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IJSTR >> Volume 8 - Issue 4, April 2019 Edition

International Journal of Scientific & Technology Research  
International Journal of Scientific & Technology Research

Website: http://www.ijstr.org

ISSN 2277-8616

Improving Rural Health Care Services Using ICT: Telemedicine Facility In Kerala

[Full Text]



Arunima Anil, M.S.Jayakumar



ICT, Telemedicine centres, Health Care Services, Digital Divide, Rural Areas



The paper examines the links between Information and communication technology (ICT) and health system through the benchmark of telemedicine project. The paper assesses how far the use of ICT has resulted in strengthening rural health care services and the key issues being faced by its utilization are the major research questions addressed in this study. The quantitative data was collected from 20 rural beneficiaries who are availing the benefits of the telemedicine from various centres using a questionnaire and was analysed using statistical tools. The results of the research showed that majority of the telemedicine units (63 Percentage) are non-functional with respect to inadequate ICT equipments. Most of the TMUs were partially functioning or non- functioning due to outdated systems, damaged ICT resources, poor internet connectivity and other technical problems. Hence the utilization of ICTs for effective health care delivery in rural areas strongly relies upon the provision of viable ICT infrastructure. It brings a major shift in the conventional delivery system by expanding beneficiaries’ access to various services by delimiting socio-economic, cultural and geographical barriers. Medical practitioners at rural areas get immediate access to wide range of medical specialists, saves money and time of patients, helps in updating information, documentation of electronic health record of patients, possibility of centralized digital patient data repository are its positive outcomes whereas the issues such as inadequate network connectivity, lack of funding, absence of permanent site administrator, indifferent attitude and incorporation of doctors are the major constraints at its implementation level. ICT will not prove to be much effective in the health sector unless there evolves a combined effort from officials, practitioners and technical administrators. Telemedicine has to be applied in the modern health system with a constructive planning and implementation to strengthen the system more effectively.



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