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World Health Partners (WHP) established 116 telemedicine clinics (SKY Clinics) providing health services to 1293 villages with an estimated population in excess of 6 million people primarily to provide health services mostly to reproductive age women. Through live streaming audio/video internet connections, the villagers consulted with physicians located elsewhere in India and experienced greater access to quality health services and contraception. The SKY Clinics were operated as a social franchise by female rural health practitioners (RHP) who profited from the consultation fees and drug sales. Using Remedi (TM) software, the RHPs measured blood pressure, temperature, heart rate, respiratory rate, and could assess EKGs with the results directly transmitted to the physician.
From April 2009 to Dec 2010, contraceptive use totaled 288,000--couple years of protection (CYP) from sterilization, IUDs, medical and surgical abortions, plus short term methods; and the cost per per CYP was USD$5.84. Women found the telemedicine format acceptable after some initial fear of how to communicate through the computer and interact with the doctors. Ultimately, the SKY Clinics were judged on their ability to relief of illness for these women with heavy household and family responsibilities.
Access to quality reproductive health services and contraception dramatically increased among the 6 million Uttar Pradesh villagers as a result of these social franchised telemedicine clinics which connected villagers to doctors elsewhere in India through live, audio/video internet connections. Cost per couple years of protection USD$5.84 was quite low.
Live, streaming, internet-based telemedicine clinics which connect villagers to physicians elsewhere in India is a low-cost way to provide reproductive health services to village women.