The Internet juggernaut rolls on – III

by rohit on June 28, 2008

After a 75 day (or so) hiatus, am back again (no blogger likes to be off-blog for so long, and I have the same standard excuse for being away : “Was busy”).

Here are two interesting Net applications recently reported in the press:

1. BMC (Brihanmumbai Municipal Council), the municipal council of Mumbai, the world’s second most populated city, is testing a website which will have on it the approved plans of all buildings in the city – as well as permissions given by the civic authorities to the builders for these constructions. Currently, citizens have to go from pillar to post to get hold of these plans & information.

Thus, hapless apartment buyers today after moving into their homes often discover that several floors in their building are unauthorized. Or, they discover that the building does not have an “Occupation Certificate” and thus pay the penal rate (double) for electricity and water charges. My building in Lokhandwala area in Mumbai too hasn’t got a copy of the approved plans, for example, though the building was built nearly seven years ago.

No details available yet about the site or the url.

2. Patients in the U.S. are seeking a second opinion online through sites such as the Cleveland Clinic, John Hopkins Remote Medical Second Opinion service and Partners Online Specialty Consultations (POSC). Each of these three report getting a thousand patients a year, with POSC saying they have had a cumulative 10,000 patients since starting out in 2006. These services offer consultations from specialists based on the medical records that they fax, mail or post via the Net. The cost of the service payable upfront through credit card is $500 to $1500, depending on the radiology or pathology interpretations required. So far these services were not covered by insurance but on April 24, Cigna announced it’s intention to cover this service.

Thus for example if a patient has a tumour and finds travel to a distant specialty hospital for a second opinion tiring or cost-prohibitive, the online second opinion service comes in very useful.

Such a service should do well in India, considering that we have one of the lowest doctor to patient ratio (a reported 6 doctors for every 100,000 population) in the world. There should also be scope in doing outsourcing services of this type for overseas patients.

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