The Karnataka government’s department of health and family welfare, in association with Bengaluru-based nonprofit eGovernments Foundation and Google Cloud, announced the launch of cloud-based remote intensive care unit (ICU) services across 41 state-run hospitals. Unveiled in Mysuru earlier today, the remote ICU model will include a ‘tele-ICU’ hub hospital in a city — and at least two government hospitals in each district, that will be served through this hub.
The service, officially christened ‘10BedICU’, will be offered through the eGovernments Foundation’s cloud-based open source patient management platform, ‘Care’. The platform will be hosted on Google Cloud, and will offer ‘smart’ capacity and patient management for the remote ICU service.
The service was unveiled by Karnataka chief minister, Basavaraj Bommai, at KR Hospital, Mysuru — which will serve as one of the tele-ICU hubs under this program. The hub will serve remote government hospital facilities in districts such as Nanjangud, HD Kote, Santhemarahalli, Malavalli and Virajpet.
A pilot version of the remote ICU services model was executed in May this year by eGovernments Foundation and Google Cloud at Jawaharlal Nehru Institute of Medical Sciences in Imphal, Manipur. At its unveiling, state chief minister Nongthombam Biren Singh said that the remote ICU model was an example of a public-private partnership (PPP) project between state governments and non-government organizations, and could help bring sophisticated medical equipment to hospitals in remote and underserved locations.
A statement issued on the rollout stated that all remote hospitals under the tele-ICU scheme would include equipment such as 4K resolution monitors, desktop computers and high-resolution cameras connected to a fixed-line internet service — in order to facilitate critical healthcare to remote hospitals.
To be sure, technology-driven healthcare services have been on the rise in India. In February this year, a subsidiary of Apollo Hospitals announced ‘Automaid’ — an artificial intelligence-powered smart in-room patient monitoring and triaging service. In March, Bengaluru-based Manipal Hospitals announced the use of Google’s Fitbit health trackers to monitor vitals of patients that have undergone high-risk surgeries.
In May, All India Institute of Medical Sciences (Aiims) set-up a ‘mixed reality centre of excellence’ at its Jodhpur facility, which, alongside training medical students to use advanced technologies for remote healthcare, would also offer remote treatment to an affiliated medical facility in Sirohi, near Jodhpur. The launch was also a pilot project, which associated authorities said at the time would be expanded to more districts, gradually.