In collaboration with NGOs, Philips helps provide rural healthcare in India
Philips Apollo Hospitals, ISRO (Indian Space Research Organization) and the Dhan Foundation join together to create The DISHA (Distance Healthcare Advancement) project, an initiative aimed at enhancing the access to primary health care services to the approximately 275 million people in India who live on around $1,000 to $2,000 a year.
To reach its goal, DISHA uses a custom-built ‘tele-clinical’ van equipped with appropriate diagnostic devices and medicines. In the partnership, Philips Medical Systems supplies appropriate diagnostic equipment to the tele-clinical van (x-rays, ultrasound, ECG devices etc.). Apollo Hospitals provide a male and female doctor and two paramedics for the van. The Indian Space Research Organization (ISRO) provides satellite connectivity from the tele-clinical van to the remote Apollo Hospital, while Electronics Corporation of India, another governmental organization, supplies the satellite dish. Active in social mobilization, micro finance and micro insurance, the Non-Governmental Organization Development of Human Action (DHAN) brings its knowledge of local communities to the project (to estimate the demand for various diagnostic services and to raise awareness of, and confidence in, this initiative).
The consortium can supply healthcare diagnostic services to 15,000 users a year. Diagnostic tests are conducted in the van itself and, if required, the specialist doctor at the referral hospital is consulted. All necessary patient information is transmitted via satellite. Video-conferencing is also available for the specialist to interact with the patient and the on-site doctor. An NGO pre-screening team visits villages to assess those most in need.
Lower-income families save money thanks to affordable local provision and reduced travel time. Within six months a tele-clinical van performed 2500 diagnoses and image transfers in order to test the concept and ensure viability by the end of the year.