Telemedicine pilot project in rural Skardu

In 2006, Our team had successfully launched Pakistan’ first successful Telemedicine pilot project which connected patients in a rural Skardu (remote region), Pakistan with International specialist in Boston USA.  We initiated this pilot project in order to study and test the prospects of managing a remote telemedicine center. This project was initiated in close collaboration with AAPNA, COMSATS and Stanford University’s Digital Vision Program.  The pilot test in the remote region was extremely successful and provided a valuable opportunity to gain immense knowledge of the operations.  It also helped us further evolve our project to become more effective in providing health care services remotely.

We tested our project focused on Dermatology related issues as 77.28%  of Skardu population is suffering from these problems and there were no dermatology specialists in this area. Also we observed that dermatology is more suited to be extended via tele-medicine services as it is more visual. The infrastructure (satellite hookup & medical professionals) for executing this project was also setup by COMSATS .

Table 1: Showing Diseases Statistics in Skardu

Our team worked closely with AAPNA doctors. The system was designed around Store and Forward mechanism.  Dermatology specialists were consulted in order to develop a proper questionnaire for medical professionals to use while gathering medical data of the patient.  During our pilot phase, we received over 40 cases. The team efficiently performed the following tasks during the pilot:

  • Assist local medical health professionals gather proper medical records for dermatology cases.
  • Training the doctors to better understand dermatology cases.
  • Assist them in providing better diagnosis for treatment in rural community.
  • Improve quality of care provided to the rural community.
  • Make the system work in store and forward mechanism.
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