Telemedicine High in the Himalayas

Thirteen thousand feet above sea level in the Himalayan Mountains, Apollo Hospitals has set up one of the highest telemedicine stations in the world. The government-assisted project known as the Himachal Pradesh Telehealth Services Project, is in place to make quality healthcare more accessible to the people of this remote region of Northern India.

The project has already set up two telemedicine station utilizing video software provided by VSee One station is at the community health center in the tiny village of Kaza, and the other station is at the regional hospital in the mountain town of Keylong. So far, the two locations have conducted nearly 200 telemedicine consultations in just May alone.

The system uses dedicated satellite connections of 12 kbps, to connect with Apollo Hospital specialists in various hospitals throughout India by utilizing VSee low bandwidth video conferencing software.

The Keylong site is set up with two separate spaces for telemedicine video consults with the tele-consult room on the first floor used for non-emergency consults. This room is equipped with a laptop, large wall-mounted monitor, and a remote diagnostic kit. The other space, the tele-emergency room is set up with a telemedicine cart on wheels equipped with a laptop, touch screen monitor, and emergency clinical equipment.

Last May, the Keylong telemedicine station unexpectedly started operations several days ahead of schedule when two local people suffered cardiac arrest. The telemedicine team was able to triage with emergency doctors in Chennai using VSee video. They stabilized both patients, and then one of the patients was referred to a larger hospital for further treatment.

In another situation, a man was involved in an auto accident. The staff was able to conduct a VSee video consultation with an emergency specialist within eight minutes after submitting a tele-emergency request.

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