Tele-Medicine in India: Benefits, Future, Setup Cost and How To Begin!

Telemedicine In India
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India is growing but are we growing with it?

1. Telemedicine in India

With the second decade of 21st century at its starting point, we have a come a long way in the health tech market. Advancements in healthcare that we observe now, wouldn’t have been possible 20-30 years back.

However are we, the health care sector in congruence with growth in other fields?

Are we still stuck up on the old ways of diagnosing and treating patients?

Do we need to adopt the newer methods for efficient and cost-effective healthcare management?

Telemedicine is one such advancement in the field of healthcare that should be preferred by hospitals and doctors. There have been studies which state that the telemedicine market in India is expected to grow at a compound annual growth rate (CAGR) of 31 percent for the period 2020–25 and reach USD 5.5 billion.

In March 2020 new guidelines of telemedicine were released by the government of India.

Not only has the private sector adopted this technology, but the Indian Space Research Organisation, (ISRO) has also come up with a variety of initiatives with respect to telemedicine.

2. Telemedicine – the talk of the town

Telemedicine usually refers to the doctor seeing the patient virtually using an app or a software. The heath professional can then provisionally diagnose the patient and even prescribe medicines if required. It is slowly becoming an alternative to the traditional in-person method of seeing patients.

Many renowned hospitals chains in India have already made telemedicine a part of their patient management regimen. Private clinics are also joining the trend by adapting to telemedicine.

Tele-health or telemedicine?

The terms tele-health and telemedicine have often been interchangeably used. However there is a difference that needs to be addressed. Telemedicine is a part of the broad term, tele-health. Tele- health encompasses the means and methods for enhancing health care, public health and health education delivery and support using telecommunication technologies.

Telemedicine on the other hand, forms a small part of tele-health where the the healthcare professional, provisionally diagnoses and treats the patient virtually.

Why telemedicine?

3. Benefits of telemedicine

Benefits Of Telemedicine

A lot has already been said about telemedicine which stimulates our grey cells to think why it has  become essential for our health care practice.

Telemedicine is a more convenient, accessible care for patients. The patient does not need to travel long distances for an appointment, he/she can directly talk with the doctor and get his/her concerns addressed, especially the elderly and pregnant women.

It is definitely more accessible since the doctor is available with just a single click. The patient need not wait in long queues before finally meeting the doctor. The patient can even get medicines prescribed virtually and get a faster treatment for his/her ailment.

Telemedicine extends access to consults from specialities and increases patient engagement. Patients can directly talk to the specialists without waiting for days or weeks for them to be available. Daily wage workers don’t have to skip their work days and can consult doctors online.

The demographic placement of the specialist plays a minimal role while treating the patient. This is an advantage over the in-person method of treating patients.

Since the patient is able to connect with doctors more conveniently and frequently, there is a better rapport formed thus increasing the patient engagement. This directly affects the revenue of the hospital/clinic and also provides a good quality of patient care.

Telemedicine can also be used to screen patients who require urgent physical attention than those who can be managed by on-call care delivery system.

Telemedicine has turned out to be beneficial for not only patients but also doctors and hospitals.

For doctors:

Doctors can benefit from telemedicine a lot. They can:

Easily schedule appointments over a telemedicine app, virtually
Chat with the patients over video-call or a phone call
Generate digital prescriptions
Easily refer patients and transfer records online
Access past records and decrease the average consultation time
Safeguard themselves from the unnecessary viral/bacterial exposure
Work from the comfort of their home or/and set- up a tele- clinic
Form a better doctor-patient relationship with frequent calls and follow-ups

For hospitals:

Hospitals can equally benefit from telemedicine. They can:

Consult patients across the globe
Take their pharmacy online over telemedicine apps
Increase patient retention and follow- up
Market their brand
Save on staff by hiring a virtual-receptionist
Increase revenue and have more doctors onboard with no physical constraints
Get spectrum of specialists under the same umbrella
Expect less probability of no shows

For patients:

Patients can consider telemedicine a boon. They can:

Get a 24×7 virtual assistant over the telemedicine apps
Save money and time spent on transport
Get real time status of booking
Get follow-up and medication reminders
Conveniently pay online
Retain the digital prescription with no fear of losing it
Consult a variety of specialists from the comfort of their homes
Form an emotional connect with the care-giver

4. What specialities can tele-medicate?

what specialties use telemedicine the most

Telemedicine can be practised by:

General Physician

A general physician as he or she can provisionally diagnose ailments such as common flu and allergies. The professional can then prescribe medications for the same and help in treating the patient effectively. Physicians can also cross-refer their patients or refer them to a specialist with a single click via telemedicine.

