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Telemedicine as a Solution for Doctor-Patient Ratio in India

Diagnosing and treating your patients remotely through telecommunications technology has never been more relevant than it is today. With healthcare going digital, it can come as a significant relief to doctors and healthcare workers in consulting their patients in an online setting given the current scenario. As a new call for action in these unprecedented times, telemedicine holds the key to becoming a feasible and ideal option to treat patients. 


Doctor-Patient Ratio 


According to the National Health Profile 2019, India has 7,13,986 government hospital beds in total. This translates to a ratio of 0.55 beds per 1,000 people. Additionally, the Medical Council of India in its survey further revealed the doctor-to-patient ratio in India to be as low as 1:2000 (the World Health Organization recommends a minimum doctor-to-patient ratio of 1:1400). Besides, India ranks 145 among 195 countries on the healthcare index.


The report further reveals how the per capita expenditure on healthcare in India is among the lowest in the world. With vast gaps between the urban and rural populace, a shortage of skilled medical professionals, expensive out-of-pocket costs etc., numerous additional factors are worsening the issue in India's healthcare system. Also, since most doctors tend to practice in urban areas where opportunities are better, rural areas seem to be left out and unable to get quality healthcare due to unequal healthcare challenges. And, if the existing conditions were not challenging enough, beginning in April 2020, private hospitals started to seal their premises. They shut down operations when the count of their health workers and medical professionals began to test positive for the coronavirus pandemic. 


Given the limited existing infrastructure, it is evident that India needs to put in more efforts in meeting the needs of a growing society. Inadequate and unorganised healthcare data, high costs of quality treatment, insufficient procedures, and lack of specialised doctors across the country could prove to be fatal to our citizens. 


The ASEAN Chambers of Commerce and Business in its report to the Indian government proposed to begin collecting and organising medical data from hospitals across all states to help develop better treatment facilities for health conditions.


Need for Quality Healthcare for Remote Patients


As in most technology-driven sectors, health technology and healthcare analytics is primarily seen only in the urban context. Besides, the impact of how healthcare data is structured and organised in online consultations, especially in the West, reveals how medical professionals in India can now obtain remote access into their patient’s health conditions and profile in supporting their diagnosis. As the ideal solution to bridge the infrastructural gaps in the Indian market, telemedicine began to offer a glimmer of hope. It emerged as a promising option to treat patients regardless of their setting, whether in urban or rural areas.


Given the urgent need for enhanced healthcare data and quality access to doctors, several telehealth start-ups, as early adopters of telehealth services, began to sprout across the country. 


Telemedicine, as the need of the hour, started to bridge the access even in remote and rural settings. And ever since the coronavirus pandemic-led healthcare situation began to unravel in March early this year, the Indian government quickly began to shift its focus towards healthcare to ease regulations and boost the sector. For instance, the Union Budget 2020-21 announced a ₹69,000 crore outlay for the healthcare sector. In addition, the central government under its Pradhan Mantri Jan Arogya Yojana (PMJAY), has begun to make arrangements in providing access to healthcare and good quality medical services with the main focus on the marginalised and weaker sections of the society. 


Healthcare Access Through Telemedicine


Despite the many efforts made by the public sector in providing health facilities, arguably the only way doctors can deliver healthcare to patients across the country involves leveraging technology through telemedicine. Numerous online products and services are enabling doctors to advocate and look beyond the scope of the coronavirus pandemic. 


As a viable tool in your hands, the right telehealth product can be highly instrumental in doing its part in achieving national healthcare. Although not regarded as a complete solution for healthcare, it can be used as a bridge to screen out noncommunicable diseases and identify health conditions such as heart ailments, hypertension, diabetes and some forms of malignancies in its early stages. Through remote monitoring of patients, your telehealth product can be instrumental in helping India establish wide-scale disease screening plans. Besides, the health data you collect on your telehealth device can be sent to your peer groups and doctors for further study and interpretation with regards to medical interventions or advice.


Enhanced data analysis of accumulated data can also help medical researchers in developing models and predicting disease incidences and outcomes. Here is how a virtual clinic can enable you to overcome the current healthcare challenges and offer you the following benefits:


  • Easy-to-use and user-friendly interface.

  • Real-time communication with your patient.

  • Doctor-patient data security.

  • Integrated medical records.

  • Virtual care in rapidly responding, treating and minimising exposure to communicable diseases for your patient.

  • Enabling your patients to initiate virtual care from anywhere.

  • Empowering you to offer specialty care that ensures patient-focused treatment.

  • Scalability and flexibility in helping you solve problems through technology.

  • A one-stop shop that meets all your needs in supporting your patients achieve their health goals.

  • Cost-effective healthcare and increased patient demand.

  • Improved access to healthcare with enhanced management of chronic diseases and more.


Beating the Distance Factor

 

Not too long ago, the distance between small towns and large cities were a massive obstacle in the path of quality healthcare. Today, thanks to new and affordable medical and communication technologies, distances are almost meaningless. Through telemedicine, you could be operating from your home and treating a patient in another part of the country without the need for travel. By saving high costs with regards to medical care-related expenses, telehealth can ensure your patients will be at ease knowing they are being treated by qualified professionals at anytime and anywhere.


Interested in having your own telehealth platform? Book a free product demo or call 1860-123-1233 for help.