PANDEMIC GAVE BOOST TO TELEMEDICINE IN INDIA
The entire healthcare ecosystem in India has embraced Telemedicine amidst the Coronavirus Pandemic
COVID-19 has transformed our life in more ways than we could have ever imagined. While various businesses and industries all over the world have slowed down to ensure the safety of its employees by promoting work from home – the healthcare industry is the one such sector where demand and supply both have increased.
Many parts of the world are now in mandatory quarantine, allowing only urgent medical and other essential government permitted visits. At such times, when everybody prefers social distancing to restrict any kind of personal contact and break the chain of infection, going for the routine checkup, getting answers to a medical query, or keeping doctor consultations has become tough. Even if residents manage to reach a healthcare centre, it is usually jammed with highly contagious patients. In such circumstances, telemedicine has emerged as a necessity to efficiently deliver healthcare services by the means of information and communications technology and has proven to be a great alternative for patients to connect with doctors.
Telemedicine has proven to be an extremely strong tool for accessing healthcare services and has contributed highly in reducing transmission of the disease amongst healthcare professionals and patients who are not infected. It has long been discussed as an efficient way to give people access to medical specialists from the comfort of their own homes. A health care provider can diagnose, provide treatment options, prescribe medication and educate patients sitting miles away, just by using phone, tablet or a laptop. In response to the coronavirus, numerous healthcare providers across the country have gone partially digital, and patients are flocking to these systems.
Accessible Healthcare – Telemedicine
Telemedicine is not just a business it is a social responsibility as well especially during the times of such pandemic. Patients who require medical attention and consultations for other healthcare issues (especially cough, cold and fever in these days) or chronic conditions like diabetes, hypertension etc, opt for tele-consultations instead of running to the hospitals. Medical consultations are available via video call or phone chat. All that is needed is a dependable bandwidth and good inexpensive video software. Currently the widely penetrated smart phone and data connections have supported the telemedicine structure and reduced the agony of patients, across metros and even Tier 2 & Tier 3 towns.
Telemedicine – a Boon
Online doctor consultation platforms are witnessing an upsurge in the number of consultations as patients needed a mode to access healthcare services. Many telemedicine platforms have witnessed patients approach for ease of medical assistance. Additionally, the lack of awareness and hysteria associated with the current pandemic situation raised concerns amongst people to know if their symptoms were related to the novel coronavirus. Online consultations have not only helped in reducing the number of patients rushing to emergencies, but also continue to be the provisioning of healthcare to patients and specifically exclude territorial restrictions. The practice of telemedicine has garnered wide acceptance by the patients or media professionals all over the world. They acknowledge the benefits of online consultation, especially during the period of lockdown where people are not allowed to go out from their homes and can’t visit clinics or hospitals for their regular check-ups.
Growing access and acceptance
Making access to advanced healthcare possible in Tier2 and Tier 3 cities is the prime goal in such circumstances. Telemedicine is bridging the gap between the doctors of big hospitals to the people living in these cities. Use of these online services promotes social distancing alongside giving patients easy access to expert advice when they need it the most. Perhaps, telemedicine may not be able to supervise full treatment, it provides a screening method to contain the spread of the virus and eventually aid in smoothening the peaking curve.
However, since the beginning of March 2020, when the pandemic hit India, several healthcare platforms have been active and are putting best efforts forward to fight it. For example, Tattavan, one of India’s fastest growing telemedicine companies, under SWASTHA SAMARTH, has offered its platform to doctors around the country to consult their patients from the comfort of their homes. To do so, Tattavan is not charging any service fee from the doctors. With simple telemedicine practices anybody trained in technical know-how can perform basic examinations with the various medical devices that are available in the market for monitoring vitals, send their data to healthcare professionals for a detailed opinion. Underdeveloped regions or remote areas are prime zones where digital health can show its potential. It is proving to be beneficial for the rural healthcare infrastructure where Covid-19 cases are shifting from cities to villages.
Role of Government
Government officials are showing immense support in the realm of telemedicine that will certainly save many lives. Due to the legalization of telemedicine by the Government, doctors have shifted rapidly to tele-consultation. The government is also providing annual funding for telemedicine. The Indian health ministry has issued guidelines for telemedicine, enabling doctors to write prescriptions based on telephonic conversations which will ultimately reduce the risk of transmission for medical professionals as well as patients. Such decisions taken by government officials are unprecedented and addressing the need of the hour – Telemedicine and its role in controlling epidemics like COVID-19.
With intensifying concerns surrounding, telemedicine has become of paramount importance to ensure the safety of patients and physicians. This pandemic will eventually die away. Despite many losses that humankind will face, there will also be some achievements and discoveries. I believe; Legalization of telemedicine would be one of them. Very likely, it will prove to be a part of our daily lives.