Telehealth Resource Centre

Established in 2004, the Telehealth Resource Centre at COMSATS Secretariat is the hub of the organization’s all Telehealth activities. The clinical and administrative activities of Telehealth are carried out from this Resource Centre, which is equipped with all the necessary audio-visual and other technical equipment along with the necessary expertise to carry out Tele-consultations with the remote Telehealth Clinics.


Remote Telehealth Clinics

Gujjar Khan (Pilot Phase)

The COMSATS’ Telehealth program started with the launch of a pilot project that connected Islamabad with Gujar Khan through internet. With very little work going on in this field even in developing countries and no local resources available at that time, the project was established with indigenous resources and self learning efforts in 2001.A Telehealth Clinic established in Gujar Khan was linked with the Telehealth Resource Centre at COMSATS Headquarters through internet connection. Patients at Gujar Khan Telehealth clinic were provided live online medical consultancy through internet by reputed specialists of Islamabad at Telehealth Resource Centre. A number of patients benefited from the specialist consultation from Islamabad without ever leaving Gujjar Khan. The set up at both patient and specialist end included computer systems, webcams, scanner, indigenously made electronic stethoscope, oto-scope while communication medium was internet supported by softwares like Netmeeting and free messenger service. About 100 students also received training on Information Technology through distance learning under this Telehealth/Distance Learning Project.


Skardu

The experience gained from the pilot phase was then used to establish Telehealth services at another location in the Northern Areas of Pakistan. A project entitled, “ICTs for Rural Development in Mountainous and Remote Northern Areas of Pakistan”, in collaboration with the Canadian International Development Research Centre (IDRC) was initiated in 2004. Objective of the project was to provide the access to ICTs and the internet, provide educational and clinical services through these ICTs and thus reduce cost of travel for patients of the remote Northern Areas such as Skardu. A Telehealth Clinic established at a hospital run by a local NGO, Baltistan Health and Education Foundation(BHEF) in Skardu was linked to the already established COMSATS Resource Centre in Islamabad through V-SAT based internet Service. This was first internet service to be established in the area. Akin to the Telehealth Clinic in Gujjar Khan, the one in Skadru was also equipped for live audio visual connection between patient and specialist, the equipment and connectivity being more sophisticated and advanced this time. IP based videoconferencing system, scanner, digital examination camera, electronic stethoscope and other such equipment was used. Four specialties were provided through Telehealth that include Dermatology, General Medicine, Gastroenterology and Cardiology, of which most successful is Dermatology.
Currently, COMSATS continue to run teleconsultations at this centre through its own resources in collaboration with Jabir Bin Hayyan Trust. Since its inception thousands of consultations have been carried out at this clinic.


Zhob,Balochistan

After success of Skardu project, COMSATS joined hands with Human Development Foundation (HDF), Islamabad to initiate similar Telehealth service in its areas of presence. The objectives of new project are:

  • To setup and provide health care through Telehealth to the remote areas of Pakistan starting from Zhob and later extending it to Azad Jammu and Kashmir, Tando Mohammad Khan and suburbs of Karachi.
  • To provide training to para-medical staff in basic Telehealth application.
  • First Telehealth setup in this regard has been established at Zhob, Balochistan in 2011. COMSATS and HDF have utilized their own resources to establish a low cost Telehealth Clinic at Zhob. This clinic has been providing Teleconsultations in the specialties like Dermatology, Gynaecology and General Medicine.



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