ICT solutions to transform healthcare, bridge India's rural-urban health divide

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New Delhi, May 10 (ANI-Business Wire India): Apollo Hospitals, Asia's largest health care provider, and Cisco today announced an alliance to help transform health care through information and communications technology (ICT).

The joint initiative will help drive inclusive growth and wellbeing by accelerating access to affordable and high-quality health care via the Cisco HealthPresenceT Extended Reach technology.

Speaking about the association, Sangita Reddy, Executive Director, Apollo Hospitals Group, said: "At Apollo Hospitals, we constantly endeavour to introduce new models to help make quality health care accessible to the masses. The alliance with Cisco will revolutionize the delivery of health care in India. Cisco HealthPresence Extended Reach technology represents significant advances in technology and telecommunication techniques, effectively delivering health care 24x7 remotely."

This alliance will be executed over three phases with:

As part of Phase I being announced today, Apollo will leverage ICT to transform its operations.

Phase II would involve Cisco and Apollo undertaking joint thought leadership activities and developing open healthcare IT industry standards.

Phase III will see Apollo and Cisco leveraging ICT solutions to transform healthcare in India, APAC, and Emerging countries.

Commenting on the relationship, Wim Elfrink, Chief Globalisation Officer and Executive Vice-President, Cisco Services, said: "We are excited to collaborate closely with Apollo Hospitals to create and showcase various health care solutions. Collaborative technologies, powered by ubiquitous broadband access, will enable access to affordable and high-quality health care services in rural and urban communities. We believe communities, cities, countries and individual lives can be transformed by providing access to socially, economically and environmentally sustainable solutions."

Health care providers face many challenges in the delivery of health care services In India, particularly to suburban and rural areas. Over the last decade Apollo Telemedicine Networking Foundation, the largest and oldest multi-specialty telemedicine network has met some of these issues in an organized and cost efficient manner.

The integration of Cisco's desktop based Health Presence Extended Reach technology with Apollo Hospital's "Medintegra" will now for the first time make available a user friendly, cost effective tele-medicine solution. As part of this initiative, Cisco and Apollo have collaborated in Raichur (Karnataka, South India) to demonstrate how health care in rural areas can be transformed.

With the use of this technology, doctors do not need to visit a telemedicine room to connect with patients; they can now consult with patients from a laptop supported by an Internet connection. A detailed 'clinical examination' and review of all investigations is now possible in a seamless manner with the option of recording the entire interaction.

As a first step, the Apollo Hospitals Group and the Apollo Telemedicine Foundation have started deploying hundreds of the Cisco HealthPresence Extended Reach solution across Apollo remote clinics and super-specialty hospitals, thereby enabling a patient to access any doctor at any point of time across the Apollo system. Prof K. Ganapathy, President of Apollo Telemedicine Networking Foundation and President Elect of the Telemedicine Society of India observed that this solution would help tele-medicine in India reach that critical mass essential for a successful take off. "We are looking beyond India in deploying this technology. Doctor - anyone, anytime, anywhere will be our slogan" Prof. Ganapathy remarked.

The Cisco HealthPresence Extended Reach solution will help connect patients with medical providers conveniently and efficiently, regardless of distance. Added Vishal Gupta, vice president, Advanced Services, Cisco, "Using the network as a platform for tele-medicine, we create an environment similar to what patients experience when they visit their medical provider.

We have combined high definition video and audio, end-to-end telemedicine work flow and remote diagnostics to create an affordable, innovative and scalable solution. In collaboration with Apollo, we can now create Smart + Connected Health care communities not only in urban areas, but also in villages". (ANI)

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