Bir Hospital to to launch telemedicine services

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Few months ago, a woman of Malikarjun VDC, Darchula was brought to the district hospital as she writhed in labor pain. Seeing the baby´s hand come out first instead of head, the doctors and other staff at the hospital were confused about what to do.

“The woman´s condition was serious but the doctors were helpless,” Dr Amit Pokhrel, a doctor at the hospital, said. He said that the dilemma before the hospital at the time was whether to refer the patient to the nearest referral center, which is more than eight hours away by an ambulance. The hospital refers complicated cases sometimes to a nearby hospital at Pithauragadh, India, but on that day it was already dark and the border was closed.

Some health workers suggested that the child be pushed back and then pulled out using hands. “But we decided to take medical help from gynecologists at Patan Hospital,” said Dr Pokhrel. He said that a gynecologist at the hospital cautioned them not to intervene in the process and asked them to wait.”

“The child itself pulled its hands in and came out normally after 24 hours,” he said, adding, “We saved both mother and child by the advice of consultant doctors.”

After few decades of supernal medication  Bir Hospital has set to launch telemedicine services to provide healthcare services to people living in remote areas.

Infrastructures for launching telemedicine services have already been set up in the hospital. It has already started transmission and completed the trail phase. The hospital is now working to make round-the-clock arrangement of doctors.

Telemedicine is the use of telecommunications technology to provide delivery of healthcare services to patients living in remote locations. This allows healthcare providers to evaluate, diagnose and treat patients without the need for hospital visit.

The services will first be launched in Dhading and Dolakha and gradually be extended to  Butwal, Chitwan and Biratnagar in collaboration with doctors of National Academy of Medical Sciences and Bir Hospital, as per Dr Bhupendra Basnet, director, Bir Hospital.

“Doctors living in remote areas can consult specialists in Bir Hospital through video conferencing. This will improve delivery of treatment,” said Dr Basnet.

Currently, 2,000 people visit the out-patient department of Bir Hospital while the hospital has the capacity of treating 460 indoor patients.

The service will be helpful to people living in remote areas as they will not have to travel a long distance for treatment. “It saves time and is also cost effective. Similarly, it will also be beneficial for patients who need to be in regular touch with doctors for consultation,” said Dr Basnet.

District hospitals of Humla, Mugu, Dolpa, Solukhumbu, Darchula, Bhajang, Sindhuli, Sindhupalchowk, Rashuwa, Bajura, Kalikot, Aachham, Jajarkot, Rukum, Rolpa, Gorkha, Pyuthan, Okhaldhunga, Mustang, Manang, Sindhuli, Taplejung, Sankhuwasabha, Dolakha, Jumla, Solukhumbu, Khotang and other three have been linked with the service. The center said that hospitals in Darchula, Sindhupalchowk, Gorkha and Rukum are the most active ones in making use of the service.

“Each day, 10 to 15 calls come from these districts,” said Keshav Pradhan, a public health inspector at the center. He said that over 4,500 people have already received services from the center in the last 15 months. Pradhan said that expensive referrals to the regional and sub regional hospitals from district hospitals have been significantly reduced after they were connected with the center. “People in the districts have been feeling huge relieved from the service,” he added. The center said that efforts are under way to have telemedicine services in all the districts.



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