NEWS: Keonics wins Rs.27 crore-worth project from State Health Society, Bihar

Bangalore-based, Karnataka State Electronics Development Corporation Limited (KEONICS) has been awarded a Rs.27 crore-worth, 3 year, telemedicine project by the Patna-based State Health Society, Bihar (SHSB). Through this project, Keonics will set up a telemedicine network across rural Bihar, considered as the first state implementing telemedicine on such a large scale. Scheduled to begin from February 2013, the Ayush, a department of the Union Health Ministry funded project, is expected to bring healthcare closer to the rural populace who otherwise are deprived of the benefits of modern medicine.

Established in 1976, KEONICS is an ISO 9001 certified, Karnataka government-owned body promoting the adoption of IT and electronics in the state. Employing more than 180 staff, the organization provides solutions for IT consultancy, ERP solutions, software development, IT training and networking, and web portals. The client base of the organization includes the governments of Arunachal Pradesh, Kerala, and Maharashtra and central government organizations like HSCC Limited, Hindustan Shipyard, etc.

KEONICS has partnered with a health IT consultancy and solution provider, KTwo Technology Solutions for carrying out the contract awarded by SHSB, a state owned agency responsible for various health related activities including, managing the funds received from Ministry of Health & Family Welfare and non-governmental organization or Public-Private partnership elements of the National Rural Health Mission of Bihar. According to the terms of agreement, Keonics will provide training for about 250 paramedical staff. A network will also be established between 212 Primary Health Centers (PHCs), where patients will undergo primary medical check-up, and 38 district hospitals that are connected to a unit located in Patna.

Elaborating on the telemedicine network, KTwo Technology Solutions’ founder, Dr Anant R Koppar, says that diagnostic functions such as examination of blood sugar, blood pressure, body temperature, urine, ECG, etc will be conducted at PHCs and the medical record would be sent electronically to the concerned consulting doctor. Later, patients can interact and get medical prescriptions from the physician via videoconferencing at the PHC.

Numerous hospitals such as the Indira Gandhi Institute of Medical Sciences, Patna’s Mahavir Cancer Sansthan, and private hospitals such as Apollo and Fortis feature have been roped in as consultants. Efforts are also underway to provide government health facilities with necessary technical abilities.

While the tests will have a nominal fee (maximum of Rs.50 for ECG), and medicines will be available free of cost at the PHC, patients will have to pay for treatment and consultation services, in case the physician is a private consultant. However, the government is negotiating with private healthcare organizations to provide discounts on the fees, and SHSB is also in discussion with the government to refund the treatment charges to families below poverty line, according to Mr. Sanjay Kumar, executive director and health secretary of SHSB.

Considered a watershed moment in the state’s rural medicine history, Mr. Sanjay Kumar finds the project to immensely benefit the people of rural Bihar, who do not have access to healthcare services. Further, he also states that telemedicine, by aiding in maintaining electronic medical records, will also help physicians trace medical history and conduct research on region-specific diseases.

The Indian healthcare system is witnessing an emerging trend towards establishing a nationwide network that links physicians and medical facilities. Supported by both government and private sectors, Indian telemedicine market has grown substantially due to its capability to furnish high quality medical and clinical services to rural and far flung areas. While the market is driven by many factors such as insufficient physicians and hospitals in the rural regions; decreasing telecommunication costs; and developments in the nation’s Information and Communications Technology (ICT) segment; it is limited by the factors like scarcity of trained personnel, poor infrastructure and legal concerns pertaining to medical consultation via teleconferencing. According to a 2012 Smart Research Insights report, the future of the market depends on advantages offered by telemedicine, which is expected to narrow the current healthcare divide, similar to what has been done in developed countries.

About KTwo Technologies
Established in the year 2007, the Bangalore-based KTwo Technologies offers IT solutions for healthcare, automotive and logistic industries. It has its client base in the US, Asia-pacific region, Europe, and India. The company offers healthcare industry laboratory automation solution (K-LabS), hospital management system (Kurera), patient tracking system (KuoVadis), pregnancy and childbirth management solution (K-Janani), solution for rural healthcare (Kshema), personal health monitoring system (K-PHM), and automates tuberculosis (K-TBDS) and malaria parasite (K-MPDS) detection. Recently the company has also launched ‘e-Kshema’ kiosks.

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mhealth + Telehealth World 2013

mhealth + Telehealth World 2013

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