August 2008

India News

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ICRI forays into healthcare management

Riding on the healthcare boom in India, Institute of Clinical Research India (ICRI), India’s first and the world’s largest institution in Clinical Research studies announced the launch of its healthcare division – ICRI HEALTH. The division will focus on imparting structured and relevant education and bringing in the science of management into healthcare services – both for medical tourism and hospital operations management.

ICRI HEALTH has entered into an MoU with Academy of Hospital Administration (AHA) for jointly conducting Hospital Operations Management and healthcare industry related courses. AHA has done pioneering work and for the first time developed norms for accreditation of hospitals in India for National Accreditation Board for hospitals and healthcare institutions which has also been approved by ISQua and on the standards of Joint  Commission International.

ICRI Health is a division of Institute of Clinical Research (India) and pioneers of the Allied Healthcare education courses in India. The Institute aims to be a World Leader in “Scientific Health Care Management Education”.

ICRI Health through its educational programs aims to develop the healthcare sector and support professionals in the Indian healthcare industry. The industry-centric job oriented courses are developed in association with the corporate world. The experienced faculty drawn from the industry and academia are from medical, management and tourism sectors. The Institute has large, well-equipped campuses in Delhi, Mumbai, Ahmedabad, Kochi, Hyderabad and Bangalore.

Omaxe Foundation teams up with Maitri in labour health initiative

Omaxe Foundation, the philanthropic arm of Omaxe Ltd., fast growing and diversifying Indian realty major with a pan-Indian presence officially launched Project: ‘Sanjeevani’, a labour health initiative aimed at benefiting construction labour. The goal of this programme, which is to be implemented by Maitri – an established name in the social sector – is to enhance prevention and treatment of HIV and Tuberculosis besides care and support for migrant workers.

With Omaxe’s various construction projects employing about 7% of all labour employed in infrastructure development, ‘Sanjeevani’ will provide an opportunity for an integrated HIV/TB response, by reaching out to a work force of about 12,000 men, 3,000 women and 2,600 dependent children.

Speaking about ‘Sanjeevani’ Mrs. Sushma Goel, Co-Chairperson, Omaxe Foundation expressed a “Great sense of satisfaction in communicating from the portal of Omaxe Foundation. The AIDS pandemic today by its sheer magnitude was clearly an issue that no one can address alone.”

A unique aspect of the project is the active partnership of the School of Public Health, Harvard University in the research methodology adopted for Sanjeevani.

Others present on the occasion included senior functionaries of NACO, UNAIDS, UNDP, ILO, DDG Tuberculosis (Health Ministry), Ministry of Labour besides stakeholders in the programme.

Centre carves out new pharma department

Considering the growth of the Indian pharma industry, the government has finally issued a notification for setting up a separate department of pharmaceuticals. The notification was issued on July 1.
“The separate department would be carved out from the existing chemical and fertiliser department, which is now taking care of the sector. The process of setting up the separate department including finding a place, deciding on functions and number of joint secretaries may get completed in three months,” said an industry expert. Though the original idea was to bring the drug price regulator National Pharmaceutical Pricing Authority (NPPA) and Drug Controller General of India (DCGI) under one roof, the Cabinet has not approved it. “The NPPA and DCGI would not become part of the separate department. The pricing authority and the regulator would continue to work independently and this has been spelt out in the notification,” said the expert.

With pricing and regulation, the two most important issues related to medicines, are kept out of the department, it would be interesting to see what all functions are defined for the department. It is learnt that NPPA chairman Ashok Kumar is among the front-runners for secretary of the new department.

Delhi’s govt hospitals told to ramp up

Concerned over the deteriorating healthcare service in the government hospitals, the Chief Minister of Delhi Shiela Dikshit directed all the Medical Superintendents of the Government Hospitals to provide more attention on maintenance in hospitals to enable them to bring desired improvement in healthcare. The CM conveyed this direction in a meeting that was attended by Health Minister Yoganand Shastri, Chief Secretary Shri Rakesh Mehta, Principal Secretary to CM, Principal Secretary (Health), Secretary (PWD) and Medical Superintendents of all Delhi Government Hospitals.

In order to provide more comforts to the patient, Shiela Dikshit instructed the hospitals to involve and constitute Arogya Samitis. To meet the requirement of more hospitals in the city, the government also decided to start a 750 bedded super-speciality hospital at Dwarka in the month of August, 2008. Moreover, the Government would open six allopathic, five homoeopathic, five ayurvedic and two unani dispensaries in the different parts of the city. The Chief Minister also directed the Department of Health & Family Welfare to expedite procurement of 150 quality ambulances to enable the government to deploy ambulances in year 2009 as the government is committed to ensure better health coverage before commencement of Commonwealth Games 2010.

Indian American medicos join hands with Apollo

Apollo Hospitals Group has agreed to provide ground support and other assistance to 17 dispensaries set up in India’s rural areas by the Association of American Physicians of Indian Origin (AAPI). Apollo will also help in extension of the programme and provide telemedicine services at the dispensaries.

An Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) signed during the just concluded four-day convention of AAPI, the largest ethnic medical organisation in the United States, also provides for training of medical students from the United States in the Indian hospitals. AAPI, which claims to represent over 40,000 physicians, on its part would help arrange a network of physicians in the United States who would offer post operation care to US patients who return home after surgery in the Indian hospitals. The MoU was signed by Hemant Patel on behalf of AAPI and Prathap C Reddy, founder- chairman of Apollo Hospitals and chairman of the National Committee on Healthcare of Confederation of Indian Industry.

Earthquake-resistant hospital in New Delhi

In a first of its kind in Asia, a INR 100 crore earthquake-resistant hospital providing advanced treatment in the field of liver and biliary sciences will start functioning at Vasant Kunj in the national capital.
In the first phase about 180 beds would become operational, 74 of which would cater as Intensive Care Unit (ICU) beds, the statement added.

The second phase of the construction of the hospital would be done by Delhi Metro Rail Corporation (DMRC), according to a statement here.

Project Director Institute of Liver and Biliary Sciences S K Sarin said, “the Institute will have a separate department to promote basic and translational research in the area of Hepatobiliary Sciences primarily.”

The department of hepatobiliary medicine would be the first dedicated department in the country for patients of hepatobiliary diseases and will have transplant hepatology and paediatric hepatology as independent units, he added.

Health in emergency to be on concurrent list

The Health Ministry is working on a Bill which, if all goes to plan, will place public health in times of natural disasters, epidemic outbreaks and acts of terror in the Concurrent List before the end of this year, giving the Centre the power to independently promulgate laws and lay down rules (public health is so far a state subject, exclusively in the domain of state governments).

The Public Health Bill 2007 aims “to provide, prevent, control and manage epidemics or dangerous epidemic diseases, acts of bioterrorism and threats thereof”.

The proposed Bill is likely to be discussed in the forthcoming session of the House. Together with the National Disaster Management Authority (NDMA), states and Union Territories have evolved Standard Operating Procedures (SOPs) on disaster management. In case of Chemical, Biological, Radiological and Nuclear (CBRN) casualties, mass casualty management will begin with decontamination of wounds and burns injuries prior to admission.

“The Railways have a network of 121 hospitals. In a situation that needs emergency medical response, the Railways have an infrastructure of 172 Accident Relief Medical Vans (ARMV) situated every 200 km. They also have trained manpower. Hence, there is a well-rehearsed action plan in case of a railway accident,” said Lt Gen Bhardwaj.

Telemedicine soon across Maharashtra

Project planned with Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO) should have started in June last year; now, its initial phase will connect via satellite premier medical colleges and hospitals to patients at eight or nine district hospitals. Two years after it was first proposed to link the city’s premier KEM hospital with four district hospitals, the telemedicine project planned with ISRO is now being extended to centres across the state.

In the initial plan, super-speciality KEM Hospital in Parel was to be connected to the civic-run V N Desai Hospital in Santacruz and district hospitals at Latur, Beed, Nandurbar and Sindhudurg. Experts at KEM would, through satellite communication, offer consultation and advice to the team at these centres, serving a dual advantage of avoiding patients’ trips to Mumbai and adding to the skills and knowledge at the district hospitals.

According to state health officials, the project has now been undertaken under the National Rural Health Mission and is being extended across the state. At the regional centres, doctors will receive results of medical tests, X-ray and other reports from the set-ups in the district hospitals. While the telemedicine systems – the dish antenna, the server, the computers, TV with video camera, X-ray scanner and digital ECR – are being provided by ISRO.

Rural healthcare improvement high on J&K govt agenda

The Jammu and Kashmir government has taken a slew of initiatives and administrative reforms to improve healthcare facilities in rural areas of the state. The reforms undertaken by the Azad government include a proposal to make two years rural service mandatory for in-service doctors seeking admission to post-graduate courses.

Under the proposed move, the state health department has decided to incentivise rural service for admission to the PG courses. PG admission seekers will be given 10 marks every year of rural service up to a maximum of 50 marks. Doctors can get the maximum marks by putting in five years of rural service and would automatically make a headway of other PG aspirants who do not wish to avail of this incentive, secretary health and medical education K. B. Jandial said.

Healthcare facilities are severely affected in J&K, particularly in rural areas where doctors do not want to be posted. There is shortage of nearly 900 doctors in the rural areas. To make up for the shortage, the government has referred 469 posts of assistant surgeons (medical officers) to the public service commission. There are another 350 posts of B-grade specialists (junior consultants) which are to be filled, the secretary said.

Diagnostic clinics only a click away

All authorised medical diagnostic centres across the country will soon be listed on a website. The government and the Indian Radiological and Imaging Association (IRIA) are working jointly to develop the website. This move comes in the wake of complaints that many diagnostic centres were conducting banned sex determination tests. Moreover, the move would help authorities easily trace unauthorised centres operating in various states. In Uttar Pradesh alone there were over 3,500 ultrasound centres against the approved strength of 600 sonologists, reports IANS.

Preparation of such a database was long overdue. Once it is prepared, there would be an online monitoring of all authorised diagnostic centres operating in the country.

