Tele-medicine programme suspended in absence of internet

Srinagar: The prestigious Tele-medicine program of Sher-i-Kashmir Institute of Medical Science (SKIMS) Soura been suspended Kashmir because of the prevailing internet shutdown for last more than four months.
The Tele-medicine network of SKIMS is running at 11 designated centers including Government Medical Colleges in Jammu and Srinagar, district hospitals of Kathua, Leh, Poonch, Doda, Kupwara Uri and Tanghdar. The programme
runs through video conferencing between specialist doctors of SKIMS Soura and doctors present at 11 designated health centres of far-flung areas along with the patients. It was part of a multi-crore initiative under National
Rural Tele-medicine Network Project formulated by the SKIMS and supported by the government of India
But since August 5, the programme has come to a halt after internet was suspended, affecting patients living in remote areas of the region.
J&K Nodal Officer for Tele-medicine Farooq Ahmad Wani admitted patients are helpless and they have to cover long distances to reach the hospital for mere medical advices. .
“Earlier, patients would come to a designated health centre for simple consultations and follow-up where specialist doctors of SKIMS would advice them remotely through video conferencing,” he said.
However, Wani said, the activity is impossible without the internet facility because the patient data cannot be shared immediately.
“Although, the V-Sat provided by the ISRO is running smoothly at SKIMS but the center cannot connect to the designated health centers in different parts of J&K for one-to-one discussions and treatment of patients due to lack
of internet facilities there,” he told Kashmir Reader.
According to the nodal officer, the history of patients and other related data must reach the specialist doctors at SKIMS before they can tell the prognosis.
“Doctors would share patient history, test reports and other biophysical parameters before going ahead with the treatment. But such activity is not happening because the distant centers are not connected to the network since
August 5,” Wani said.
He said the V-Sat facility is now used for CMEs and other medical education purposes only since two-way communication has been affected.
Medical Superintendent of SKIMS, Dr Farooq Jan said there had been no significant progress in the Tele-medicine services in J&K as the prestigious programme of SKIMS couldn’t reach the remote areas due to lack of facilities
“Now, the internet shutdown came as a new halt. It has further downgraded it. And badly affected the expansion plan also,” he said.

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