Would tele-health address healthcare demand-supply gap in India?
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Around 70 percent of Indians live in villages and the specialist doctors live in cities. This makes it almost impossible for patients to get quick access to expert treatment.But today there is a massive growth of wireless technology and experts believe that if this technology is harnessed efficiently then the healthcare system in India can be decentralised.
And this is where Tele-health comes in. Tele-health makes use of the telecommunications and electronic information technologies to promote long-distance interaction between a doctor and a patient. It includes offering clinical healthcare, public health administration, health education and training.
At present, India miserably fails in providing the basic medical care service in the rural sectors, although the suburban and urban areas receive advanced healthcare uniformly. And even some of the physicians are not very keen about serving the rural sectors due to the lack of facilities.
But thanks to growing computer literacy in India, healthcare providers are now able to make use of tele-health facilities to offer proper healthcare to patients in remote areas. Experts feel that it is more convenient to set up telecommunication infrastructure in rural Indian rather than locating physicians to these places.
- It will offer better healthcare access to the remote parts of India
- In peripheral health set-ups, tele-health can lower the cost and time required for patient transportation.
- Enables home care monitoring
- Improves the interaction between healthcare providers located in different parts of the world.
- Enables critical monitoring in situations where patient transfer is not possible
- Makes it possible to continue clinical research and medical education
- A great channel for raising public awareness
- Complex interpretations can be sorted out efficiently and in less time
- Helps in accessing second opinions quickly
- Enables program tracking and disease surveillance
- Physicians are not entirely satisfied by tele-health. They feel that direct interaction helps in more accurate diagnosis.
- The cost of setting up tele-health technology all over the country is too high.
- Nearly 40 percent of the Indian population don’t have proper access to basic amenities which makes tele-health less efficient.
- Only 65 % of the Indian population are literate. Using tele-health software and interacting through this model would be a problem for them.
Tele-health can revolutionise the healthcare sector in India. And like every new technology, tele-health too needs sufficient support from the Government and private parties. For a country like India where a large number of patients are deprived of basic healthcare needs, the tele-health concept would be a great boon.