Indexed on: 22 Jul '14Published on: 22 Jul '14Published in: International Journal of Stroke
In India, stroke care services are not well developed. There is a need to explore alternative options to tackle the rising burden of stroke. Telemedicine has been used by the Indian Space Research Organization (ISRO) to meet the needs of remote hospitals in India. The telemedicine network implemented by ISRO in 2001 presently stretches to around 100 hospitals all over the country, with 78 remote/rural/district health centers connected to 22 specialty hospitals in major cities, thus providing treatment to more than 25 000 patients, which includes stroke patients. Telemedicine is currently used in India for diagnosing stroke patients, subtyping stroke as ischemic or hemorrhagic, and treating accordingly. However, a dedicated telestroke system for providing acute stroke care is needed. Keeping in mind India's flourishing technology sector and leading communication networks, the hub-and-spoke model could work out really well in the upcoming years. Until then, simpler alternatives like smartphones, online data transfer, and new mobile applications like WhatsApp could be used. Telestroke facilities could increase the pool of patients eligible for thrombolysis. But this primary aim of telestroke can be achieved in India only if thrombolysis and imaging techniques are made available at all levels of health care.