The state health department is planning to launch the teleradiology facility in government hospitals to ensure timely diagnosis and treatment of patients.
The facility will involve the transmission of radiological test images, such as X-rays and MRIs, from one location to another for seeking expert consultation from radiologists and physicians on the other end.
The project will be launched under the public private partnership mode, the modalities of which are being worked out, officials said.
According to health department estimates, Uttarakhand has a shortage of around 52% doctors and 73% specialists including radiologists, something which teleradiology will be able to counter to some extent.
The scans of the images will be transferred online to private radiologists with whom the government will tie up, after which the experts will study the scans and suggest the line of treatment, said principal secretary (health) Om Prakash.
The existing paraphernalia at the government-run hospitals will be upgraded for efficient functioning of image transfer systems, he said.
For the purpose, scanners and digitizers – which convert hard-copy films of tests like X-ray, ultrasound etc into digital images that can in turn be transmitted electronically and analysed by experts – will be installed in the district hospitals and community health centres.
Patients will also be able to see their reports and diagnosis of X-ray, ultrasound, MRI and CT-Scan etc online.
Dr Prem Lal, additional director (health), said the basic requirements for launching teleradiology include high-quality scanners and digitizers, availability of high-speed internet, hotlines and ready presence of radiologists on the other end.
“Right now, the project is in a preliminary stage. We are assessing what (facilities) we have at present and what all (additional infrastructure) will be required. Once the (assessment) process is over, we will call for tenders for roping in the private party,” Dr Lal added.
The government has planned to fund the project through the World Bank, which has allocated $125 million for various health projects in Uttarakhand including upgrade of hospitals and outsourcing of health services at primary health centres among others.