India’s Sri Ramakrishna hospital is participating in Tata Communications’s new Gloheal telemedicine service to offer second opinions to rural patients.” Interestingly, physicians based in Kenya and Rwanda, for example, can also access a diagnosis and a treatment plan. “We give these services at a very affordable cost and general practitioners in these regions use our services due to the non-availability of certain specialities or due to logistics delays and costs incurred by the patient,” said V Ramakrishna, COO of SNR Sons Charitable Trust, which runs the hospital. “All our speciality doctors who are specialised in critical cases and surgeons use this facility and give second opinions. These opinions can also be given on hand-held devices, providing the correct bandwidth is available.” One great advantage of the system is that after the consultation they can either remain at home, or travel knowing that the hospital is familiar with their case. “Any patients travelling to our hospital are treated by the same doctor who has given the telemedicine opinion. Therefore, the patient saves hugely on costs for out-patient services,” he said.