Department of Telemedicine


Postgraduate Institute of Medical Education & Research (PGIMER) Chandigarh is an institute of national importance and a pioneer in providing basic medical care as well as highly specialized and quality medical service to population residing in Chandigarh, Haryana, Himachal Pradesh, Jammu & Kashmir and parts of Uttar Pradesh, Uttaranchal and Rajasthan. In the year 2005 our honorable Prime Minister Dr. Manmohan Singh inaugurated the Telemedicine Centre and the link between PGIMER Chandigarh three medical institutes in Punjab i.e. Dasua (Hoshiarpur), Ajnala (Amritsar) and Patiala (Mata Kaushalya Hospital)

Later on SAARC telemedicine network was added to this centre.

The most important aspect of telemedicine is the digital convergence of medical records, charts, X-rays, histopathology slides and medical procedures (including lab. Test) conducted on the patients. This is precisely known as Electronic Patient Record (EPR) in Telemedicine practice.

One of its important applications is in Continuing Medical Education (CME) programme. This is a useful means for medical, nursing and para-medical professionals as well as for those undergoing internship.

Telemedicine is an upcoming field of health care science, which arises from the effective integration of Information and Communication Technologies (ICT) along with Medical Science.        

Telemedicine technology has enormous potential to meet the challenges of healthcare delivery to rural and remote areas besides several other applications in education, training and management in the m-Health sector. Telemedicine services may be as simple as two health professionals discussing medical problems of a patient and seeking advice over a simple telephone call or it can be as complex as transmission of electronic medical records containing clinical information, diagnostic tests such as E.C.G., radiological images etc. and / or carrying out real time interactive medical video conference with the help of IT based hardware and software, video-conference system using broadband telecommunication media provided by satellite  and terrestrial network. Conventionally, telemedicine has comprised of "tele consultation" to the remote site by the experts from a distance, requiring engagement of the expert and expert's professional time in the consultation work. However, there has been a novel effort using "tele-enabling" paradigm that enables the non specialist to diagnose and treat illnesses through automated clinical decision support systems. One such system has been developed at PGI for tele psychiatry.

Advantages offered by Telemedicine are as follows:-

  • Eliminate distance barriers and improve access to quality health services.
  • In emergency and critical care situations where moving a patient may be undesirable and/or not feasible.
  • Facilitate patients and rural practitioner’s access to specialist health services and support.
  • Lessen the inconvenience and/or cost of patient transfers.
  • Reduce unnecessary travel time for health professionals.
  • Educate health care providers about assessment of new technologies and their efficacy in improving patient care.

Telepsychiatry: The latest addition is the "Telepsychiatry system" in which a model telepsychiatry application has been developed and standardized for delivery mental health care in remote areas, using a medical knowledge based decision support system. The application comprises of a net based online system to make psychiatric diagnosis logically linked to management module for treating patients, in the remote areas, by non specialist doctors and paramedics. The system has been tested for its validity and reliability and is currently running at three sites in sub-Himalayan hill states namely Himachal Pradesh (Bilaspur), Jammu and Kashmir (Srinagar) and Uttarakhand (Srinagar HNB Hospital). Patients are being treated in these locations with supervision and monitoring provided by the Department of psychiatry at PGI. The system can be exploited for use in many other states and locations, to give high quality, comprehensive mental health care to adults and child patients in remote areas where such services are lacking.