The India-based Apollo Telemedicine Networking Foundation believes telemedicine will transform health care in India and beyond within the next decade. Professor K Ganapathy, President and Head of the Foundation, tells us about its history and purpose, and the self-imposed challenge to establish 1,000 telemedicine centers in 1,000 days, ultimately performing 1,000 consultations per day. The Foundation provides mobile broadband-enabled medical monitoring to vast areas of suburban and rural Asia, particularly India, that have no physical access to specialist health care.
The organization is part of the Apollo Hospitals Group, one of the largest health-care providers on the subcontinent. Ganapathy, who is also a senior consultant neurosurgeon, talks about Apollo Hospitals’ telemedicine journey and its evolution from solutions based on video meetings to services based on IP and wireless technology. He says Apollo Hospitals’ decision to pursue mobile-health (m-health) solutions was largely triggered by the results of a 2007 pilot with Ericsson. That trial, called the Gramjyoti project, was conducted across 18 villages and 15 towns in rural India. It demonstrated how wireless technology could be utilized to help with remote medical tasks such as checking blood pressure, listening to heart rates and clinical examination. Ganapathy also talks about how ICT will be central to a huge challenge the Foundation has set itself: to establish 1,000 telemedicine centers in 1,000 days, with a minimum 1,000 consultations per day. The ability of mobile broadband to advance the health sector will play a key role in Ericsson’s prediction of a world with more than 50 billion connected devices by 2020. Ericsson believes the technology will deliver similar transformative benefits to other vertical industries. NOTE: This article has been updated since its initial publication on April 7. It may have been inferred from that version that Ericsson and the Apollo Telemedicine Networking Foundation have had a continuous partnership since the 2007 trial. While a deal was announced in this press release from June 2008, there is no current collaboration between Ericsson and Apollo Hospitals.
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