The COVID-19 outbreak sparked a surge in patients’ awareness towards telemedicine, as seen by soaring appointment numbers and glowing patient satisfaction surveys.
Change in the Indian healthcare landscape :
The Indian healthcare system has always struggled with accessibility. However, telemedicine has the potential to improve healthcare for India, that has a majority of rural population. Telemedicine is a convergence of information and communication technology and medical science that allows everyone to get high-quality care. It contributes to the health system’s overall change.
Access to Digital healthcare, in the present scenario, is the least expensive and quickest solution to not only bridge the rural–urban health gap but also handle the Covid-19 issue. The virtual consultations limit the risk of infection spread among health care professionals as well.
Expert opinion :
According to Dr Shashikiran BD, Medfin expert and surgeon, Fortis Hospital, Bannerghatta Road, Bangalore, the medical community must advocate telemedicine more actively. “Patients want to meet their doctors in person and have them examined physically. Most lifestyle diseases and chronic conditions, on the other hand, do not usually necessitate a physical examination and can be addressed with an online consultation,” he added.
As per Medfin’s Report, telemedicine has enabled medical practitioners remain connected with their patients. The report also suggests that while there has been a sharp drop in in-patient consultations, there was an exponential uptick in the teleconsultation rate in the four major cities of Bangalore, Hyderabad, Chennai and Pune.
“Since the COVID-19 outbreak, we’ve seen an increase in the number of ENT questions from individuals of all ages, as people have become more aware of sore throats and nasal congestion. Most mild diseases can be addressed with teleconsultation after a thorough clinical examination and assessment. There has also been a spike in ophthalmology calls pertaining to the increased screen-time. Telemedicine aids in the first evaluation and diagnosis of people who require surgery or other forms of medical attention,” quoted Dr Shashikiran.
The growing need for a professional medical diagnosis, as well as concerns that hospitals may be a point of contact for someone infected with the coronavirus, has propelled the growth of telemedicine. This trend isn’t limited to India; telemedicine is also being used to combat the spread of the virus in other parts of the world.
As per a recent news report, people are increasingly opting for e-consultations, and they do not want to visit crowded healthcare facilities such as hospitals, clinics, labs, pharmacies, and so on, owing to the risk of infection. Medfin reported a 400 % rise in e-consultations from the beginning of March 2021. These calls came in from throughout the country, and not only from the big cities where telemedicine is more often used.
The Way forward :
In a pandemic situation like COVID-19, telemedicine has several uses; optimum treatment and virtual care are both conceivable and highly useful. It makes advantage of high-definition transmission and clarity to deliver fast, accurate, and real-time advice from experts. In a seamless environment, healthcare practitioners may examine, diagnose, and treat patients. Patients who have undergone surgeries, now do not have to visit hospitals as follow-ups have become easier with the help of telemedicine. Adopting the most up-to-date telemedicine efforts provides a healthcare system with a slew of advantages, Time saving being one of the most important one. Telemedicine has the potential to reduce healthcare expenses, increase efficiency and revenue, and offer patients with greater access to medical services, resulting in happier and healthier patients.
Digital Health Revolution :
Patients are actively managing their health via healthcare, and telemedicine is a wonderful option that has the potential to grow exponentially. As per a study, by 2025, teleconsultation and e-pharmacy will account for roughly 95 percent of the telemedicine business in India, which is worth USD 5.2 billion.
This is equally creating a direct effect on the Information technology industry as well. The necessity for better connectivity and better resources to access virtual consultations via various apps like Practo, lybrate and Mfine is paving way for more jobs for IT professionals. The National Digital health mission also aims to provide the necessary support for integration of digital health infrastructure in the country. With existing patient and physician adoption levels, as well as new technologies and ecosystems, India is well positioned to build the digital health ecosystem in the near future.
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