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IT-based healthcare systems launched

Special Correspondent

Remote villages getting benefit of medical sciences through SatCom: ISRO chief

— Photo: Vino John

N. Bhaskara Narayana, Director, Satellite Communications ISRO, receives the MV Arunachalam Endowment Oration Award on behalf of Madhavan Nair, ISRO chairman from M. V. Murugappan, Trustee, Vellayan Charitable Trust in Chennai on Saturday. A. Vellayan, (extreme left) Director, Marketing, Murugappa Group and Krishnamoorthy Srinivas, Chairman, Institute of Neurological Sciences, VHS, look on.

CHENNAI: Three important initiatives straddling technology and medicine and building an interface between the two were launched at the Indian Institute of Technology here on Saturday.

NeuroDbase, a unique customised electronic medical record system for Indian Neurologists, Neuropsychiatry Online, a joint effort by the Neurosciences India Group and IIT Madras to provide internet-based counselling to people living in rural areas and, a unique public portal for health related information were released by Baskara Narayana, Director, Satellite Communication, Indian Space Research Organisation. The occasion was the M.V. Arunachalam Endowment Lecture on Space Technology for Bridging the Health Divide.

Introducing NeuroDbase, E.S. Krishnamoorthy, vice-chairman and director (Neurosciences) Voluntary Health Services, said it was an EMR customised to Indian setting, enabling the collection and categorisation of neuro-psychological data. The history and physical examination of the patient, details about the investigations conducted on him/her, the neuro-ability assessment can all be recorded online.

According to A. Jhunjhunwala, head, department of Electrical Engineering and TeNet, IIT, Neuropsychiatry Online hoped to take healthcare deeper into rural areas.

C.V. Krishnaswami, Voluntary Health Services, said was an effort to provide medical information authenticated by experts to the general public. The project would be completed in three months. He invited doctors to join the network to provide unbiased information to the common man.

M.S. Anant, director, IIT, Madras, said the IT revolution was profound and had generated more commerce and business than any other system. The linking of medicine and IT was a great boon.

In the absence of Madhavan Nair, Chairman, ISRO, who was to deliver the oration, his speech was read out by Mr. Narayana. He also received on Mr. Nair's behalf the Endowment Oration award from M.V. Murugappan, trustee, Vellayan Chettiar Trust.

Rural people benefited

The advent of communication technology, especially SatCom, has enabled taking the benefit of medical sciences to a large section of people spread out in remote and inaccessible villages, said Mr. Nair.

Since 2001, when the space-based telemedicine network was established, ISRO has been providing telemedicine technology and connectivity between rural/remote hospitals and super speciality hospitals and connectivity for mobile telemedicine units in rural areas, especially in the areas of ophthalmology and community health. Starting as a point-to-point system connecting the doctor and the patient alone, it has evolved into multipoint connectivity through servers, linking remote hospitals, rural units and super speciality hospitals in different parts of the country.

ISRO initiatives

Listing the initiatives taken by ISRO, Mr. Nair said that an impact study conducted on 1,000 patients showed that they had saved 81 per cent of the cost because of savings in travel, stay and treatment at city hospitals. ISRO had also combined with the IT industry to do extensive work in developing software and hardware for medical applications.

The development of technology-based healthcare delivery systems through the satellite medium could substantially augment existing healthcare, especially in rural and remote areas. Attention should now be paid to employ the various technological tools available to rapidly build a strong and healthy nation.

A. Vellayan, director, marketing, Murugappa Group, said the aim of the endowment was to bring to the lay audience accurate information about medicine and also train young professionals.

Krishnamoorthy Srinivas, chairman, Institute of Neurological Sciences, VHS and N.S. Murali, secretary, VHS, participated in the function, organised jointly by the MV Arunachalam Centre for Information and Education in Neurosciences, VHS and TeNet Group, IIT Madras.

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