In a bid to tackle the shortfall of doctors in the state, the Gujarat government is going to bring private sector doctors into the loop by starting a tele-ICU service. Expert doctors working in the private sector will be asked to assist the government medical staff via video-call or tele-calling, the Indian Express reported. The move is aimed at fulfilling the need of specialised doctors whose number is lacking in government health facilities in the rural and remote areas via tele-ICU and video-conferencing.
Health commissioner Jai Prakash Shivahare told the Indian Express that the tele-ICU service will allow the critical care doctor to guide the medical staff workers at the health facilities in treating critical patients. The official also said that the idea is not only to tackle the shortage of expert doctors but to also provide critical care to people at their doorsteps using tele-conference and tele-medicine.
The officials told the Indian Express that a test run of the tele-ICU has already been conducted in the state and the government is going to formally launch the service soon. The service will particularly be launched at community health centres (CHCs), Sub District Hospitals (SDHs) and District Hospitals where there is no existing ICU facility at the moment. The government had floated a tender to find an agency that can pilot the programme and awarded the contract to Ahmedabad-based private agency — Virtual Health Care on October 7 this year.
Dr Raj Raval, founder of Virtual Health Care told the Indian Express that one mobile kiosk will be installed in each designated hospital with good quality audio and video facility along with WiFi. Raval also said that the kiosk will be sufficiently mobile in a way that it can be taken close to the concerned patient for close observation.
The adoption of tele-medicine, tele-doctor and other similar technologies picked up pace during the Coronavirus pandemic when most regions of the country faced acute shortage of expert doctors and scores of patients were successfully treated via tele-medicine