IIT Kharagpur last week launched a telemedicine platform for offering emergency healthcare services to students and other employees. The platform — called iMediX — will be integrated at the Dr. B. C. Roy Technology Hospital of the college. It also has plans to offer the tech for commercial use cases (more on that below).

No privacy policy: It is worth noting that at the time of publication, the iMediX website is not secure to browse as its security certificate had expired on September 7. The platform also doesn’t have a privacy policy, and on top of that under a disclaimer section, states that “maintaining security of patients’ identity and sensitive medical data is the user’s responsibility”. A person using the service (a healthcare provider, not patients) will have to give their consent for the same, by signing a letter (accessible here). We have reached out to the institute for more details.

How the service works: In this system, a patient signs up to get an account by providing their email ID or mobile number, both of which are mandatory fields. Following that, they can make a request for consultation by choosing a department of the hospital, entering their chief complaints and uploading necessary scanned medical records.

  • After the records are processed by the hospital administration, the person will be assigned a doctor, who after logging into the service can set an appointment date and time for the patient, which the system communicates to the patient by email and SMS.
  • On the day of visit, the doctor will consult the patient using video conferencing and advise them by writing a prescription, which will be sent by email to the patient.

 

Source: The KGP Chronicle

Commercialisation plans: VK Tewari, director of IIT Kharagpur said in a blog post announcing iMediX that platform could be expanded to people outside the campus through the upcoming super speciality hospital of IIT Kharagpur. The people behind developing the service are already in touch with healthcare MSMEs for commercialisation of a copyrighted version of the technology. A base model was installed at the West Bengal government’s Swasthya Bhawan, and field trials are also underway for the base model in Bangladesh.

“When our campus will start operating in full strength close to 30,000 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,” said Tewari.

India’s guidelines on telemedicine: In March, India’s Health Ministry notified the Telemedicine Guidelines 2020, allowing doctors to consult patients via phone, video, and chat applications including telemedicine platforms and WhatsApp. The guidelines place the onus on the doctor to decide whether a teleconsultation will suffice, or if an in-person review is needed, based upon factors such as complexity of the patient’s situation, whether he/she can identify the patient, among other things. Apart from direct doctor-patient consultation, telemedicine consultations can be held between a caregiver and doctor; doctor to doctor; and health worker to doctor.

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