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ICT Health India: Gov Uses Video Chat to Bring Healthcare to the Poor in India

The Sanjeevani project "combines the use of cell phones and computers to enable services such as Tele-consultations, Tele-education and Tele-diagnosis. Tele-consultations allow for patient histories to be placed online so they can be accessed by doctors in different parts of the country with ease. Tele-diagnosis allows specialist to consult with local physicians via video-chat and calls. This facility could prove to be particularly helpful to poorer sections of the society that live in rural areas, and have limited access to specialists."

Sanjeevani is a project of the Centre for Development of Advanced Computing, the research and development wing of the Ministry of Communications & Information Technology.

Implications:

"In the past few years, there has been an increased interest across India to use... ICT to bridge some of the gaps evident in the country‟s healthcare. As the penetration of ICT increases in the coming years, this intersection could yield greater successes, specifically having a significant impact on the lives of the poor."

"As of February 2011, there were 825 million mobile phone subscriptions in India. As of 2010, there were approximately 80 million internet users in the country... As both mobile phone and internet usage will increase in the coming years, more attempts can be expected to convert this into a practical means to increase healthcare access."

"At present, most ventures are fragmented, and disparate from one another. For example, there are several free numbers that a person can call in an emergency but they differ from city to city, and even from service provider to service provider. This heavily diminishes their success. If a project like Sanjeevani is successful, it is possible that more ventures may become streamlined."

"There is a potential for foundations to intervene to create a forum for different players to interact and streamline the different projects. Another intervention possibility is in the area of increasing awareness amongst the poor about the different projects that they can avail themselves of."

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Sources:

SFG June 2011, page 4:
http://newsletters.clearsignals.org/SFG_June 2011.pdf#page=4