We are seeing technology take over the world, with more products and services being digitized, and it is the same case with the healthcare industry. From robots that conduct laparoscopic surgical procedures to digital diagnostic devices, the world of healthcare management is on its way to better health, for people and its own business.
In India, telehealth (or Telemedicine) has been pushed to the forefront due to the pandemic caused by the novel Coronavirus.What is telehealth, though? When technology meets healthcare, the result is Telemedicine or telehealth. The internet has transformed life as we know it, so why not the healthcare industry?
A range of healthcare tools are at your service to help you take better care of your health. Telehelath is defined as the use of digital communication and information technology, like computers and other devices, to access healthcare products and services remotely.
As a result, your health needs are taken care of, while you are seated in the comfort of your home (or anywhere else).
For instance, say that you have diabetes. You could use your smartphone to review and upload food logs, medications, and monitor blood sugar levels (through an app) which could be examined by a healthcare worker or doctor, and all this can be done remotely.
You send your information electronically and your doctor examines it and sends back advice in the same way. Payment for the same can be done online as well. Apps are also available to determine insulin levels based on diet and exercise habits.
Several healthcare providers have delved into the world of Telemedicine, only to discover that costs have dramatically reduced. The potential for further cost reduction is so promising that many healthcare professionals and services are rapidly moving into this space.
Saving on staff salaries, infrastructure costs and the cost of maintaining expensive equipment is enough reason to go the telemedicine way in India. With such costs being cut down quite dramatically, healthcare services can be offered to patients at a reduced cost.
Furthermore, more access to quality healthcare will be enjoyed by people who don’t have this facility due to high costs. Going digital in the healthcare industry thus benefits the healthcare providers, as well as those at the receiving end – the patients.
Radiology, tele-ICU and emergency services are all available through Telemedicine. Through remote analytical technology, even smaller facilities that don’t have large volumes to deal with can pool resources and use the same services.
X-Rays, CT scanning and Magnetic Resonance Imaging (MRI) can all be transferred to locations of a hub, so you can get these facilities at a cheaper rate. These imaging facilities are at the crux of diagnosis, and can help diagnose innumerous medical conditions.
Even in the field of dental care, imaging may be needed, especially while fitting implants, dentures or teeth braces.
Smaller Waiting Lists
One of the biggest problems facing the Indian healthcare system is a huge demand for the service that can’t currently be met by the people within it. For each nurse or healthcare professional, there are around 1000 people they have to look after, and this ratio is unsustainable and means that many people miss out on the care they need and deserve.
One solution to this problem is to obviously train and hire new nurses and medical staff; however, although this would be a good long-term fix, it takes a while to develop and train medical staff, meaning that this issue won’t be addressed quickly. To be a nurse, you need to study for a few years, obtaining degrees and other qualifications, including a post-MSN NP certificate.
One of the other ways to meet this demand and ensure that more people are provided some form of medical care is to offer this telemedicine solution. With people now able to have appointments on the phone or virtually via webcam, more and more people can be spoken to and assessed a day. Plus, telemedicine technology as a first port of call can help ensure that those attending a hospital or medical facility actually need the attention. Far too many people visit medical facilities where their situation actually doesn’t require their assistance. An appointment that is conducted via telemedicine technology can help determine how severe someone’s issue is and ensure that people who need a follow-up, in-person consultation get one. By eliminating this from happening, there is more room at hospitals to treat the genuinely sick and injured.
Monitoring patients on an ambulatory basis makes better sense than having a patient to necessarily be an inpatient in clinics. This is all possible with remote monitoring. Implications are significant savings in costs to healthcare providers. With this, a domino effect takes place and everyone from patients to private clinics and hospitals benefit. There is also a significant benefit to governmental healthcare services, which cater to the poor.
Devices that are enabled with Bluetooth can monitor vitals of patients accurately, while diagnosis becomes more efficient. There is comfort and convenience to patients, especially those who make up the elderly population. Patients can access their own healthcare information and data with ease and get tips that will benefit them with telehealth.
This remote aspect is also very useful when you consider the content of the Covid-19 pandemic. When a patient comes into a healthcare facility, that patient is put at an increased risk of getting the disease, as they would be around more people who could potentially have the virus. Furthermore, doctors and nurses who tend to hundreds of people a day are also at a huge risk of contracting the virus, which can make them feel poorly. In addition, contracting the virus also means that they are unable to come into work during their isolation period, which puts a bigger strain on the healthcare infrastructure.