For developing the software to ensure online monitoring, IRIA had approached the central government a few months back, said the officials. The website will be linked from the chief medical officers’ (CMOs) offices in every district from where it can also be uploaded.

Robotic surgery at AIIMS for rare neuro disorder

Recently, for the first time ever, the All India Institute of Medical Sciences (AIIMS) performed robotic thoracoscopic thymectomy on patients with myasthenia gravis, a rare autoimmune disorder.

AIIMS has been performing video assisted thoracoscopic (VAT) thymectomy, or removal of thymus gland, for the past eight years. This is the first time that doctors used a robot for the purpose, making the procedure more precise. “Robotic surgery is more precise and accurate. It is the future of all surgeries. The robots are so designed that they can reach inaccessible areas in the body and bend and curve as per the shape of the organ. If it works well, then AIIMS would be the only government hospital in India to offer robotic thymectomy.

Thymectomy can be either performed through an open method or VAT. In VAT thymectomy, three tiny incisions are made in the left chest through which the surgical instruments along with a small scope is introduced into the body and the surgery is carried out with the help of a visual monitor. The robotic surgery is similar to VAT, but the only difference is that the surgeon uses a specialised console with monitor to perform the surgery. The plus point of VAT thymectomy is that it leaves minimal scars.

Indians can now dial 108 for emergency 

India is gradually moving to the use of one emergency telephone number across the country, 108, on the lines of America’s 911 and Britain’s 999.

In June, the states of Madhya Pradesh and Uttarakhand adopted this number for providing emergency services. A 108 service for Delhi is in the pipeline.

The three-year-old Emergency Management and Research Institute (EMRI) service also operates in Andhra Pradesh, Tamil Nadu, Kerala, Goa, Gujarat, Rajasthan, Assam and Jammu and Kashmir, hoping to provide services to 100 million people by 2010. “This is India’s first coordinated response service, at one number across the country, like the UK’s 999 and Europe’s 112, taking a call every two seconds,” Venkat Changavali, CEO of EMRI, told IANS.

The 108 service in India is ambulance-based. It has more than 600 advanced life-saving ambulances operating in Andhra Pradesh and Gujarat. The Tamil Nadu government has made available 200 such emergency medical technician-manned ambulances for the EMRI service. When the blasts took place in Hyderabad’s Mecca Masjid on May 18, 2007, one EMRI ambulance managed to reach the blast site in one minute, and two more reached the site in another 15 minutes. If people get to know and use just one number, saving a life becomes that much easier, say those who support 108.

Hospitals must give records within 72 hrs

In a landmark order, the national consumer disputes redressal commission has made it mandatory for all medical practitioners and hospitals across the country to provide the entire medical records of a patient to himher or the authorised nominee or legal authorities concerned within 72 hours of the demand.

Simultaneously, the commission asked the Medical Council of India to promulgate a comprehensive notification. Accordingly, a week ago, the MCI directed medical practitioners and hospitals to provide the medical records of a patient within three days of the request.

The commission’s directives, followed by the MCI circular, assume significance since the general tendency among medical practitioners and hospitals has been either to avoid a request for medical records or delay it for obvious reasons.

However, Hinduja Hospital director G. B. Davar welcomed the move, saying it was in the interest of patients. A former dean of J J Hospital, Davar said parting with medical records would improve the relationship between the doctor and the hospital.

“If all records are made available to a patient immediately, there will be no scope for doubt of any kind,” he said. 

Indian Spinal Injuries Centre signs on Akhil Systems’ HIS

Indian Spinal Injuries Centre, New Delhi is a National leader in providing multidisciplinary rehabilitation and spinal cord surgeries.  The Indian Spinal Injuries Centre has been setup in collaboration with the Government of Italy along with the support from Government of India.  Today it is a model institution comparable to the best in the world and most successful indo Italian collaboration.

Recently, ISIC signed a contract with Akhil Systems Pvt. Ltd., New Delhi for replacement of their existing HIS System.

As a new ISIC IT Partner, Akhil Systems will implement their complete HIS with Clinical, Non-Clinical, Administrative and Financial Modules for automation of all departments of the hospital in paperless and filmless environment interfaced with medical equipments, SMS & web technology.

11th Workshop on “Medical Informatics & Biomedical Communication”

11th Workshop on “Medical Informatics & Biomedical Communication” supported by DBT, Ministry of Science and Technology and ICMR, New Delhi is being organised at Bioinformatics Centre, JB Tropical Disease Research Centre, mahatma Gandhi Institute of Medical Sciences, Sevagram, during November 20-22, 2008 to expose Medical Teachers, Scientists & PG/Ph.D. students to advances in Medical/Health Informatics, Hospital Information System, evidence based medicine &Telemedicine, Proteomics, Genomics etc. Interesting lectures, demonstrations and hands on sessions will be conducted by the eminent experts in these areas to promote use of Medical Informatics in health care management and retrieval of Biomeical Information, Databases/Software for promotion of medical research. Further, a one day special session on Biomedical Communication likely to be supported by ICMR will also be organised.

Contact: Dr. Satish Kumar, Professor, Biochemistry & Dy. Coordinator, BIC, e-mail: mgims.btisnet@nic.in

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