Telemedicine (Tele = Distance ~ Medicine) is a concept of providing healthcare to patients over telephone instead of the patient having to travel long distances at enormous costs. Telemedicine generally refers to the use of communications and information technologies for the delivery of clinical care.

A man in a distant village with a mouth ulcer desperately wants an expert opinion whether the ulcer is cancerous. He chews tobacco and is aware that this can cause cancer. In case it indeed is, he has to visit a cancer specialist to get it examined.

With the latest technology at our disposal, it is possible to transport the patient virtually to a specialist - in the form of patient reports, x-rays, etc. One can get the doctor's opinion at a fraction of the cost and the time taken will also be less. For instance, in the above example, only the patient's biopsy slides need to be transmitted to a specialist pathologist anywhere. The specialist can, if required, manipulate the position of the slide to enable him to make right diagnosis.

Benefits of Tele Medicine
» The patient saves time and money for availing expert opinion
» The health centers maintain records in an organized fashion
» Disease prevalence /epidemics can be detected immediately
» The Organisation doctors can be kept updated through the physicians' network
» ANMs get online training as well as advice while dealing with tricky or difficult cases.
» Immunization records, maintenance of child health, HIV/AIDS prevention and other public health programmes can be followed up more diligently.

Process documentation involved
» A simple reporting format is designed which is maintained at both ends to track the patients and their subsequent follow-ups. This document is maintained at the ANM and operator's end.
» A referral slip is also given to the patients. All the patients who are referred for immediate medical attention are referred through this slip, and the patient is tracked by our supervisor who travels in the bus.

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