Telemedicine has started receiving response in the state, which got the boost last year when the health department identified 100 hospitals across the state for telemedicine. At a remote Community Health Centre (CHC) in Khajuwala in Bikaner, 230 patients have taken advice and consultation from specialist doctors sitting in Jaipur so far. A patient of Khajuwala CHC can consult with specialist doctors in gynecology, pediatrics, and medicine from eight am to eight pm from Monday to Saturday. Besides, there are different time slots and days for taking consultation with an orthopedic, dermatologist, gastroenterologist, oncologist, endocrinologist, cardiologist, nephrologist, and even a neurologist. It is not the only CHC in the state which is getting benefits of telemedicine but there are 48 other such identified CHCs across the state connected through telemedicine with specialist doctors.

Chief medical health officer (CMHO) Bikaner Dr Devendra Chaudhary said that in his district, telemedicine facility is now available at CHC at Lunkaransar and district hospital too. At district hospital, 475 patients have been benefitted from telemedicine. Patients are getting consultation from experts in nephrology, dermatology, cardiology, oncology and other super specialties. Not only three hospitals of Bikaner but there are100 such hospitals across the state including 30 district hospitals across the state, 17 sub-divisional hospitals, four satellite hospitals and 49 CHCs, which have already been connected through telemedicine. A private Kolkata-based company has helped the health department in preparing the system of telemedicine in the state with its equipment and software.
Officials said that for consultation with specialist doctors, a patient had to go to bigger cities but now telemedicine is emerging as an option for such patients in rural areas.

It is also helping the government to ensure better healthcare facilities at a time when it is facing shortage of specialist doctors in government hospitals. Kolkata-based private firm has set up a central site in Jaipur where specialist doctors sit and they will remain available for consultation through video conference. From the central site, the specialist doctors are connected through video conferencing with other 100 hospitals and health centers of the state. A health department official said that if there is a nephrology patient in Baran and there is no nephrologist in the district, in such a case the doctor or paramedical staff available in Baran's district hospital will connect the patient with a nephrologist in Jaipur's central site of telemedicine through video conferencing. The doctor at central site will also generate a prescription for the patient for his treatment. In the first phase, the facility was launched in district hospitals, satellite hospitals, sub-division hospitals from July last year and from August the facility has been made available in CHC. – TOI


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