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Telemedicine facility at Bowring 'underused'

BANGALORE, Nov 19, 2012, DHNS: 1:04 IST

“Lack of interest” among doctors to feed complete information about patients has resulted in under-utilisation of the telemedicine facility at the State-run Bowring and Lady Curzon Hospital in the City.

At a continuing medical education (CME) programme organised by the hospital here on Monday, Dr K Ravi, Professor of Medicine, said the taluk or the district hospital doctors feed information or send the ECG report, X-ray or CT scan of the patient.

Sometimes, the information is incomplete or the quality of the X-ray or the scan is not good enough for the specialist at the other end to provide a proper diagnoses. “This has become a challenge,” he added.

Attending on a patient through telemedicine is quite time consuming for doctors who do not put in extra efforts to cater to the needs of patients from the rural areas, he observed.

Although the facility was launched in 2004, the telemedicine centre has managed to cater to only 3,286 patients since then. So far, X-rays and CT scans of 1,084 patients and ECG reports of 796 patients have been received and video conference held in 442 cases.

The telemedicine facility faced a major glitch from October 2010 to January 2011 when the satellite signals were down.

In February 2011, Hassan, Shikaripur and Dharwad hospitals were connected with the network.

However, the connection with Hassan and Shikaripur hospitals was lost in June that year. The obstacle was overcome by providing broadband connection.

At the CME programme, doctors from various private hospitals shared their telemedicine expertise in different specialties and the challenges they faced in its implementation.
M Madan Gopal, Principal Secretary, Health and Family Welfare, said despite having the technology to provide best treatment to patients from rural areas, the facility was largely being underused.

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