Hospitals All Set For Quality Upgrade With Health-QUEST Of ISRO
Hospitals across the country are set to upgrade the quality of the healthcare services with the help of space technology in emergency care and critical care departments in association with the Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO). Few of them are ahead of the rest in this race.
According to the ISRO, many healthcare associations such as Association of Healthcare Providers (India) (AHPI), Indian Society of Critical Care Medicine (ISCCM), Society for Emergency Medicine India (SEMI) and The Consortium of Accredited Healthcare Organisation (CAHO) to name a few, approached the space agency in year 2016 to learn the best practices in our Quality domain and implement the same in their Emergency care and Critical care departments for reducing mortality rates.
“It is heartening to note that the pilot studies conducted in Dr Mehta’s hospital, Chennai and Narayana Health City, Bangalore based on the learnings from ISRO, have yielded positive results,” the organisation said in a statement.
To derive the wider benefit from such knowledge-transfer from ISRO and further improve on the way the services are provided at these departments, it is planned to implement the Health-QUEST (Quality Upgradation Enabled through Space Technology) studies in 11 selected hospitals across the country, it said.
ISRO has always been striving to serve the Nation and to contribute to Space Science and Technology for betterment of human life on Earth.
Advancements in Space Technology has created positive impact in society, especially in sectors like, Healthcare, Education, Communication, Broadcasting, Disaster management, Safety and Security, and Land and Water resource management.
The technology spinoffs from Indian Space Programme has benefitted mankind by way of cost effective developments in Healthcare like Artificial limb, Artificial Jaw bones, Left Ventricular Assist device, and Ventilators.
In the area of Safety, spinoffs include, Flame proof coatings, Aerogel -Thermal wear for Soldiers (for protection from extreme cold weather). Whereas Distress alert systems and search and rescue Beacons have come handy in the area of Disaster management.
Keen interest has also been shown by healthcare professionals in learning about, how ISRO is planning to handle the interplay among Man, Machine and Environment in the Human Space flight programmes and about the medical equipment developed by ISRO.
ISRO is also hosting a Health-QUEST demonstration programme at its headquarters on Thursday under its Directorate of Safety Quality and Reliability (DSRQ).
India In The Global ‘Space For Health’
According to the Forum for Integrated National Security (FINS), around 68 per cent of Indian population resides in rural area where the healthcare services are minimal and telemedicine can close the gap by overcoming distance barriers through joint efforts of government and private healthcare institutions.
India had also participated in the 1999 UNISPACE III conference that aimed at promoting the use of space technology and help strengthen the capabilities of UN Member States, in particular developing countries, in using space applications for telecommunications broadcasting and navigation; agriculture and vegetation monitoring; protecting the environment; disaster warning; and space research for human development.
Telemedicine Programme Of ISRO
Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO) began its telemedicine programme in 2001 which has been connecting remotely located medical colleges and hospitals using Indian satellites to major speciality hospitals in cities and towns.
The Mobile Telemedicine units of ISRO cover the areas of Ophthalmology, Cardiology, Radiology, Diabetology, Mammography, General medicine, Women and Child healthcare.
Although the number of these units is as limited as 18 and only 386 hospitals have been connected as of now. Around 139 nodes in India’s Telemedicine network are currently operational on INSAT-3A and the remaining nodes on INSAT-3C and INSAT-4A satellites.
Based on the existing coverage of INSAT and GSAT networks, ISRO has the potential to expand its existing Telemedicine Network not only within India but also across its immediate and extended neighbourhood in Asia.
Despite initiating the programme on telemedicine, two decades ago, the implementation of the technology by ISRO has remained limited. There is a still a wide scope for India to leverage its indigenously developed capabilities under institutions like ISRO and Defence Research and Development Organisation (DRDO) as a part of its science diplomacy initiatives and health diplomacy.
The Telemedicine Programme of ISRO is an innovative process of synergising benefits of Satellite communication technology and information technology with Biomedical Engineering and Medical Sciences to deliver the healthcare services to the remote, distant and underserved regions of the country.
ISRO telemedicine facility connects the remote District Hospitals and Health Centres with Super Specialty Hospitals in the cities, through INSAT Satellites for providing expert consultation.
Considering the shortage of doctors in remote, inaccessible and rural areas of the country, the Development and Educational Communication Unit (DECU) of ISRO and Ministry of Health and Family Welfare (MoH&FW) have signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) to work jointly towards effective utilisation of ISRO’s satellite based Telemedicine network.