COMSATS is a pioneer of Tele-health services in Pakistan. Its Tele-health Programme started back in 2001 as a pilot-project with the utilization of indigenous resources and efforts. All technical aspects and medical requirements were successfully worked out, while providing tele-consultations from Islamabad to a nearby small town, Gujar Khan.
Later in 2004, this experience was utilized for establishing Tele-health services at a far-flung location in the Northern Areas of Pakistan, under a project titled “ICTs for Rural Development in Mountainous and Remote Areas of Northern Pakistan”, electronically linking Skardu with Islamabad. The project proved to be a success in terms of achieving its objective of providing specialist medical consultations through synchronous (live) and asynchronous (store-and-forward) methods through appropriate audio/visual tools, live connectivity, FTP server and telephonic conference by the qualified dermatologists from Pakistan Institute of Medical Sciences (PIMS), based in Islamabad. Over 4,000 patients have benefited from the specialist tele-consultations provided through COMSATS Tele-health services.
Another Tele-health set up at Zhob, Balochistan commenced in 2011 when COMSATS signed an MoU with the Human Development Foundation (HDF) for collaboration in Tele-health. This set up, based at community health centre of HDF in Zhob, has carried out a hundreds of consultations since its establishment.
Besides Teleconsultations, Telehealth Services aim to provide support to other organizations that seek its collaboration and technical expertise in this field. It also focuses on training and capacity building of the human resource involved in such activities.
COMSATS’ Tele-health Programme was the first Tele-health project in Pakistan offering live consultations. The initiative at Zhob is the only such effort in the Balochistan province.
Tele-health activities/services benefited a large number of people in the districts of Gujar Khan, Skardu, and Zhob (Pakistan).
The major beneficiaries of the Tele-health services have been women and children that showed a reasonable level of satisfaction, acceptability and comfort towards the mode of service delivery.
The Programme is the sole provider of dermatology specialists’ tele-consultations in the respective areas
All the patient information for Tele-consultations is stored and retrieved from an indigenously developed web-based patient information software.
About 100 students also received training on Information Technology in Gujar Khan through distance-learning activity under the umbrella of this Programme.
COMSATS Tele-health Programme has been presented at a number of e-Health and Tele-health related events and conferences at both national and international levels, including the World Summit on Information Society (2005) held in Tunis, Tunisia.
In recognition of its contributions towards the field of Tele-heath in Pakistan, COMSATS is also a member of the International Society for Telemedicine and eHealth (ISfTeH) and e-Health Association of Pakistan (eHAP).