Indian Transplant Newsletter. Vol.17 Issue No.: 52 November 2017 - February 2018
International Workshop on Futuristic Healthcare Technology: Telemedicine and Medical Drone held in Chennai
Indian Transplant Newsletter.
Vol.17 Issue No.: 52 November 2017 - February 2018
Print ISSN 0972 - 1568
A two-day international workshop on Futuristic Healthcare Technology : Telemedicine and Medical Drones was held on 16th and 17th December 2017 at Apollo Children's Hospital, Chennai. It was organised by National Design Research Forum (NDRF), Bengaluru and the Institution of Engineers (India) in association with Apollo Tele Health Services (ATHS) and National Institute of Advanced Studies. The workshop was well attended with engineers, scientists, technologists, transplant surgeons, doctors,and tele health specialists participating.
The aim of the workshop was to look at how healthcare delivery could be augmented by leveraging advances in interdisciplinary engineering practice to develop affordable and innovative medical and healthcare devices. Access to better and appropriate technologies to match the health needs of the population (especially in rural and inaccessible areas) would enable disease prevention, early diagnostics, and effective treatment.
Prof. K. Ganapathy, President, Apollo Telemedicine Networking Foundation & Director, ATHS spoke on the future of telemedicine. He emphasised that technology could be effectively used in wellness, prevention, diagnosis and treatment, and that digital health programmes were the future. There was a full session dedicated to the use of drones in emergency medical care including organ transport. Dr. Kota H a r i n a r a y a n a , C h a i r m a n , G e n e r a l Aeronautics Pvt. Ltd., spoke about the challenges of medical drone operations in a civilian environment in India. He said that the flying height of drones in USA was 400 feet, inEurope it was 700 feet, while in India the Directorate General of Civil Aviation (DGCA) was looking at 200 feet in its draft guidelines. One of the other challenges he mentioned was non-availability of test facilities for drones. Dr. K. Ramachandra, Director, NDRF, elaborated on drones for organ transport. At present drones can carry a payload of up to 4 kg and cover a distance of 5 km. For organ transport, the payload would be around 25 – 40 kg, range 150 – 300 km and an endurance of 3 – 4 hours. He said it would be essential to set up virtual “air” corridors with the help of digital/aerial mapping. He felt a national programme was needed for drone operations. Prof. B. Gurumoorthy, Indian Institute of Science shared details of an active heart perfusion container called 'LifeBox.'
This has been designed by students using dry ice-based cooling for transport by drones. Dr. Sunil Shroff, Managing Trustee, MOHAN Foundation is on the National Advisory Committee for these workshops and moderated the panel discussion on 'Challenges in deploying drones in healthcare.' Dr. Shroff and the panel members discussed and debated on all the relevant aspects – regulatory & licensing, safety/reliability, operations, and practical issues related to medical drones. Some of the takeaways from the discussion were that intra-city delivery of organs could be explored first, clearances from the Indian Council for Medical Research (ICMR) and clear guidelines from the DGCA needed to be pursued. Lt. Gen. Dr. V. J. Sundaram, PVSM, AVSM, VSM (Retd.), Advisor (Micro-Nano-Bio Systems), NDRF who heads the National Advisory Committee in his summing up said that with a medical drone safety and security were of utmost importance, especially in organ transport since organs were an invaluable resource. He reiterated that certification of drones and an Air Traffic Control system for drones needed to be looked at. Following the panel discussion and interaction with the delegates, it was decided to form a Special Interest Group (SIG) to start working on the possibility of making medical drones available to facilitate healthcare in remote areas as well as for organ transport.
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- Keywords: Futuristic Healthcare Technology,Air Traffic Control system