To bring diagnostic services to the doorsteps of people living in remote areas, the Council of Scientific & Industrial Research (CSIR) and Hewlett-Packard (HP) on Tuesday launched a cloud-enabled eHealth centre here.

The rapidly deployable, fully integrated centre, installed in unused shipping containers, can be carried by road, air or water, to any part of the country, even in hilly areas.

It has diagnostic equipment, a tele-medicine studio, laboratory and pharmacy and minimises the need for onsite doctors in remote areas. The centre will also collect basic patient health data required for research and policy-making.

Launching the eHC, the Union Minister for Science & Technology, Jaipal Reddy, said technology could only be a means to an end. Reddy said there were common grievances that technology and prosperity had not touched common people of the country. Also, doctors do not like to serve in rural areas. Combining science and technology in public-private partnership to integrate affordable healthcare delivery with health-data collection will serve the good of the common man, the Minister said, and called for scaling up such partnerships.

The Director-General, CSIR, Samir Brahmachari, said this initiative with HP would help in creating a centralised patient information data. Seeking Government co-operation in popularising the eHC, he said ideally if every MP used his or her local area development fund for this, it could make a huge difference to community health. “One 20X8 container costs about Rs 25-30 lakh,” he added.

The project, co-funded by CSIR and HP, has already been implemented with the help of OP Jindal Gramin Jan Kalyan Sansthan in Chausala village in Haryana.

“Over 4,000 patient visits were recorded in the first 100 days of operation,” said Naveen Jindal, Congress MP, who said he would promote more such initiatives in his State.

aditi.n@thehindu.co.in

(This article was published on December 11, 2012)
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