Telemedicine for mobile devices, developed by Council Associate Partner UST Global, is a BlackBerry10- based mobile application that uses telecommunication to enable delivery of clinical health care to remote locations. As UST Global notes in an announcement about the new app, it helps eliminate distance barriers and to improve access to medical specialists that would often not be consistently available in distant rural communities.
UST Global developed the app in collaboration with Mumbai-based Dr. Balabhai Nanavati Hospital and Blackberry India
“This telemedicine mobile application will reduce the urban-rural divide to support inclusive growth, said Gilroy Mathew, General Manager- Asia for UST Global. "We believe it will transform the way healthcare services are made available to rural communities and address two major challenges – that of access to qualified doctors and affordable treatment without the need for patients to travel to cities."
Dr. Pavan Kumar, who heads the Department of Cardiovascular Surgery and Telemedicine Center at Nanavati Super Specialty Hospital, points to an IMS study that suggests a 40-45% reduction in expenditures of rural patients’ treatments can be achieved by addressing the problem of physical accessibility of healthcare facilities.
As UST Global explains it, a patient visits a remote clinic where staff can use the app to enter the patient's demographics, vital signs, illness details, preliminary diagnosis information and upload existing medical reports.
Then assigned doctor reviews the patient details and performs consultation with the patient remotely using a video session launched through BlackBerry Messenger (BBMTM).
The company plans to make the telemedicine app available on other mobile platforms and to integrate it with various medical devices to allow a doctor to perform real-time diagnostics of the patient remotely. More advanced features like integration with Google Glass are also planned for future release.
Cities can benefit too
While telemedicine helps connect people in remote locations with quality healthcare, it also offers benefits to city dwellers.
The Health and Human Services chapter of the Council's Smart Cities Readiness Guide covers this issue. It suggests that one of the primary benefits of remote delivery of healthcare services is increased patient satisfaction -- especially for the elderly and mobility-challenged, but for others too. Imagine if instead of taking time off work, making a trip to the doctor’s office and then sitting in a waiting room, you could transmit your health data on your own time, and your physician could review it with you via video-conferencing, Skype or the like.
As cities grow larger, medical resources and access to expertise are stretched further and further. But information and communications technologies help doctors reach as many patients as possible, improving health outcomes across cities.
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