India is a progressing country. With advances in technology and medicine, the nation is progressing. This, in turn, is beneficial to the country’s citizens. Some of the solutions are always gaining worldwide attention and popularity. Telemedicine is gaining momentum slowly but steadily. What should it mean for the times to come? How is this beneficial to everyone in the world and not just India? Let’s take a look at the topic in detail.
What is Telemedicine?
Telemedicine is a remote medical care system. It connects patients and caregivers like professionals and doctors remotely. And it involves digital meetings rather than in-person consultations. Modern technology allows doctors to advise patients over a call on an online platform. It also includes chatbots, and artificial intelligence backed solutions.
Benefits of Telemedicine
As we mentioned earlier, the healthcare industry is booming. There are, of course, many complex factors that need to be solved, since lives are at stake. Telemedicine allowed complex technologies to be made simple to the extent that it is easy for regular people to understand. Clinical problems like long waiting hours and travel time from isolated locations are not an issue anymore.
Here is a list of all the benefits of telemedicine:
- More professional healthcare providers are accessible.
- Hospital admission is low to an extent.
- Fewer travel costs.
- Doctors can attend patients without physical attendance.
- Patient engagement with the doctor is on the rise.
- Get global healthcare from experts spread across the globe.
How is the telemedicine scenario in India right now?
Doctors in India are joining the Telemedicine movement. According to the report by Industry Journal 24, “India’s telemedicine market is growing immensely and is impacting the international economy in terms of growth rate, revenue, sale, market share, and size. And this growth has been extensive and rapid.” Rural areas and sparsely populated urban cities are amongst the ones to get the most benefit from the program. Rural citizens in India are usually not at hand’s reach of healthcare services. But with telemedicine, this long bridge can be collapsed.
The government is also taking initiatives to make healthcare more accessible to everyone- despite belonging from rural areas or urban cities. Cost-effectiveness is also a consideration. It is, however, a work in progress since infrastructure cost is negligible but prevalent.
“Through IoT (internet of things) perspective medical emergencies like Asthma attack, heart failure, diabetes can be monitored via connected devices. “
The many wonders of telemedicine, and the government’s initiative
In 2018, telemedicine expanded and took market share in India. 2019 was slightly more significant for the industry in general. The reason being Artificial Intelligence. The government announced in 2020 to invest in artificial intelligence backed projects more. These are simple words that tech will evolve. Evolving tech means increased accessibility. This, in turn, helps in bringing down costs of operation significantly.
NITI Aayog states that the “National Health Stack (NHS) is a virtual digital platform for healthcare in the country. NHS study aims to have digital health records for all citizens by 2022 to make telemedicine and E-Health easy. However, with the introduction of Ayushman Bharat Scheme, the biggest health financing scheme, the Indian government has come up with ICT (Information and Communication Technology)focusing on the development of the health sector in the country.”
There is research on the project at the moment. Progress is traceable with an agile approach that is rewarding at every stage. Hence, keeping patience is warranted in this scenario.
Drawbacks of telemedicine
If something sounds too good to be true, it probably is. Let us not forget that there is no direct replacement of hospitals and in-person consultancy yet. There can be an environment stimulated as same as clinics. Maybe in the times to come, the hyper-reality makes telemedicine an exact replica of hospitals. But we have to wait and see what the future holds.
Here are the drawbacks of telemedicine that can further grow with attention on:
- Poor internet infrastructure and network drops can set appointments back or delay them also.
- Doctors’ availability and cost: Doctors in India are far less than required to attend patients properly. Having some of them leave clinics to conduct online sessions, let alone is a challenge.
- A face-to-face consultation can’t replace traditional online meetings.
- Close inspection with tools and in-person consultations can’t compete with an online discussion at the moment.
Telemedicine is booming and growing momentum in the country. Citizens have especially resorted to online consultations due to the global pandemic caused by the coronavirus. In addition to it, there are many telemedicine facilities, like easy access from anywhere in the world. But, demerits also include lack of in-person care and close inspection. The government has invested in artificial intelligence, which will even back the advancements in the telemedicine industry. Health care providers are slowly jumping on this bandwagon to make healthcare accessible to all.