BHUBANESWAR: The SCB Medical College and Hospital in Cuttack will soon be connected under the ambitious National Medical College Network (NMCN) project of the Ministry of Health and Family Welfare for furthering distance education, resources and knowledge sharing among institutions.
The network aims at establishing a virtual University platform, using IT and telecommunication as the engines for bridging the knowledge gap between centres of excellence and medical colleges under the states.
Under the project, the SCBMCH would be provided with the infrastructure and connectivity support to set up facilities like a Digital Library, e-Lecture Theatre and a OPD Teleconsultation Centre. The network would have high bandwidth connectivity of around 100 Mbps provided under the National Knowledge Network initiative. The digital library would have high speed internet connectivity with at least 20 stations offering free access to more than 2,000 journals and medical literature to the students. It will also be linked to the National Medical Library so that the students can also benefit from the vast academic resources available in medical colleges across the country.
The e-Lecture Theatre would provide classroom facilities for interactive long distance learning modules. Expert faculties from top medical institutions can hold classes for the students here through video-conferencing.
The OPD teleconsultation centre would operate from the out patient department so as to facilitate immediate consultations with experts sitting in the Centres of Excellence when presented with unique cases. Cases can also be discussed and medicos guided on how to tackle them most effectively.
The MoHFW has granted ` 60 crore for the infrastructure and the process of procurement of equipment has commenced. In all probability the network would go live in six months.
In the 11th Plan, six Centres of Excellence would be anointed as Regional Hubs. One medical college from each state would be linked under the network and attached to the Regional Hub. The rest 79 Government colleges would be covered under the 12th Plan, Nodal Officer of the Orissa Telemedicine Network (OTN) and head of experimental surgery of SCBMCH Prof BN Mohanty told this paper.
The Sanjay Gandhi Post Graduate Institute of Medical Sciences, Lucknow, has been designated as the National Hub along with the Regional Hub with SCBMCH and medical colleges from UP, Bihar and West Bengal attached to it. The other five regional Hubs are AIIMS, New Delhi, PGIMER, Chandigarh, KEM Hospital, Mumbai, JIPMER, Puducherry, and NEIGRIHMS, Shillong.