Information and Communication Technology (ICT) has made a significant impact on the functioning of enterprises and the urban communities. However benefits of ICT revolution are yet to reach the rural communities. Indian government has created impressive infrastructure for rural primary healthcare under National Rural Health Mission (NRHM), but lack of real time communication between various healthcare delivery agencies renders this infrastructure inefficient. As a consequence, rural population continues to face many difficulties to meet their primary healthcare needs. We believe that research and innovation using ICT will help overcome these challenges and provide timely quality primary healthcare to the needy.
After extensive study of the existing primary healthcare system, we developed an integrated ICT platform based on distributed computing, internet technologies and modern wireless enabled healthcare devices to deliver primary healthcare services. This platform called ‘mHEALTH–Primary Health Care’(mHEALTH-PHC), developed at TCS, under the leadership of Dr. Arun Pande, Chief Scientist & Head, Innovation Labs-Mumbai, is essentially a tool to enable efficient interaction between the doctor at Primary Health Centre (PHC) and health workers at remote Sub-center, using mobile phone. mHEALTH-PHC was selected by World Health Organization to display in their e-Health pavilion at World Telecom Conference, Geneva. The field experience shows that healthcare personnel involved at various levels in PHC are comfortable in using the tool and are enthusiastic to employ such a tool for efficient service to the community. The paper describing this work won the CTC-TCS Outstanding Paper Award, 2012.
In the presentation, we will address the challenges faced by the rural population to meet their healthcare needs. We will describe and demonstrate our solution focused on Reproductive and Child Health (RCH) program under NRHM. We will share our deployment experience and touch upon the research issues.