As part of a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) between ISRO and the Apollo Tele-medicine Enterprise Limited, the Appollo-SHAR Tele-medicine Project was inaugurated on February 15, 2002. The project envisages the establishment of Tele-medicine connectivity between Apollo Hospitals, Chennai and SHAR Centre Hospital of ISRO at Sriharikota using INSAT satellite.

The ISRO’s hospital at Sriharikota Island has about 50 beds and it caters to the needs of the healthcare of ISRO personnel and their families numbering about eight thousand. It also serves the tribal populations who have inhabited this Island even before the space centre was established. The hospital being in a remote island with limited facilities and specialist doctors, obtaining tele-medicine consultation and treatment from a super-specialty hospital like Apollo Hospital in Chennai, will go a long way in improving the healthcare of the Sriharikota population.

Under the MOU, ISRO will provide necessary satellite communication infrastructure including transponder capacity. Apollo Hospitals will provide the medical consultation, advice and treatment using the tele-medicine equipment installed both at SHAR Hospital and Apollo. This arrangement will also help in cutting down the travel and avoiding strenuous journeys for needy patients especially in emergency cases.

It may be noted that under the same MOU, a Tele-medicine project is already in operation between the Apollo Hospital, Chennai and Aragonda Apollo Hospital and Educational Research Foundation at Aragonda village in Chittoor District of Andhara Pradesh.

ISRO, as part of application of space technology especially for the benefit of remote areas and rural populations, is implementing Tele-medicine projects at various other places including off-shore islands and inaccessible regions of the country.