Focus on telemedicine’s future at Kochi international conference

18th International Telemedicine Conference, Telemedicon 2022

Prem Nair, medical director, Amrita Hospitals and M.G. Bijoy, organising secretary at Telemedicon 2022 (Bisiness Line)

Telemedicon 2022, the three-day 18th international conference of the Telemedicine Society of India, began at Amrita Hospital in Kochi on 11 November 2022. This year’s conference aims to strengthen health systems through telemedicine and digital.

The conference also discusses the possibilities of telemedicine and its future, the legal aspects, including confidentiality of treatment, along with matters related to digital health, tele-ICU monitoring, etc.

Mohanan Kunnummal, vice-chancellor of Kerala University of Health Sciences, inaugurated the conference. State IT secretary Ratan Khelkar; Dr. Prem Nair, group medical director Amrita Hospitals, chairman Telemedicon 2022 and TSI Kerala Chapter; Dr P K Pradhan, president,TSI, MG Bijoy, Telemedicon organizing secretary, and TSI secretary Dr Murthy Ramila spoke at the inaugural function. ISRO chairman S Somnath conveyed his best wishes through a video message.

Delivering the speech, Kunnummal said telemedicine has legal protection across the country, and with the shift to 5G, it will become popular. “The advancement of technology and network connectivity will open up even better possibilities in telemedicine. Days are coming when many modern technologies will have a decisive impact on telemedicine. Virtual reality and augmented reality will open up more opportunities for telemedicine. The new technologies will help create the impression of getting tested sitting next to the patient,” he said.

Prem Nair delivered the introductory speech. He said telemedicine could help bring down the cost of health care. He noted that 5G connectivity will strengthen the telemedicine system across the country, saving the time it takes to save the lives of critically ill patients.

We are one of the early adopters of telemedicine in the state of Kerala. It primarily started as a program to bridge the physical distance between care providers and patients, he said. Now we are making use of state-of-the-art technologies to expand telemedicine services. Our expertise, clinical care, technology research, and social commitment help us deliver technology-enabled care. When we started our activity in Kerala in 2002, in association with ISRO, we aimed to provide early healthcare services at affordable cost. Today, after 17 years, we provide telemedicine services to 60 national and nine international centers,” he added.

ISRO chairman Somnath explained the steps taken by ISRO in the initial phase of telemedicine. He said that the growth and integration of technologies are very promising. “Telemedicine will witness revolutionary changes as connectivity improves. Telemedicine connectivity can be strengthened, and the services can be expanded in rural areas with the spread of connectivity through satellites.”

Kelkar said, Startups, private entrepreneurs, and technology partners should come forward to promote telemedicine. He also mentioned that greater participation is essential for the sector’s growth as 5G has provided the best background.”

Experts from across the county presented papers. Specialists from different parts of the world, including representatives of the World Health Organization, are attending the three-day conference. 


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