New Delhi: RailTel, the telecom arm of Indian Railways, is in talks with the health ministry to implement a telemedicine project to serve inaccessible rural areas.

Telemedicine entails the use of information and communication technology to provide healthcare services to communities in remote and difficult-to-access locations. A doctor based in a different location can attend to several people, provide diagnosis and prescribe medicines.

In India, telemedicine has been tried out through pilot projects in states like Punjab, Odisha, Rajasthan, Karnataka and Tripura.

“We have one of the longest optical fibre cable networks in the country which covers all important towns and cities along with several rural areas, covering 70% of India’s population," a RailTel official said, on condition of anonymity.

“The project investment would be more in form of telemedicine equipment which can come through either private investment or health department. Connectivity would not be an issue as we can cater to it easily," he added.

Indian Railways also has a large hospital network that could be leveraged for implementing the project, the official said.