Kohima : A Case Example

Apollo Hospitals in coordination with Ministry of Information Technology (MoIT), Nagaland State Government and Marubeni India Pvt. Ltd. (sponsored by the Government of Japan through NEDO) has set up a Telemedicine Centre on a turnkey basis in Naga Hospital, Kohima in the state of Nagaland. The need of the hour was to provide specialty health services to the remote areas of Nagaland and other regions in the North East.

Kohima is the capital of the state of Nagaland and is located on a hilly terrain where accessibility is difficult either by road or by air. The only hospital in Kohima did not have adequate medical equipment and specialist doctors. These were some of the main reasons why Kohima was chosen to set up this Telemedicine Centre.

The services rendered by Apollo Hospitals for this project is as follows:

  • Implementation of Telemedicine Consulting Centre.
  • Sourcing out medical equipment for the Telemedicine Centre.
  • Interfacing medical equipment with the Telemedicine set-up.
  • Setting up Operational Procedures and Protocols for the TCC.
  • Training Hospital Staff on Telemedicine usage.
  • Providing Multi-specialty Consultation from Apollo Delhi.

The various medical equipment installed are as follows:

  • X-ray
  • Color Doppler
  • 12 lead ECG
  • Transtelephonic ECG
  • TMT
  • PFT
  • Ultrasound
  • Pathological Microscope

3 ISDN lines have been enabled for the Naga Hospital Telemedicine Centre and teleconsultancies and CME’s take place with Apollo Indraprastha Hospital, New Delhi.

This project is now being considered as a pilot project and a role model for similar kind of Telemedicine Centres in the other states of the North East.

This Telemedicine project has been widely accepted by the people of Kohima and surrounding areas. There has been a tremendous amount of goodwill that has been generated due to the fact that many patients have been successfully treated utilizing the Telemedicine set up. In a short span of a few months, more than 60 patients have consulted with specialists in Apollo Indraprastha Hospitals, Delhi while more than 800 patients have utilized the various diagnostic equipment, which is part of the Telemedicine Consulting Centre.

Doctors of the hospital now have access to their counterparts and feel less isolated than before. Doctors in Kohima are very excited about the CME’s that have been conducted with Apollo Indraprastha Hospital. The Government of Nagaland has recognized the positive results of the Telemedicine Centre and is very keen on setting up Telemedicine Consulting Centres in other parts of Nagaland.

Example: Aragonda - A Rural Healthcare Model

Aragonda is a remote village in the Chittoor district of Andhra Pradesh having local Registered Medical Practitioners and the Mandalam Primary Health Center, manned by a single registered doctor, who delivers healthcare services to all the adjoining villages of the Thavanampalle Mandalam. There were no diagnostic facilities at Aragonda. Local General Practitioners depended on Chittoor and Vellore for clinical/laboratory evaluations.

Aragonda was selected to become our first Telemedicine Center because Aragonda was also like any other typical Indian village with only the basic medical facilities. The major occupation of the people of Aragonda and surrounding areas is agriculture. The ailments were seasonal; during summer ailments were of malarial nature and during monsoons, water borne diseases were rampant. It did not have sufficient doctors and medical facilities to provide secondary and tertiary care.

Keeping these factors in view, Apollo decided to start its pilot Telemedicine project in Aragonda by connecting Aragonda to the Apollo hospitals in Hyderabad and Chennai hospitals, thereby bringing tertiary care at their doorsteps. Incidentally, Aragonda is India’s first Rural Telemedicine Station.

A 50-bedded hospital was set up in Aragonda with state of the art equipment, which included CT Scan, Ultrasound, X-ray and an array of medical personnel to give good secondary care facilities.

A Telemedicine Center was also set up to facilitate one to one interaction between the doctor and the specialists located either in Apollo, Hyderabad or Chennai. Since its inception, the Aragonda project is doing extremely well taking valuable second opinion via satellite from Chennai and using the land line from Hyderabad.

Aragonda Telemedicine was first viewed by Mr. Bill Clinton, former President of the United Stated of America in March 2000 during his visit to Hyderabad. He viewed a live teleconsultation between Aragonda and Apollo Hospitals, Hyderabad. Mr. Pramod Mahajan inaugurated the Aragonda Telemedicine Center in April 2000.

Rural healthcare professionals who use Telemedicine at Aragonda today feel less isolated from medical colleagues and resources. In this model Telemedicine is simply a tool used to extend the hospital’s referral base and is not a profit mechanism. Costs and limitations on technology are considerably reduced.

Results of this Pilot study thus led to a consensus that enough evidence exists to justify incorporating Telemedicine as a “model of care” not just for the Aragonda Hospital but to many more villages and towns that lack access to medical care.

Telemedicine is being implemented as a part of a large network world over. The solution designed is communication channel independent with protocols of world standard.

We have seen this as a shift from a reliance on communication to a reliance on information in the ordinary practice of medicine. Healthcare information technology is shifting from process driven computing to network computing. Apollo has taken the lead in bringing Telemedicine to the districts and villages of India by implementing seven Centers and many more in the pipeline.

In other words, there are great expectations for the future of Telemedicine. Telemedicine projects are considered to benefit all local authorities (cheaper specialized services), hospitals, primary health care Centers (improved service, increased supply of top expertise), patients (changes in state of health and quality of life, savings in costs and time), health care personnel (increased proficiency).