Nearly 70% of India’s population lives in rural areas, but 80% of its doctors are in urban areas.
Rural patients often travel many kilometres for medical treatment. That is, if they can afford travel and cost of healthcare.
In a small village – Chitradurga – in Karnataka, patients visiting one of the rural medical centres will have their vitals checked by the paramedic/nurse at the centre while the doctor at a city hospital provides consultation and diagnosis in real time via a video link.
The government has partnered with technology provider Cisco, so that patients and doctors can meet each other virtually through video without having to commute long distances.
A significant number of population lives in the rural areas in Karnataka, which is the case with the entire nation too, says local MP, Janardhana Swamy.
“The rural population is unable to access quality healthcare and specialist consultants due to lack of availability and spend precious time traveling to urban centres for their treatment. Cisco’s solution will enable better access to medical treatment for the population of Chitradurga.”
Agrees Vipul Bhansal, District Commissioner, “We are confident that we will be able to provide affordable healthcare to a larger population using technology. People in the rural areas need easy access to specialists, which is something that can be facilitated with Cisco solutions.”
Cisco hopes that more states realise the value of technology. “While some are in the process to adopt new solution towards making an impactful change, others are starting to do so,” says Cisco’s president for Inclusive Growth, Aravind Sitaraman.
Cisco has also extended this initiative to other urban services like education, and predicts that these services can greatly reduce the urban-rural divide.
Cisco had earlier used its healthcare solution for flood-affected people of Raichur. Leveraging technology and medical services provided by a specialty hospital in Bangalore, 1700 patients received remote consultation.