The Telemedicine Centre (TMC) at the MKCG Medical College and Hospital (MKCG MCH) is lying unutilised for several years now. Telemedicine was started in MKCG MCH in 2002 after Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO) provided satellite connection for the centre and it became functional in 2004. It was revamped in 2007 but so far it has not yielded the expected result.
With the implementation of telemedicine, MKCG MCH was connected with major hospitals in the country like AIIMS. It facilitates the doctors and students to acquire latest knowledge on health services. For example: A patient being treated by AIIMS doctors had to visit Delhi often for consultation, but with the introduction of telemedicine the patient has the facility to interact with the AIIMS doctor from here which saves him money and time.
Initially, this TMC was connected with Sanjay Gandhi Post-Graduate Institute of Medical Sciences, Lucknow, AIIMS in New Delhi, Post Graduate Institute of Medical Education and Research (PGIMER), Chandigarh, Sri Ramachandra Medical Centre (SRMC), Chennai, besides some hospitals in Japan and Oman.
Later it was connected to the SCB Medical College and Hospital, Cuttack, VSS Medical College and Hospital, Burla, and the district headquarters hospitals at Koraput, Rayagada, Baripada, Sundargarh, Bhubaneswar and Bhawanipatana. However, due to lack of interest of medical students and doctors of the MKCG MCH, the TMC was seldomused. While starting the TMC, ISRO had appointed one youth on a consolidated honorarium of Rs 5,000 a month, and later the Health Department appointed Prof Rasananda Mangual of Surgery department of MKCG MCH as its nodal officer.
“For tele-conferencing, Rs 1 lakh is spent annually towards satellite charges, but no doctors in the MCH seem keen to utilise the facility in the absence of guidelines by the authorities concerned,” said the nodal officer. He added that various health institutions in the country often telecast their health programmes including critical operations, treatment methods, but the doctors and students hardly show any interest in seeing them through the TMC. Mangual said although doctors from Surgery, Gynaecology and Medicine departments visit the TMC, none from the other departments come here.