Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO) with the purpose of bringing the benefits of space technology in specific areas of national development like health care and education has been supporting satellite-based telemedicine and tele-education programmes in the country.
Sri Sathya Sai Medical Trust (SSSMT) entered into an MoU with ISRO in July 2007 to offer satellite based telemedicine and tele-education services from its super specialty hospitals (SSSIHMS) at both Prasanthi Gram, Puttaparthi and Whitefield, Bangalore.
One of the basic ideas of telemedicine can be expressed by the saying: "Move the information, not the patient". Tele-consultation is provided for post-operative cardiac patients from the states of Odisha and West Bengal. The Sri Sathya Sai Seva Organisation has set up centers in Bhubaneshwar and Barrackpore where patients who have undergone cardiac surgery come and report for follow-up or with related complaints. Doctors in the center screen the patients and collect essential details like complaints, medicines being currently taken etc. and send them to SSSIHMS, Prasanthigram, electronically.
At SSSIHMS, Prasanthigram, the consultant reviews the patient’s past and current records and while speaking to the patient and the attending physician directly over video-conferencing suggests suitable remedies and further investigations if necessary.
The best part of this program is that the patient and specialist see and talk to each other directly. Another advantage is that the local doctor conveys the specialist’s advice clearly in the patient’s local language. The patient also avoids the trouble and expenditure of travelling a long distance from Odisha to Puttaparthi, unless it is really necessary.
Apart from Tele-consultation, the Telemedicine (TM) Center at SSSIHMS, Prasanthigram, since its inception in August 2007, has been playing an active role in supporting the academic programme of the hospital by means of enabling participation in Continuing Medical Education (CME), lectures and discussions with institutions like Sankara Nethralaya (Chennai) and Dr. Mohan’s Diabetes Specialities Centre (Chennai).
Till date the hospital has participated in 690 such sessions.