Philips to Take Telemedecine to the Hinterland

Monday, November 14, 2005

Electronics major, Philips, is expanding its presence in the Indian healthcare delivery system through telemedicine by putting more mobile units on roads benefiting villages.

“Women in villages are already seeing the benefits of telemedicine. We now look forward to extending the technology to interior rural pockets,” Gerard J. Kleisterlee, President and Chief Executive Officer of Royal Philips Electronics, The Netherlands, said here on Sunday.

Talking to The Hindu during his visit to the Apollo Speciality Hospitals, he said villages required quality medical attention, which prompted Philips to venture into the telemedicine concept.

Already, a well-equipped medicare vehicle under the project – Distance Healthcare Advancement (DISHA) – was offering services to patients in Theni district.

Mr. Kleisterlee said he was positive about telemedicine and the way it could work for the needy. “We want to reach more people through our vehicles.”

Apollo Hospital sources said the Philips chief, who was accompanied by a team of his company officials, indicated that 15 vehicles with well-equipped telemedicine facility might be deployed in Tamil Nadu covering various districts.

After getting the ’end-user’ feedback in Theni district where the pilot project was implemented during the past year, Mr. Kleisterlee was considering supplying additional telemedicine equipment.

This project is now being carried out by three partners – the Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO) that provided the satellite connectivity, Apollo Group giving manpower and medical expertise while Philips gave the equipment and vehicles.

In a video-conferencing interaction from Chennai with the visiting Philips delegation, the Managing Director of Apollo Hospitals, Preeta Reddy, described the telemedicine service as a “fantastic” partnership between Apollo and Philips.

The Philips delegation includes H. Gottfreid A. Dutine, Executive Vice-President, Andreas J. Wente, CEO-Asia Pacific and K. Ramachandran, CEO, Philips Electronics India Limited.

At Apollo

At the Apollo Hospitals, Mr. Kleisterlee and his team went around the cath-lab and had a meeting with the hospital authorities.

T.N. Sekar, General Manager, explained the advanced medical facilities available in the hospital.

Later, the team proceeded to Aravind Eye Hospitals where they got to know about the significant strides made by the hospital in eye care.

G. Venkatasamy, Chairman, Aravind Eye Hospitals and P. Namperumalsamy, vice-chairman received the team and made a presentation on the eye care/cataract surgery activities of the hospital.

Source: The Hindu (link opens in a new window)