Dermatologist

A dermatologist can also reap the fruits of telemedicine. The specialist can ask for photos over the telemedicine app and can provisionally diagnose and treat the lesion. A video call will also be useful for seeing the lesion live and then prescribing medicines for the same.

Psychologist

A psychologist can connect with the patient over a video call or normal phone call. The specialist can then diagnose the patient provisionally and prescribe doses. The patient can also frequently connect with the professional via phone calls and give a feedback about the prescribed medications.

Since, it is important for such patients to form an emotional bond with their care-giver, telemedicine can help build one. Due to social concerns some patients might not be able to interact with the therapist directly, telemedicine provides them with a new avenue to consult their care-givers.

Emergency cases

Emergency cases can also be managed using telemedicine. Since time is an important factor when it comes to emergency cases, connecting with a care- giver virtually is a faster way to relieve the patient’s misery. An expert intensivist can support the ICU team virtually via tele-consultation.

Ayurveda

Ayurveda is another field where, telemedicine can be widely practised by Ayurvedic professionals. Easy prescribing of medication and introducing an online pharmacy can be done by the specialists. Since Ayurveda is one of India’s indigenous health care systems, telemedicine will take this science global, with the entire world appreciating its benefits.

Apart from these, other specialities which can leverage telemedicine are:

  • Women’s health/ Obstetrics
  • Paediatrics
  • Ophthalmology
  • Diabetes care
  • Men’s health
  • Physical therapy and occupational therapy
  • Cardiology
  • Radiology

To know more, visit here.

5. Telemedicine – basic requirements

telehealth equipment requirements

Now days many telemedicine apps provide these services at an affordable price. A basic internet connection can do the job of connecting the doctor with the patient. According to the variety of features which are now available for telemedicine apps the costs tend to vary.

The basic requirement includes a stable internet connection both on the patient and doctor’s side. Apart from that, no new staff needs to be appointed for the management of these telemedicine apps.

Technical knowledge required is not much apart from the learning curve that’ll come while understanding the working of the apps.

A private clinician can easily adapt to this technology with no technological hassle. Hospital chains have welcomed this change and made telemedicine a part of their routine.

6. Future of telemedicine in India

Future Of Telemedicine In India

With changing times and advancement in technology, a bright future can be predicted for telemedicine. Many healthcare professionals and institutions have already become a part of the telemedicine revolution. The trend will see nothing but a rising curve from here.

The coming days are optimistic for telemedicine as patients have also started to accept and appreciate it.

The restrictions in the implementation of telemedicine are minor roadblocks that will be minimised in the coming years.

Recent advances such as Google Glass and Apple Watch record patient’s health status on a regular basis and it won’t be long before these innovations will become a part of telemedicine too.

7. Efficient and affordable telemedicine solution

telemedicine software in india

In-order to experience these features of telemedicine we need to try out different solutions available. India, now has a multiple telemedicine solutions at the healthcare industry’s disposal.

One of such software suite is Prescribe, trusted by some of India’s largest hospital chains. To know more about how telemedicine can revolutionise your clinical practise/hospital, book a live demo today!

Frequently Asked Questions on telemedicine

What is telemedicine?

Telemedicine is a software/app based solution that lets primary care providers treat their patients remotely via phone call or video chat.

How does telemedicine work?

Telemedicine was originally created to treat patients who are located in remote places or in areas with a shortage of medical professionals. Today, it is becoming a tool for convenient medical care.

What is the difference between telemedicine and telehealth?

Telemedicine and telehealth are often used interchangeably. Telemedicine is a subset of telehealth. Telehealth is a broad term that includes all health services provided using telecommunications technology whereas telemedicine refers specially to clinical services.

What is the telemedicine setup cost in India?

Now days many telemedicine apps provide these services at an affordable price. According to the variety of features which are now available for telemedicine apps, the costs tend to vary.

Which is the best telemedicine solution provider in India?

In-order to experience the various features of telemedicine, we need to try out different solutions available. One such software suite is Prescribe, trusted by some of India’s largest hospital chains. To know more about how telemedicine can revolutionise your clinical practise/hospital, book a live demo today!

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Dr. Lochan
Dr. Lochan
Dr. Lochan is a dentist who is currently pursuing her masters. She is also a writer, poet and debater. Lochan has won numerous literary awards and strives for artistic excellence. She has head research forums and is constantly looking for innovations in the field of healthcare. Lochan has collaborated with various UN and government of India initiatives for the betterment of the society.

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