IIT Kharagpur Rolls Out Telemedicine Technology for Home Care during COVID Physical Distancing Protocol
It has been more than half the year since the world has been struggling through the challenge thrown by COVID-19. With the passage of time, and vaccines still not being on the cards, the pressure on the healthcare system is only expected to rise while the healthcare workers continue to remain vulnerable to infection. To address this issue, researchers at IIT Kharagpur’s Dept. of Computer Science & Engineering have developed a telemedicine system, iMediX.
The system integrates homecare with healthcare services from the hospital. Considering the emergent needs due to COVID-19 Pandemic, the system facilitates critical health care support to patients at their doorsteps through remote consultation by a physician. The system is accessible by any standard internet browser and also from a mobile device.
In this system, a patient signs up to get an account by providing her Email ID or Mobile number. Then the patient can make a request for consultation by choosing a Department of the hospital, entering her chief complaints and uploading necessary scanned medical records. The hospital administration processes the request and assigns a doctor. The doctor after logging in sets an appointment date and time for the patient and the system communicates the information to the patient by Email and SMS. On the day of the visit, the doctor consults the patient using video conferencing and advises her by writing a prescription, which is sent by Email to the patient. The patient can also download the prescription from her account.
Prof. Jayanta Mukhopadhyay, the lead researcher remarked, “As the number of cases of home isolation and home quarantine are increasing, the system will cater to the needs of the present situation. It would be useful also to follow up and treat aged patients.”
iMediX is being adopted for public use right at its home, IIT Kharagpur on-campus healthcare system.
Director, Prof. V K Tewari stated, “In April we had announced eight R&D projects for providing COVID healthcare services. This telemedicine project was key among them especially keeping in mind its effectiveness in our own community. When our campus will start operating in full strength close to 30000 people including students would be in need of healthcare services and this technology will reduce over-exposure of the healthcare staff while efficiently catering to the population. While we are promoting physical distancing, it seems only appropriate to introduce this digital platform to meet the healthcare needs of the campus community effectively. We are creating user accounts for our medical cardholders who can avail the consultation facility home through video conferencing.”
The software was launched on October 2, 2020, on the occasion of Gandhi Jayanti and will be integrated at the Dr. B. C. Roy Technology Hospital of the Institute which provides emergency healthcare services for the campus residents and employees, confirmed the office of Principal Medical Officer Dr. Samir Dasgupta.
Deputy Director, Prof. S K Bhattacharyya remarked, “I am extremely happy that we are able to launch the telemedicine facility at BCRTH as this was one of our dream projects. Since we have a large number of OPD patients, it will be extremely beneficial to them as movement to the hospital is extremely difficult for them. Also, for our students the waiting time at the hospital will get reduced as this will be very helpful to them.”
Director Tewari further shared his plan to expand the use of this technology to people outside the campus through the upcoming superspeciality hospital of IIT Kharagpur. The researchers are already in touch with healthcare MSMEs for commercialization of the copyrighted version of the technology. A base model was installed at Swasthya Bhawan, Govt. of West Bengal on a trial basis. Field trials are also underway for the base model in Bangladesh.
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