Proposed Framework for the Deployment of Telemedicine Centers in Rural Bangladesh

Proposed Framework for the Deployment of Telemedicine Centers in Rural Bangladesh

Raqibul Mostafa (United International University, Bangladesh), Gazi Mehedi Hasan (United International University, Bangladesh), A.M. Alomgir Kabir (United International University, Bangladesh) and Md Atiqur Rahman (United International University, Bangladesh)
DOI: 10.4018/978-1-4666-2794-9.ch014
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Abstract

This paper presents a unique and comprehensive framework for the deployment of effective telemedicine centers in diverse locations in Bangladesh. The framework employs a top-down analysis and design approach by properly organizing the key elements comprising it. The elements include a nationwide analysis of demographics along with current healthcare scenario as well location-specific pre-deployment studies and the recommended telemedicine solution. This framework will be a valuable guide to deploy effective and long-term telemedicine center at any given location. Towards this goal, the paper presents the framework along with a detailed discussion of the constituent elements, and analyzes several case studies to demonstrate the application of the framework to provide site-specific telemedicine solutions at some selected test sites. All the previous telemedicine projects in Bangladesh suffered from a lack of sustainability and it is expected that deployments based on the proposed framework will be effective, scalable, and long-lasting in bringing e-healthcare to the target population in Bangladesh.
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Introduction

Telemedicine or e-Healthcare is being considered as an alternative healthcare system with an aim to provide a basic healthcare outreach to population that can not avail the existing systems. Telemedicine is gradually becoming a global phenomenon as it is being used to bring adequate healthcare to rural and remote areas in the developing and underdeveloped countries. Elderly patient care and monitoring in the developed countries are turning to telemedicine to bring the required services to such patients. The key benefits of the telemedicine are the “live or real-time” doctor-patient interaction or consultations that bring traditional healthcare practice using the advanced communication networks while providing the comfort of being at home. When such systems are used to reach out to people in rural and remote areas, the importance of telemedicine as an alternative healthcare service does stand out. There are numerous reports of telemedicine activities round the globe and the number of such reports keeps increasing as the trial deployments prove successful. In Asia alone, various countries including India, Pakistan, Nepal and Philippines participate and promote telemedicine to reach people in rural and remote locations (Elder & Clarke, 2009). It is worthwhile to mention a few of them: i) In Nepal a non-government organization Hnet telemedicine started telemedicine service by developing their own software, ii) In India there are as many as forty five telemedicine centers operated by Apollo, the largest telemedicine center; iii) Pakistan started its telemedicine project in 1998 with a project named Elixir and has also set up National Telemedicine Forum in 2001. It has also projects cosponsored by USA where about forty five doctors and nurses were trained. There is also a joint telemedicine project between Apollo hospital in India and Lahore Medical Imaging Center, Pakistan.

Telemedicine projects in African continent include Uganda (UNF Report, 2009) among others. Academy for Education Development (AED), a U.S. based nonprofit organization is working in Uganda to provide telemedicine service for the poor people in remote areas. European countries, e.g., Romania and France, among many others are developing e-healthcare services and are evaluating them (Banciu & Alexandru, 2009; Prieto-Guerrero, 2008).

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