As technology advances at exponential levels, innovative technologies are hitting the market at a break-neck speed. Over the last decade, the healthcare domain has witnessed gigantic transformation by embracing trending technologies, improvising patient amenities, exploring new dimensions in medical research to name a few. The medical fraternity has unearthed new opportunities that continue to streamline and minimize the challenges faced by the patients as well as the doctors.
With the abundance of healthcare providers in the industry, players are now concentrating on developing new delivery models that help to improve medical care facilities. Among the various trending business models that are shaping the current healthcare industry, ‘Telemedicine’ stands tall among making a lasting impression and bringing about a break-through change. It comes with a promise of eradicating healthcare’s last mile issue. Although it has been in the industry for quite a while, it has seen a remarkable growth in the past two decades.
An interesting analysis by experts reveals that the ‘doctor-patient’ ratio in India is around 1:921. If compared over the last few decades, this data is actually impressive. However, as a populous nation, several patients living in tier II and III towns along with the people living in rural areas still don’t have the access to quality medical facilities. Inspite of all the advancement in the medical sector, a majority of the people cannot utilize the benefits or fall short of the best medical solutions. This blockade is primarily due to the physical distance from a city along with the unawareness among the rural and underserved population.
This is where telemedicine technology evolves as a boon for the patients living in far-off areas. This technology is the amalgamation of state-of-the-art electronics, ICT, and associated applications that assist in providing education to healthcare professionals. By connecting the doctors together with the patients, telemedicine is changing the dynamics of the sector at a rapid pace. Simplifying the interaction, this technology bridges the existing gaps and diminishes the obstacle to avail optimum medical facilities – even while staying at any remotest corner of the country! Right from having a medical consultation, complex ailments, medication reminders, tracking health parameters, transmission of medical records – telemedicine does it all! In general, there are three versions of this technology that can be used as per requirement:
- Collaborative medicine: real-time communication with physicians
- Store & Forward: sharing patient information
- Remote Monitoring: done through mobile monitoring devices
Along with the private players, the Government is providing assistance in the form of initiatives, reforms, unified platform and reliefs. Since 2000, the Government of India has taken various measures to implement this technology at the remote ground levels. This technology is gaining momentum as there is a huge surge in the Indian tech industry. Many hospitals already have and majorities are in the process of setting-up the state-of-art infrastructure to offer the best medical services at a PAN India-level. By investing in interactive video conferences, aligning the software and hardware components and seamless high-speed connectivity, the medical giants are successful in penetrating into the remotest geographies of the country.
Making a Difference!
Before anything, the ease of accessibility is the foremost reason for this technology to witness a positive trajectory of growth in the last few years. The high volumes of elderly and specially-abled patients are also a major factor fuelling the rise of telemedicine services in the sub-continent. Offering the most viable health care services to the inaccessible corners of the country has made it the ultimate choice for the providers. Knowledge sharing and educating the medical services available at the rural areas enables them to build their own resources and facilitates complex emergency and intensive care services.
To a huge extent, telemedicine reduces the financial burdens on the families by minimizing the hospital stays, traveling charges, and by cutting off other expenses. This technology is one of the best in its kind, as a patient gets access to premium healthcare, irrespective of the time and location. Additionally, it plays a pivotal role in doing epidemiological surveillance for creating the healthcare database of a particular region.
The Journey Ahead
The country has taken big strides forward in adopting technology and delivering innovative healthcare solutions. However, this is just the beginning and a lot needs to be done. Countries like India and other developing countries can act as the pioneers to innovative medical solutions and match the medical superiority of the western world. Knitting the country with this technology is surely a progressive step to eradicate the stigma of the unavailability of quality medical services across the nation.