Five Healthcare ATMs Launched in 4 States


Five healthcare ATMs have come up in four states. Those states are MP, Himachal Pradesh, Odisha and Andhra Pradesh. These ATMs are ging to come up under a Health Ministry pilot that combines telemedicine with a rudimentary free drugs programme. The health ministry is aiming that these ATMs would tide over the massive shortage of doctors in the country. It will also save from the risk of pilferage in free drugs programmes. For these ATMs technical support is being provided by the division of healthcare technology and National Health Systems Research Centre.

These ATMs will be manned by a multipurpose public health worker (MPHW) or an auxiliary nurse midwife (ANM) armed with a multi-parameter patient vital monitor and other devices required for checking basic health parameters. After the patient has been registered, these indicators would be transmitted to a medical call centre through a GSM-based monitor. For starters, basic health parameters such as temperature, blood pressure, blood glucose and blood hemoglobin will be checked and the data instantly transmitted.

At the call centre, doctors will evaluate the condition of the patient and if necessary talk to patients and decide whether the person needs to be referred to a centre where a doctor is available or whether can be treated locally with medications. In the latter case, a prescription will be generated and a command given automatically to the ATM to dispense only the drug prescribed, and no other. The MPHW will explain the dosage to the patient. And in case urgent referral is required, the 108 ambulance service will be made available at the sub-centre. 

With 5 to 8% of India’s rural health centres running without a qualified medical practitioner, these ATMs are meant for such centres. India currently has 0.51 doctors per 1,000 population, half the 1:1,000 ratio recommended by World Health Organization. Rural India’s ratio is 0.63 per 10,000.
The concept of an ATM for healthcare, where the machine is essentially a patient portal that delivers a limited set of medical services, is catching on across the world and being tried out in various forms. The ministry is trying out to provide it free for the patient while in case of commercial version have a built in payment option.

So now lets discuss some questions related to this article which can be asked in the upcoming exams :
1. Name the states in which healthcare ATMs are going to install ?
2. For these ATMs Healthcare ministry has signed for technical support with which organization ?
3. Expand the term MPHW  & ANW ?





Courtesy : Indian Express

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