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India's Apollo Hospitals looks to remote monitoring tech to expand

Iain Morris
August 13, 2014
India’s Apollo Hospitals has introduced a remote monitoring system at some of its hospitals that it hopes could support the expansion of its footprint into smaller towns and cities in the east of the country.

According to a report from India’s Economic Times newspaper, the Indian hospital chain – which also maintains facilities in Bangladesh and Sri Lanka, as well as parts of the Middle East and Africa – believes the use of the technology could help it to build out new hospitals based on a so-called “hub and spoke” model, with larger facilities representing the hubs that provide support to smaller institutions.

“In a first of its kind initiative, Apollo Hospitals [Chennai, India] has introduced eICU, a remote ICU [intensive care unit] monitoring system in Chennai and Hyderabad hospitals,” said Rupali Basu, the chief executive of Apollo Hospitals, as quoted by the Economic Times.

“We are planning to introduce the same in Kolkata which will allow us to expand in smaller towns and cities of eastern region,” added Basu. “The eICU system will help the Kolkata hospital to act as a hub and the telemedicine centers at districts and smaller towns will act as spokes offering intensive care.”

Arvind Sivaramkrishnan, Apollo’s chief information officer, says the cost of implementing the eICU worked out at less than INR100 million ($1.6 million) for monitoring some 500 beds in remote locations, according to the Economic Times.

Although Apollo’s telemedicine centers have traditionally be used as consultation facilities, they could be upgraded to offer intensive care services with the help of specialized doctors, says the report.

Apollo is said to currently manage around 8,600 beds across 50 hospitals and to operate some 150 telemedicine centers.

“We have 28 telemedicine centers in the eastern region and once the eICU system is installed at Kolkata, we will expand rapidly in the eastern region by the hub and spoke model,” said Basu, as quoted by the newspaper.

The remote monitoring technology includes high-definition cameras, medical data monitoring systems and audiovisual modules for interaction with bedside staff.
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