Telemedicine - Distant Medical Treatment
Infrastructure and Set-up provided by Webel ECS Ltd.
The Government of West Bengal in its journey towards e- governance have undertaken a number of e-governance projects in different Ministries and Departments for implementation and have created the State’s IT backbone – West Bengal State Wide Area Network (WBSWAN) for its use in implementation of several projects. Health is one of the priority sectors of Government of West Bengal. It recognizes that in the delivery of health care services, particularly for the underserved rural, hilly and semi-urban areas Telemedicine could play a significant role by way of augmenting and improving the existing public health care systems and the Government has taken initiatives for the deployment of Telemedicine through execution of few pilot projects in the state Government Hospitals along with indigenous development of the technology.
It was planned to implement several Telemedicine Projects to provide specialists’ services for diagnosis, investigation, monitoring, medical consultation from Medical Colleges and Hospitals/Specialty Centres located mainly in Kolkata to a number of Hospitals in the state. The implementation of the projects was planned to be undertaken by Webel Electronic Communication Systems Ltd (Webel ECS), a State Enterprise under Dept. of IT, Govt. of West Bengal while the technology development activity was planned to be undertaken by Indian Institute of Technology (IIT), Kharagpur .The Telemedicine System was needed to be designed such that it can work with all types of communication links i.e. ISDN, leased line, VSAT including low bandwidth PSTN lines which is the only mode of telecommunication in many rural areas. It has covered various diseases – Tropical diseases, Radiology, Paediatrics, Orthopaedics, General medicine, Cardiology, Neurology, Oncology, HIV, Dermatology, etc. The creation, maintenance and analysis of database and statistics of patients, medical records, continuous upgradation of technology/ systems and imparting training to doctors and paramedic staffs were incorporated as part of the project. It was also planned to make educational and administrative uses of these technologies in the support of the health care such as distance learning, continuing medical education for health practitioners in remote areas.
Three Telemedicine Projects have so far been undertaken in phases which have either been recently handed over or under implementation at a total of six Referral Centres and at ten Nodal Centres in different district / subdivisions of the state of West Bengal covering various diseases. The projects have been funded by Ministry of Communication and Information Technology, Department of Information Technology, Govt. of India.
1. Nil Ratan Sircar MC&H, Kolkata
2. School of Tropical Medicine, Kolkata
3. Burdwan MC&H, Burdwan
4. Calcutta Medical College & Hospital, Kolkata
5. North Bengal Medical College & Hospital, Siliguri
6. Chittaranjan National Cancer Institute, Kolkata
7. SSKM Hospital, Kolkata
8. Habra State General Hospital, North 24 Pgs
9. MJN Sadar Hospital, Coochbehar
10. Midnapore MC&H, Midnapur (W)
11. Deben Mahato Sadar Hospital, Purulia
12. Suri District Hospital, Birbhum
13. Berhampore New General Hospital, Murshidabad
14. Darjeeling District Hospital
15. Arambag Sub divisional hospital, Hoogly
16. Tamluk District Hospital, Midnapur (E)
17. Raigunj District Hospital, Uttar Dinajpur
Webel ECS Ltd is now implementing two R&D based Telemedicine Projects in West Bengal, one for HIV Paediatrics (WEBEMIA) at the ART Centre, Calcutta Medical College & Hospital and another for Neonatal Patients Care (eNPCS) at Neonatal Center, SSKM Hospital, Kolkata. The projects have been funded by Ministry of Communication and Information Technology, Department of Information Technology, Govt. of India.
Webel ECS Ltd has taken up the Web based Telemedicine R&D project [Web enabled Medical Information Access using Handheld Devices in a Wireless environment for Telemedicine Applications (WEBEMIA) for Paediatric HIV Patients at the ART Centre, Calcutta Medical College & Hospital as Referral Centre and Tamluk DH, Coochbehar DH and Raigunj DH as Nodal Centres] which is targeted to work inside as well as outside the Hospital Premises. The system would be completely web enabled and can be used over Internet from anywhere. The Internet based system will enable doctors to provide telemedicine services even when they are on the move and away from the hospital. Further a doctor can use different types of devices like PC, Laptop, PDA, Mobile phone connected to Internet via LAN, WLAN and Cellular network, to access patient records at different hospitals.
Webel ECS Ltd has initiated another Web based Telemedicine R&D project [Deployment of a Web-enabled e-Healthcare System for Neonatal Patient Care Services (eNPCS)] which is targeted to develop an e-healthcare system to support neonatal patient care services. The system will support follow-up of neonatal patients to facilitate long-term patient care and also support indoor patient management along with outdoor patient management. It will also support the Hammersmith Infant Neurological Examination methodology with image, Video data and also analyze the audio characteristics of a baby cry and correlate the expressions/language of needs of the baby. Fig below shows Hammersmith Infant Neurological Examination (HINE).
Webel ECS Ltd implementing a project titled Installation, Commissioning & Maintenance of Video Conferencing unit over IP Network and Deployment of Bandwidth at Swasthya Bhawan Headquarter, one Nodal Unit at SNCU - SSKM Hospital & at eighteen other Referral Units (SNCU) located throughout the State of West Bengal. Sick Newborn Care Unit (SNCU) at eighteen DH/SDH are connected to SNCU of SSKM Hospital through Video Conferencing unit to extend the medical services for sick Newborn Babies. SSKM hospital is the Regional SNCU Center in India. These services also help to reduce the neonatal death rate, length of stay of new born babies in ICU.
In a geographically backward state like Tripura in the North Eastern Region with infrastructural and different other bottlenecks which restricted the fast economical growth of the state, the introduction of Telemedicine in different areas would enable the health care service providers to deliver the basic minimum health care facility to the people of the state. It is to be emphasized that despite of multifarious problems, the state government is committed to deliver Health and Family Welfare services to the doorsteps of all segments of population and also provide better health care facility to the people of the state.
In the state of Tripura, Telemedicine setup has been implemented at 20 hospitals (3 referrals, 17 nodal) in three phases. All the centers are connected with the 3 referral hospitals using 512kbps /2 Mbps leased lines from BSNL. Over 21000 patients were treated in six years (from June, 2005 to June, 2011) using this network. The projects have been funded by Ministry of Communication and Information Technology, Department of Information Technology, Govt. of India.
The details of hospitals name are given below:
1. Govinda Ballav Pant Hospital, Agartala
2. Indira Gandhi Memorial Hospital, Agartala
3. Regional Cancer Center, Agartala
4. Amarpur SDH, South District
5. Kanchanpur SDH, North District
6. Chailengta SDH, Dhalai District
7. Gandacherra SDH, Dhalai District
8. Kathalia PHC, West Tripura
9. Belonia SDH, Dhalai District
10. Kumarghat CHC, North District
11. Sabroom SDH, South District
12. Melaghar SDH, West District
13. Kulai DH, Dhalai District
14. Natunbazar PHC, West District
15. Khowai SDH, West District
16. Takarjala PHC, West District
17. Ompinagar PHC, West District
18. Hrishyamukh PHC, South District
19. Dhamcharra PHC, North District
20. Chawmanu PHC, Dhalai
In appreciation of the achievements / successes in the mission of e-Governance, it has fetched the National e-Governance Award from Govt. of India, Skoch Challengers Award, Manthan – American India Foundation Award etc. Articles on the said projects have been included in the Compilation of Best Practices brought out by the Department of Administrative Reforms and Public Grievances, Govt. of India in the Book titled “Learn from Them” released by our Hon’ble Prime Minister on Civil Service Day – April 21, 2007.