October 27, 2020

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India launches telemedicine platform for healthcare delivery

Under the National Health Mission (NHM), the government is providing support to states and union territories to strengthen their healthcare systems, including teleconsultation services based on the requirements posed by each state in their Program Implementation Plans (PIPs).

The eSanjeevani telemedicine solution developed by the Centre for Development of Advanced Computing CDAC, Mohali is being rolled out under the Ayushman Bharat-Health and Wellness Centre program. The application is compatible with advanced technologies like the internet-of-things (IoT) and Bluetooth-enabled diagnostic devices, a press release noted.

By December 2022, through the scheme, 150,000 sub-health centres (SHCs) and rural and urban primary health centres (PHCs) across the country are being transformed into Health and Wellness Centres (AB-HWCs). The aim is to provide comprehensive primary health care (CPHC) that includes preventive and health promotion at the community level. eSanjeevani has been implemented in around 3,000 HWCs.

To provide technical assistance to the states, NHM issued ‘Guidelines for Tele-Medicine Services in Ayushman Bharat – Health and Wellness Centres (HWCs), which provided details about the implementation model, IT infrastructure required at hubs and spokes, and the human resource required. Accordingly, states and union territories will submit their proposals seeking financial support under NHM.

CDAC has been providing regular technical assistance to states for training, handholding, and ensuring uninterrupted operations of the services. eSanjeevani has been modeled after EHR guidelines issued by the Ministry of Health and Family Welfare. The whole architecture of eSanjeevani utilises cloud services for hosting.

eSanjeevani is being continuously upgraded to be compatible with advanced telemedicine tools for the efficient delivery of services. The modalities regarding the integration of telecardiology and teleradiology services are being examined in consultation with the states and CDAC.

Telemedicine implementation at health and wellness centres (spokes) linked with doctors (hubs) have helped address the shortage of healthcare professionals.

In June, the Council of Scientific and Industrial Research (CSIR) national healthcare supply chain portal was launched to provide the real-time availability of critical healthcare supplies.

These products include primary medical supplies, diagnostic instruments and kits, auxiliary supplies, prosthetics and orthotics, dental equipment, PPE, and respiratory assistance devices, among others.

As OpenGov Asia reported earlier, the portal, AarogyaPath, will serve manufacturers, suppliers, and customers. During the present national healthcare emergency, where there is a severe disruption in the supply chain, the ability to produce and deliver the critical items may be compromised.

The integrated public platform provides a single-point availability of key healthcare goods and will be helpful to customers with several routinely experienced issues. Some of these include the dependence on limited suppliers, time-consuming processes to identify high-quality products, limited access to suppliers who can supply standardised products at reasonable prices within required timelines, and a lack of awareness about the latest product launches.

It also helps manufacturers and suppliers reach a wide network of customers efficiently by overcoming gaps in connectivity between them and potential demand centres like nearby pathological laboratories, medical stores, and hospitals.