Intel helping healthcare reach rural Karnataka

Bangalore: Global chip maker Intel has initiated a joint telemedicine programme to take benefits of healthcare to rural Karnataka in association with the state government, a senior company official said Friday.

"We have provided IT infrastructure and offsite technical resources at the Angodu primary healthcare centre and Harihara taluk hospital in Davangere district to bring healthcare benefits to the rural population through telemedicine," Intel South Asia director Gopal Swaminathan said in a statement here.

State-run Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO) pioneered telemedicine facility in 2001 to deliver healthcare services in remote, distant and under-served regions across the country using its communications satellite transponders and IT with biomedical engineering and medical sciences.

Indian IT bellwether Tata Consultancy Services (TCS) and S.N. Informatics Ltd have also joined Intel to enhance the scope of clinical diagnostics.

"As part of our initiative to bring the benefit of technology to rural people, we have invested our resources in the healthcare project to change people`s lives through technology," Swaminathan said.

Using telemedicine, Intel has been able to transmit a patient`s medical records, including images, to doctors at Narayana Hrudayalaya on the outskirts of Bangalore for investigations by its cardiac surgeons and other specialists.

Telemedicine allows transmission of services, including diagnosis and consultation remotely. Doctors and physicians from cities and towns can connect to healthcare centers in remote areas through a networked environment that makes patient data available online through interactive audio and video facilities.

"Our novel initiative aims at bringing the latest developments in medicine to remote villages and towns across the country," Swaminathan noted.

The Intel project has helped the rural hospitals in Davangere, about 260 km from Bangalore, to save many lives and avoid patients from travelling far distances for diagnosing their ailments or illness.

"Rural people have access to the ECG (electrocardiogram) scan facility in the hospital free of cost. Anyone found suffering from serious ailment or illness goes through the ECG scan and its report is referred online to expert doctors at Hrudayalaya for treatment," Harihara taluk hospital medical officer S. Asha said.

The telemedicine project has the potential to provide specialised healthcare to millions of people in the countryside economically and pave the way for improving health standards of the rural population.


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