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Delivering the speech, Dr. Mohanan Kunnummal said that telemedicine has legal protection across the country, and with the shift to 5G, telemedicine will become popular. The advancement of technology and network connectivity will open up even better possibilities in telemedicine. The days are coming when many modern technologies will have a decisive impact on telemedicine. Virtual reality and augmented reality will open up more opportunities for telemedicine. “The new technologies will help create the impression of getting tested sitting next to the patient,” he said.

Dr. Prem Nair, Chairman of Telemedicon 2022, President of TSI Kerala Chapter, and Group Medical Director of Amrita Hospitals, delivered the introductory speech. He said telemedicine could help bring down the cost of health care. He also noted that 5G connectivity will strengthen the telemedicine system across the country, saving the time it takes to save the lives of critically ill patients and that telemedicine can be used effectively in situations where a wearable device is used.

“We are one of the early adopters of telemedicine in the state of Kerala. It primarily started as a programme to bridge the physical distance between care providers and patients, he said. Now we are making use of state-of-the-art technologies to expand telemedicine services. Our expertise, clinical care, technology research, and social commitment help us deliver technology-enabled care. “When we started our activity in Kerala in 2002, in association with ISRO, we aimed to provide early healthcare services at affordable cost. Today, after 17 years, we provide telemedicine services to 60 national and nine international centers,” he added.

ISRO Chairman S Somnath attended the conference virtually. He explained the steps taken by ISRO in the initial phase of telemedicine. He said that the growth and integration of technologies are very promising. Telemedicine will witness revolutionary changes as connectivity facilities further improve. Telemedicine connectivity can be strengthened, and the services can be expanded in rural areas with the spread of connectivity through satellites. He pointed out that there will be significant changes in healthcare services with the improvement of connectivity between patients and doctors through applications.

Kerala IT Secretary Ratan Kelkar said, “Startups, private entrepreneurs, and technology partners should come forward to promote telemedicine. He also mentioned that greater participation is essential for the sector’s growth as 5G has provided the best background.”

Experts from across the county presented papers in various sessions held on the day. Dr. S Natarajan, an Eye Surgeon at Aditya Jyot Eye Hospital, said diabetic retinopathy is the epidemic of the 21st century. The session was on the topic of teleophthalmology. Dr. Natarajan noted there is an ophthalmologist for 100,000 people in India, and there are obstacles to diagnosing diabetic retinopathy in the country as 70% of the population resides in rural areas.

Dr. R Kim, Director of the Telemedicine Network and IT Services at Aravind Eye Hospital, Madurai, presented a paper on Telemedicine in Primary Eye Care – Changing Landscape. He spoke about eye care and the need for early detection of eye diseases.

“Even in developing countries, the proven treatment reaches only 20% of the people who need it. Improper or, more often, no management at the primary care level makes matters complicated, and tertiary care has to deal with the failures that happen down the line. Only 7% of those needing eye care can get proper treatment at the earliest,” he said, adding that vision centers or primary eye care centers will be a significant relief. A vision center is a technology-based primary eye center that collects each patient’s necessary details for further treatment.

Specialists from different parts of the world, including representatives of the World Health Organization, are attending the three-day conference. This year’s conference aims to strengthen health systems through telemedicine and digital health. The conference discusses in detail the possibilities of telemedicine and the future of telemedicine, legal aspects including confidentiality of treatment and the like, along with matters related to telemedicine and digital health, IOMT, and Tele-ICU monitoring.

Lt Gen R M Gupta and Commodore AjitGopinath will speak on the topic ‘Use of Telemedicine in India’s Defense Sector’ during the session scheduled for Friday, the 11th. It will be followed by a panel discussion on space telemedicine programs. At 2 pm, experts will speak on the topic ‘Possibilities of Artificial Intelligence in the field of Health.’ A discussion on remote monitoring systems that were very useful during the Covid period will also be held.

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