This illustrates telemedicine service, the innovative answer to tackle India’s healthcare needs.
India is witnessing breakthrough technological advancements that are ushering in a new healthcare paradigm and transforming lives for the better. Telemedicine, a fairly new concept, allows patients to seek doctor’s advice via video chat using myriad communication channels like mobile, laptop, and wireless technology. The virtual diagnosis of the patient, online prescription of medicines, and remote care for patients via telemedicine is not only enabling the three A’s of Affordable, Accredited, and Accessible healthcare but also paving the way for the 6 P’s of healthcare i.e. – Personal, Primary, Preventive, Precision, Proactive and Predictive healthcare.
The telemedicine concept has come a long way from ISRO’s Telemedicine Pilot Project in 2001, increased significantly in the current pandemic induced era, and it promises to grow exponentially in the coming years. Fast exchange of patient information, timely advice, and last-mile connectivity with patients are some of the reasons for its growing demand. The Indian market is expected to reach US$5.4 billion by 2025 with a Compound Annual Growth Rate (CAGR) of 31%.
Tackling India’s Healthcare Challenges with Telemedicine
In India, public health, access to primary healthcare, and sanitation are emerging gradually. While some states are making great strides in ensuring that basic medical facilities are available to the masses, they are often confined by constraints like lack of awareness, locational access, budgets, poor facilities, and trained staff.
Almost 60% of the Indian hospitals are in urban areas, which is home to just 32% of India while the remaining 68% of the Indian population resides in rural areas, where access to good hospitals and doctors are limited. Telemedicine, therefore, has the potential to provide quality healthcare to everyone. With the Finance Ministry’s Union Budget 2021 allocation of INR 2.23 lakh crore for healthcare which is an increase of 137% from last year, this sector is expected to record robust growth.
Meanwhile, with the New Normal age bringing about unprecedented digital transformation, the rise of telemedicine as an answer to the public health gaps is poised to usher in a new era, aligning with the government’s Digital India mission. As doctors can provide consultation and write prescriptions over a phone call, it can help in spreading awareness and also decreasing the load on hospitals. This also ensures a clear demarcation of critical and non-critical ailments – while critical patients must visit hospitals, non-critical ones can avail expert opinion from their homes avoiding unnecessary burden on hospital staff, and save commuting time. Sometimes, the shortage of hospital beds makes hospitalization tricky; in such cases, teleconsultation can be helpful, provided the patient is not critical.
Telemedicine can also tackle inequity and lack of healthcare access for rural women who often shy away from availing of basic medical care for themselves. In such cases, a portable telemedicine kit can ensure availing telemedicine services on-the-go and enhance healthcare. Empowering healthcare professionals and patients alike, Hitachi MGRM Net has developed a lightweight, sleek, and portable Telemedicine Kit that holds basic things like blood pressure monitor, pulse oximeter, foetal doppler, ECG et al.
Affordable Healthcare for All
The omnipresent demand for better healthcare services and infrastructure requires an efficient healthcare management system to bring affordable healthcare to rural and urban areas and break the physical barriers.
Innovative solutions like M-Star TelemedTM Platform from Hitachi MGRM Net, which is a secure centralized patient repository, can be utilized by healthcare professionals to provide continuous care, better access to specialized services in inaccessible areas, – all these while protecting patient confidentiality as per the Indian Medical Council Act.
The M-Star TelemedTM Platform provides a 360-degree care approach to patients and seamlessly connects them to doctors. While patients can access medical records, upload reports, get on-demand appointments, and SMS/email notifications, doctors can get one-click access, view their scheduled appointments, patient queue, and patient’s Electronic Medical Record (EMR). The paramedic team monitors patients’ registration, doctor schedule, on-demand care schedule, and EMR initial assessment. At the backend, a centralized admin team monitors utilization reports and business decisions. Thus, by leveraging its expertise in Operational Technology (OT) and Information Technology (IT), Hitachi is powering the future of digital healthcare with Hitachi MGRM Net Telemedicine Solutions.
The Way Forward – A Healthy Mix of Technology and Regulation
While technology is a great enabler, a robust regulatory framework is needed to safeguard areas of patient privacy and data. With the current levels of adoption by doctors and patients alike, India is set to scale up its digital health ecosystem. However, for wider adoption and usage, technology should be easily accessible and simple to use and understand, especially for the rural population.
Hitachi, through its Social Innovation Business, is digitally transforming India’s healthcare system and enhancing the patient experience significantly through its powering good mission. By ensuring that each citizen can access quality healthcare, Hitachi is helping build a healthy, prosperous society with a good Quality of Life.
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