TeleHealth in Rural Papua New Guinea: Mobile Phone Picture Messaging Tool Has Potential.

I had a discussion recently with a colleague. In rural PNG right now mobile phone coverage is expanding rapidly and it seems that everyone now has a mobile phone. (Hurray to competition!!) So while discussing my problems of trying to obtain second opinions for patient’s x-rays, I thought of the idea of using the mobile phone picture messaging tool to send x-ray images to radiologists in Port Moresby or Goroka Base Hospitals and get their opinion of possible diagnosis.

The idea would be to create a group of specialist, rather radiologists who would be interested in participating and see how it would turn out. A major limiting factor would be the resolution power of the mobile phone camera. Most camera on the phones have a megapixel of 2.0 to 2.5. Others may have higher megapixel. The other thing to consider would be the cost of such as service. We would have to buy credits to send the pictures.

However, if we approach one of the mobile phone service providers in PNG and make a proposal for such a service, they just might consider trialing it out as a community service with no costs to the doctors participating. We would give our phone numbers and the mobile phone company can create a group or some kind of system for those registered numbers to be used for sending images free of charge. It is something to think about.

I was thinking of writing up a proposal to send it to one of the mobile phone companies but have not done it. I have to find the time to do it. So busy these days. Maybe, someone reading this posts may want to take it up as a post-graduate research project in telemedicine in Papua New Guinea.

Any comments would be highly appreciated.


About rodney itaki

Medical doctor and public health specialist from Papua New Guinea.
This entry was posted in Health, Information communication technology, Research & publication and tagged , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

1 Response to TeleHealth in Rural Papua New Guinea: Mobile Phone Picture Messaging Tool Has Potential.

  1. Kenton Ratu Sade says:

    Hi Rodney

    this is a very issue to discuss, we have here in Honiara a system by which X-ray pictures is taken and uploaded for it to be reviewed by senior Surgeons and for us to sort assistance from outside the country as well.

    this idea of a pool of specialist who can then share their thoughts on such clinical problems is a workable one. The fact that you can access this forum, means that you can get online which clinical cases and the people that you talk to can get you in touch with the relevant specialist to help with the case.

    I believe the pool that PNG has in terms of specialist can be easily be established, even sending it by email is a start. Maybe you can text any member of the pool and tell them to check the email accounts for the cases is another idea to venture into.

    thank you, you are doing are great job where you are, keep it up.


Comments are closed.