Doctors posted in the remote areas of Kashmir are using Whatsapp to get help from specialists to save lives, under an innovative programme, Save Hearts Initiative, by the government.
Under the programme, which follows a “hub and spoke” model doctors collaborate online, to provide on-time medical care particularly to Myocardial Infarction and heart attack.
A few weeks ago, for instance, a labourer from Banihal, Jammu and Kashmir was saved with timely treatment, when doctors uploaded his ECG immediately to the network and coordinated with other senior cardiologists.
“The tertiary care centres in Srinagar – SKIMS and Shri Maharaja Hari Singh Hospital (SMHS)- work as the hub, and the peripheral district and sub-district hospital function as spokes”, Dr Saleem-ur-Rehman, Director-General, Health Services, Kashmir explained to The Indian Express.
The programme is an initiative of the Directorate of Health Services, Kashmir
Dr Nasir Shams, an active member of the programme explains its functioning as, “As soon as suspected cardiac emergency patients are brought to peripheral hospitals, they are taken to the emergency room for the ECG. The doctor immediately shares the ECG on a dedicated network, which operates 24×7. The cardiologist from SKIMS and other specialists give their advice.”
Till now, more than 1,500 emergencies have been treated under this initiative. Kashmiri doctors from abroad are also expected to be added in the Whatsapp group to take advantage of the difference in time zones.
Most of the deaths in heart-related cases occur due to delay in treatment and it is where such programme acts as a life saviour.
” Now we are dealing with heart attack cases at our level. We are saving hearts and lives,” Dr Shafat Shams, who is a medical officer at the sub-district hospital in Tangdhar, tells IE.