Role of ISRO satellites in Telemedicine 

Satellites have shortened the distance between locations, people, and services. They provided advanced means at reduced costs. Connectivity between patients and doctors at urban hospitals improve drastically after linking health care centers through satellites.

Role of ISRO satellites in Telemedicine 
ISRO satellites in Telemedicine 

Role of ISRO satellites in Telemedicine 

While the term Telemedicine is an age-old, in the wake of the coronavirus outbreak, telehealth has become crucial to deliver services to the needy. Telemedicine is improving medical services during disaster relief, in remote areas, and during a pandemic. Satellite communication is an affordable tool to improve telemedicine network that includes hospitals and institutions.

Providing basic health care services across diverse geographical locations is nearly impossible without the help of technology. Medical science is advancing day by day, and it must reach every inaccessible area, particularly in disaster situations. 

Satellite communication provides an excellent means to extend medical services to remote regions or in conditions where social distancing has to be maintained. 

Telemedicine- providing medical aid from a distance

Satellites have shortened the distance between locations, people, and services. They provided advanced means at reduced costs. Connectivity between patients and doctors at urban hospitals improve drastically after linking health care centers through satellites.

ISRO linked healthcare centers in cities through INSAT satellites in the year 2001 to ensure that the skilled medical community connects with remote patients. At present, ISRO has a telemedicine network of about 384 hospitals that include 60 specialty hospitals. The network combines 306 medical college hospitals and 18 mobile telemedicine units. They cover diverse areas of healthcare, such as Cardiology and Radiology. 

Connecting medical practitioners, patients, and pharmacies encourage the sharing of medical data and services. 

Coming together of Medical Science, Information Technology and Communication technology 

The integration of technologies has always been beneficial. Satellites are crucial for maintaining proper communication and providing real-time data. The whole concept requires a set of customized hardware and software at both ends and some diagnostic equipment at the patient’s end. 

ISRO telemedicine program makes use of Digital Data Packets. The information provided by the patient is received by the doctors on a real-time basis using the satellite links. The specialist analyses the information in these packets and suggest treatment accordingly.

ISRO is going to provide annual maintenance support for Telemedicine programs. INSAT-3A, INSAT-3C, and INSAT-4A satellites are operating the nodes, out of which INSAT-3A is operating 139 nodes alone. Also, a Telemedicine monitoring node has been established in DECU Ahmadabad for testing and basic troubleshooting. 

The success of Telemedicine in scenarios like Tsunami has encouraged scientists to move forward. ISRO has envisioned to develop a HEALTHSAT. This concept aims to provide specialty teleconsultation to the vast population of India. State Networks will be connected to district hospitals and district networks to PHs. It will also incorporate medical institutions network, Specialty hospitals pool, and Telemedicine call centers. At present, we already see the benefits of Telemedicine and the future will be much better with more advancements in this area.