News : 'Dial Doc' Launched in Hurry, No Infrastructure in Place
Bhopal, Feb 25, 2014 -- With full facilities yet to be in place, state-run '104', a free tele-medicine service number, was made operational and inaugurated in a hurry at All India Institute of Medical Sciences (AIIMS), Bhopal here.
State government was in a rush to inaugurate tele-medicine service, said AIIMS Bhopal officials, who have yet to seek formal approval from Union government. In fact, AIIMS Bhopal tele-medicine in charge was not even aware about inauguration of the service. Later, state national health mission (NHM), director, M Geetha admitted work on tele-medicine service was still in progress.
"We are evaluating proposal from AIIMS Bhopal for additional funding and recruitments," she said.
AIIMS Bhopal department of community and family medicine associate professor Dr Surya Bali, who is internationally acknowledged for his role in promoting telemedicine and telecare said, "I am not aware about inauguration of tele-medicine services." Dr Bali is in charge of tele-medicine service at AIIMS Bhopal.
Currently, telemedicine service is operated by four AIIMS doctors and few contractual staff. "We are yet to receive adequate funds from NHM. Seven computer operators also have been requested for smooth operations. If in-coming calls spurt we are inadequately staffed," said an official. Health officials claim the ambitious project would link tele-consultation with drugs and diagnostic facilities provided free of cost at government health centres. 104 toll-free service was inaugurated by health minister Narottam Mishra. Service is being run by AIIMS Bhopal is funded by state government and NHM.
"Legally, tele-medicine and prescription of drugs is a grey areaState government needs to make amendments to shield doctors from legal violations," said a tele-medicine expert. State health official said a comprehensive tele-medicine policy was in the works.
Posted by Veronica Silva Cusi, news correspondent
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About All India Institute of Medical Sciences:
The All India Institutes of Medical Sciences (AIIMSes) are a group of autonomous public medical colleges of higher education. AIIMS New Delhi, the fore-runner parent excellence institution, was established in 1956.
Published: Friday, February 28, 2014