(a) whether the Government has decided to set up a joint force to explore the possibility of issuing e-cards to patients;

(b) if so, the details thereof;

(c) the benefits likely to be accrued to the patients therefrom; and

(d) the concrete measures taken by the Government to promote tele-medicine?

Answer given by the minister


(a) : Yes.

(b) : The Ministry of Health & Family Welfare, Government of India has set up a National Task Force on Telemedicine in the year 2005. Electronic Patient Record is one of the ‘terms of reference (TOR) identified’ under the same. Possibility of electronic health card for individual family is one of the sub-agenda under this TOR.

(c) : The health record of the individual /family over the life time will be securely preserved and made available to healthcare professionals/health researchers/administrators /health policy makers and insurance agencies. Thus, all the above stake holders will be able to access the relevant portion of the information related to health of the individual and family.

(d) :
(i) Both Indian Space Research Organization and Department of Information Technology, Ministry of Communication & IT have been facilitating deployment of telemedicine nodes across the country in collaboration with various state governments.

(ii) Department of Information Technology, Ministry of Communications and Information Technology, Government of India, has been funding research development projects to various scientific agencies and academic medical and engineering institutes to develop indigenous technology and service modules. It has addressed two important issues relating to telemedicine, which have wider ramifications for promotion of telemedicine in the country i.e. standardization and IT infrastructure for Health.

(iii) Ministry of Health & Family Welfare, Govt. of India has set up a National Task Force for Telemedicine, which has been given the mandate to brain storm several issues (identified as “Terms of Reference”) relating to telemedicine and to submit reports/recommendations later, to become “Policy Document” which will facilitate telemedicine practice in the country.

(iv) Linkage of all 25 Regional Cancer Centers across the country through telemedicine network is under development.

(v) Towards Disease Surveillance across the country by networking all the district hospitals with medical colleges through satellite based broadband network (integrated Disease Surveillance Project) is under implementation phase.

(vi) Towards capacity building and developing R&D infrastructure in the field of telemedicine and e health, Sanjay Gandhi Postgraduate Institute of Medical Sciences, Lucknow is setting up a School of Telemedicine and e Health with funding support from Govt. of Uttar Pradesh.