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Doctors’ shortage: govt goes in for teleradiology in state-run hospitals

dehradun Updated: Jul 14, 2017 20:41 IST
Neha Pant
Neha Pant
Hindustan Times

Uttarakhand will become the fifth state in the country after Haryana, Assam, Meghalaya and Andhra Pradesh to introduce the system.(Vinay Santosh Kumar/HT)

DEHRADUN: The Uttarakhand government is set to launch the facility of teleradiology - the process in which test images are electronically transmitted to experts for interpretation and diagnosis - in over 35 hospitals by the end of July.

Uttarakhand will become the fifth state in the country after Haryana, Assam, Meghalaya and Andhra Pradesh to introduce the system for tiding over the shortage of doctors while at the same time ensuring timely diagnosis and treatment of patients, especially in remote areas.

The health department is introducing the project under a public private partnership mode with a Noida-based teleradiology institute, under which doctors will be able to seek expert opinion from radiologists and physicians after transmission of X-rays, MRIs and CT-Scans.

The facility is already functional in the Haldwani medical college and is likely to become functional in another two-three weeks in over 35 state-run hospitals, additional chief secretary (health) Om Prakash said. “After transmission of tests, experts on the other end will be able to study the scans and suggest the line of treatment. The existing paraphernalia at the government-run hospitals is being upgraded for efficient functioning of image transfer systems,” he said.

Chief minister Trivendra Singh Rawat said out of the 135 approved posts of radiologists, only 33 were filled up in the state. “Roping in radiologists becomes a big challenge because not only there is a general dearth (of radiologists) but also they get much higher pay packages (than government) in the private sector. Through teleradiology, we will not only be able to bridge the gap but will also be able to put in place a cheaper medical consultation method,” he said.

Activists, however, wondered how much result the project will end up yielding given the infrastructural and manpower challenges faced by the health department. “In most of the government-run hospitals, even basic test machines go out of order frequently...this is a good step, but will they (health department) be able to run and maintain the facility without technical hiccups, only time will tell,” Rudraprayag-based activist Praveen Panwar said.

First Published: Jul 14, 2017 20:40 IST