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Beth Israel Partners with Indian Hospital

The Gordon Hall of Medicine stands at the center of the Harvard Medical School's quadrangle.
The Gordon Hall of Medicine stands at the center of the Harvard Medical School's quadrangle. By Justin F. Gonzalez
By Edith M. Herwitz and Luke W. Vrotsos, Crimson Staff Writers

Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center has signed a memorandum of understanding with the Amrita Institute of Medical Sciences in southwest India to collaborate on research and education initiatives in critical care, pain medicine, and anesthesiology.

The memorandum identifies joint research and an exchange of faculty and students as areas for cooperation between the two institutions.

Beth Israel is one of Harvard Medical School’s main teaching hospitals. Though the Medical School itself is not involved in the memorandum, the three professors who visited the hospital before signing the memorandum all hold joint Harvard-Beth Israel appointments.

Amrita Institute of Medical Sciences, also known as Amrita Hospital, is located in Kochi, a city in southwest India. The hospital boasts 1,300 beds, more than any of Harvard Medical School’s teaching hospitals.

Doctors from Beth Israel Deaconess visited Amrita last week before signing the memorandum. The team comprised Daniel S. Talmor, head of the department of anaesthesia and critical care at Beth Israel, Peter J. Panzica, assistant professor of anesthesia, and Satya K. Ramachandran, associate professor of anaesthesia.

Panzica said the three doctors visited Delhi last week, where Amrita is building a new 2,000-bed hospital, and gave recommendations about the new facility before proceeding to the current hospital in Kochi.

He named “working with them on some protocols for randomized control trials” and using data from Amrita’s patient population as priorities for future research endeavors.

Ramachandran said the memorandum of understanding will provide a valuable source of data for future research projects. He pointed to the hospital’s digital database in particular.

“They are one of the hospitals in India which had an electronic health record for the longest time. That was another opportunity for us,” Ramachandran said. “One of our strengths is in outcomes-database driven research.”

He also mentioned the hospital’s large intensive care unit as a potential resource for research efforts.

The memorandum could mean that Beth Israel will provide continuing medical education courses to doctors at Amrita. Beth Israel residents may be able to spend about a month observing patient care at Amrita as well.

“We’ve run workshops and training programs for training and teaching ultrasound technology for physicians at the point of care, different kinds of ultrasound technology, different kinds of bronchoscopy techniques,” Ramachandran said.

He added that Beth Israel has “a wealth of resources” that will enhance the collaboration between the two institutions. Specifically, the department’s junior faculty could “definitely benefit from the experience” of visiting Amrita and observing their operations, he said.

—Staff writer Edith M. Herwitz can be reached at edith.herwitz@thecrimson.com. Follow her on Twitter @edith_herwitz.

—Staff writer Luke W. Vrotsos can be reached at luke.vrotsos@thecrimson.com. Follow him on Twitter at luke_vrotsos.

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