Telemedicine reduces this risk, as doctors can have appointments with patients without having to be in the same room, which makes things a lot safer. This tool can also be used to ensure that a doctor can continue to work and help their community even if they’re self-isolating, as they’ll be able to use this telemedicine technology to work from home and attend virtual appointments. This will help ensure that there is no backlog.
A Wider Reach
Many people within India live in remote locations and do not have a hospital or local medical facility near them, with many having to travel hours to get to one. Not only is that bad in terms of an emergency, but this distance can also put off people from getting check-ups and important care. For example, someone who lives a long journey away from a dentist may not be as inclined to get their teeth checked if they encounter pain in their mouth. Instead, they might let the issue linger and develop into something more serious.
Telemedicine can give these people access to quality healthcare, as it will be much easier for them to contact a doctor via phone or video chat. This means that they can conduct routine check-ups and help monitor the health of people who otherwise would have no way to keep themselves in check.
Telemedicine is essential to help ensure that healthcare remains fair within India and that everyone gets the care that they’re entitled to. This, in turn, should help improve the nation’s overall health, where people can grow and prosper as a result.
Keeping Up with New Trends
As the world moves into the realm of Telemedicine, it’s only fair that India should keep up. We have some of the best doctors and dental care specialists in the world, and if you want to know what telehealth is, and what it can do for you, you only have to consider the savings you will gain from it.
Also, people living in remote areas who cannot get access to some of the best medical care will now be able to, through telemedicine technology. Costs can be cut down significantly, as ancillary costs need not be taken into account.
To cut costs even further, and save as you go on your wellness journey, you may want to explore theBajaj Finserv Digital Health EMI Network Card. This is an efficient solution that handles all your medical expenses — diagnostic, hospital and pharmacy bills — in one go. The Digital Health EMI Network Card is distinctively unique and gives you peace of mind, as it offers you the flexibility to convert your costs into affordable EMIs. With over 5,500 partners in 1,000+ cities, you can utilize a range of healthcare services, from dentistry to eye care to diagnostics, easily and efficiently.
Potential Negatives Of Telemedicine
Telemedicine is a great option to boost how effective healthcare in India is; however, there will be a few obstacles that this solution will pose. These will need to be considered a lot by the healthcare authorities to ensure that Telemedicine works well:
- Patient Resistance
Some patients might not be too keen on this idea at first, with the main argument being that they won’t get as good of an evaluation over the phone or via video call as they would do in person. This is a sensible thing to think, as a doctor will be able to feel for any physical issues or use equipment on the individual. However, doctors can still get a good idea of what an issue is via hearing symptoms and by visually looking at the problem area, and they can, of course, still follow it up and invite the patient to a physical examination.
This process of making a telemedicine appointment to then invite someone in anyway may prolong that individual patient’s journey, but the telemedicine call does mean that they will be able to be seen a lot early than they would have had if they instead tried to go straight into getting a physical evaluation.
For Telemedicine to work, you need to ensure that the patient has the technology at home to access this technology. Some people lack a computer or mobile device that can record video or conduct a webcam call, meaning that these people might not be able to get a good evaluation.
This can create a bit of a class divide, where only those who have the money to afford the technology will be able to use this medical service.
Furthermore, some people may not be comfortable with using this kind of technology, such as the elderly, which can alienate them from this solution, which is bad because this is the main demographic that this technology wants to help.
India needs to develop a new way of offering healthcare, as the current system leaves people short-changed and unable to get the care they need in many cases. Telemedicine is one such solution that can help propel Indian healthcare into one that can rival the other systems offered and praised in other countries.
The biggest benefit of Telemedicine is that it makes everything smarter and more connected. Information from one clinic can be passed to another, allowing doctors to stay up-to-date with trends and monitor a patient, particularly if they move around and are using multiple facilities.
As well as connectivity, Telemedicine breeds convenience, as now people are able to contact a doctor and talk to them from the comfort of their own houses. This means that the population can schedule their healthcare during their routines, and it also means that doctors can do the same, as they’re usually a lot quicker to complete.
It also means that resources are saved and are not used up as much, as people aren’t needed to use hospitals as much, which can instead be reserved for those that desperately need them. All this saves costs and ensures that India’s healthcare system is more economical and sustainable.
All in all, Telemedicine is a great modern solution to improve not only India’s healthcare but the world’s, as it opens up various possibilities that can ensure that people get the care that they need and are no longer neglected.