COMSATS eHealth and Tele-health Projects

Tele-health and Telemedicine are the terms widely understood and used for the application of information and communication Technologies for healthcare delivery. Tele-health is in-fact one of the applications of a wider concept “eHealth” that refers to the use of information technology to develop and improve health systems. eHealth is the merger of “e” (electronic) and “health” both of which are equally important components.Telehealth or Telemedicine is an important component of eHealth. It includes consultative, diagnostic, and treatment services through use of audio/visual means to the patients at a distance from the treating healthcare provider.

COMSATS is one of the pioneers of this field in Pakistan. The COMSATS’ Tele-health program started back in 2001 when a pilot project was launched at Gujar Khan with indigenous resources, self learning and efforts. A number of patients were provided medical consultancy through this service. About 100 students also received training on information technology through distance learning under this Tele-health/Distance Learning Project.

Later in 2004 this experience was used to establish Tele-health services at another location in the Northern areas of Pakistan, a project entitled, “ICTs for Rural Development in Mountainous and Remote Areas of Northern Pakistan”, linking Skardu with Islamabad. The project proved to be a success story in terms of achieving its objective of providing specialist opinion from Islamabad to the patients in Skardu through live Tele-consultations.

Telehealth services still continue to provide medical care in Skadru. The consultations are an amalgamation of store and forward applications through ftp server, well supported by video connection by the qualified Dermatologists from Pakistan Institute of Medial Sciences.A number of male and female patients benefited from specialist consultancy services since its initiation bringing the total number of patients to more than 3500 till now.

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