Access to medical care is a moral human right and it becomes an obligation to provide health services to all people even in remote and rural areas where services might be unavailable.
Telemedicine is the solution….
- As per WHO “The delivery of health care services, where distance is a critical factor, by all health care professionals using information and communication technologies for the exchange of valid information for diagnosis, treatment, and prevention of disease and injuries, research and evaluation, and for the continuing education of health care providers, all in the interests of advancing the health of individuals and their communities”
- History of telemedicine in India
- The activities related to telemedicine started in 1999 in India, though the government recognized the potential of telemedicine in the year 2000. The Indian Space Research Organization deployed the first nation-wide SATCOM-based telemedicine network in 2001. The below figure shows the basic infrastructure.
Infrastructure of Telemedicine
Scope of Telemedicine in India
In India, 68% of the population resides in a rural area where the health care services are minimal and telemedicine can close the gap by overcoming distance barriers through joint efforts of government and private healthcare institutions.
Telemedicine market in India
The telemedicine market in India was approximately 450 million U.S. dollars in 2016.
Benefits of Telemedicine
Telemedicine has made it possible for a health care provider to virtually visit a patient
- Immediate access to Health care specialists
- Convenience to the patient
- Saves time traveling
- No need to take leave from work
- Good patient engagement and improved quality of care delivery
- Good for Immunity: Fewer chances to catch an infection from the hospital visit
For Service Providers (Physicians)
- Better Decision Making
- Analysis of stored data increases the practice efficiency
- Better follow up of a patient
- Can get a second opinion immediately for better diagnosis and management
- Revenue is increased by reaching out to many patients.
- Saves time
- A physician can see many patients
- Can make informed decisions if the in-clinic visit is required or not
Overall, Telemedicine is emerging as a promising tool for better health delivery for primary care and secondary care.
Challenges of telemedicine in India
Implementing telemedicine needs good infrastructure and faces issues such as
- Ignorance and lack of awareness
- Rural India lacks basic infrastructure
- Language & communication issues
- Acceptance for both doctors and patients will be a challenge
- Lack of regulations by the government
Is telemedicine the future of medicine?
The rapid advancement in technology will help to achieve the goals of providing accessible, quality & cost-effective health services to everyone. Studies have documented how telemedicine has helped patients get affordable clinical care at home.
The Ayushman Bharat Scheme by the Indian government is encouraging telemedicine for the development of the health sector in the country.
Where does DocOnline stand on the telemedicine spectrum?
DocOnline offers teleconsultation services in different languages through a telemedicine platform.
It’s affordable, gives access to specialists, improves the quality of care and better patient management.
It was first used in the 1960s to transmit images and videos.
Telemedicine is used to provide consultation services in various medical fields, especially in remote places.