The National Rural Health Mission (NRHM), Assam together with the Department of Health and Family Welfare, Government of Assam launched first of its kind Tele Radiology Project in public health sector of India in a public private partnership model with HealthFore Technologies Limited.
With the aim to make radiology services accessible and affordable to the entire rural populace of Assam; Department of Health & Family Welfare, Govt. of Assam has been commissioning Regional Diagnostic Centers (RDC) and equipping them with CT and X-Ray modalities. However, over the years, it was observed that the full potential of these centers were not been realized owing to the glaring lack of Radiologists in the state, especially for most of the rural areas where the Radiologists are sparsely available. In 2012, NRHM, Assam decided to introduce next-gen Tele Radiology solution to the established infrastructure. The goal of this program was intended to address the following needs:
• Ensuring that the existing radiology equipments at the RDC were used more effectively.
• Facilitating the reporting of the radiology scans by experts at Guwahati and Delhi without having to wait for an onsite radiologist. All reports are archived at the Data Center.
• Maintain the affordability of these services for the rural people of Assam.
• Initiate the practice of helping patients maintain their medical records to improve continuity of care within the populace of Assam.
Under this program, the existing CT and X-Ray machines are being enabled for transmitting digital images of the scans (DICOM compatibility) at the RDC, which are then connected by fibre optic/UBR/ADSL/3G to the Central Data Center (CDC) in Guwahati.
Once a patient gets his or her CT or X-Ray scan done at one of these RDC, the digital image of the scan is transmitted via the network to the servers in the Guwahati CDC into the centrally deployed RIS-PACS (Radiology Information System – Picture Archiving and Communication System) and makes these available to radiologists and specialist radiographers based out of Guwahati, New Delhi and other cities. These radiologists use the RIS-PACS system to access the patient scans from Guwahati and New Delhi to provide online report which can be printed at the local RDC and handed over to the patients. Further, the system allows each patient to access their scans online and maintains their patient history which can be accessed via www.nrhmrdc.in.
In the first phase, this program is beginning its roll out in 11 districts in Assam, namely, Guwahati, Mangaldai, Lakhimpur, Hailakandi, Nagaon, Kokrajhar, Dhubri, Haflong, Jorhat, Barpeta and Silchar.
HealthFore Technologies Limited proudly participates in this program as the provider of the Magnum Infinity Imaging (RIS-PACS) solution that powers the program. HealthFore further has provided infrastructure, consultancy and will manage day to day operations of the centers for NRHM over the period of five years.