Telemedicine: It is time to take things to the next level

It is the most appropriate time for India to start harnessing the power of tech platforms in the treatment of non-communicable diseases. It is now time to take things to the next level as India grapples with a second wave of Covid-19 pandemic and the healthcare system faces the brunt.

Ms Ashvini Danigond is Founder and CEO of Manorama Infosolutions Pvt Ltd (MIPL) says, the only way forward considering that the doctor to patient ratio in the country is abysmally low, which is merely 0.7 doctors per 1,000 people, compared to the World Health Organisation (WHO) average of 2.5 doctors per 1,000 people.  Also, one of the key challenges has been that while a large proportion of population lives in rural areas, large healthcare facilities are located in urban settings.

She affirms, Telemedicine holds the promise of bringing in the much-needed change in the healthcare landscape through bridging of the gap between the urban and rural India. The sector received much-needed fillip after the outbreak of Covid-19 in March 2020 as remote consultation gained currency during nationwide lockdowns.

Some of her suggestions include : 

  • Set-up regional 24×7 telemedicine clinics in tier-2 and tier-3 cities

There is an urgent need to activate and setup regional 24×7 telemedicine clinics at Tier-2 and Tier-3 cities as a focused line for alternate ways of assessment of patient who don’t require critical attention. This will help reduce the burden on healthcare facilities.

  • Need to enable real-time data and analytics on patient

There is need to use digital health solutions to enable real-time data and analytics on patient, medication and vaccination for Covid-19 patient for planning and predictability towards supply-chain efficiency.

  • Incentivisation for adoption of digital healthcare tools

There should be means to incentivize hospitals and healthcare providers for adoption of digital healthcare tools like Pandemic Management Solutions, Telemedicine & Virtual Consultation Platforms along with other clinical solutions, which helps in better outcomes for care providers and patients.

  • Towards faster and scalable digital healthcare infrastructure

It is an appropriate time to build public-private partnership (PPP) projects involving technology companies working in healthcare space for faster and scalable digital healthcare infrastructure.

While telemedicine was already in the spotlight during the Covid-19 outbreak considering the practicality aspect, but with new guidelines in place there is much-needed clarity on policy now. In the end, the success of the sector in the true sense would ultimately depend on building tech awareness for remote healthcare to gain further ground.


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