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Breaching Borders Through Telemedicine

Telemedicine as an entry point for medical tourism

Telemedicine as an Entry Point for Medical Tourism

Telemedicine: The Next Frontier in Medical Tourism? 

Medical tourism in India is a critically important aspect with regards to generating income for the health sector. Until recently, the number of people arriving in India on medical visa was growing at an average rate of 55% per year. 

India’s status as a preferred medical tourism destination received a boost as the government began fast-tracking medical visas and ensuring rapid airport clearances for medical tourists. However, due to the pandemic, a downtrend was observed, although economic experts see it as a short-term phenomenon. Clearly, it is crucial for the sector to survive, and the best way forward is to prepare a parallel plan to fill the revenue gap and reach out to patients.

Opportunities in Lockdown

Although it is a given that hospitals can no longer go back to operating the way they used to, several challenges will be seen on the administrative and clinical level to readjust to the realities thrown up by the pandemic. 

One of the most prominent social vaccines in curbing this virulent pathogen has been to impose various levels of extended lockdowns. In the absence of definite drug treatments to cure the disease, we will have to resort to social distancing for the time being. And even though lockdowns may be partially lifted, there is no guarantee that the situation will improve or that a complete lockdown will not be re-imposed if the condition worsens. 

In all this, ensuring timely treatment and holistic patient safety will continue to be a priority for every medical and health professional. Through video discussions and teleconsultations, telemedicine will continue even after lockdowns lift, and life returns to the new normal.

The recent rise of video consultations has seen the popularity of telemedicine soar in the past. For instance, the Thai healthcare group known as Bangkok Dusit Medical Services (BDMS) initiated an online service and e-hospital in March 2019. Their virtual hospital is now a round-the-clock operation that can be accessed through a one-stop smartphone app. 

A typical process involves patients informing nurses about their symptoms through a video call, and an attending physician taking over for a thorough consultation. Post a video examination, the medical professional uploads the diagnosis report, and the patient receives a prescription in less than two hours. 

While telemedicine has been around for a few years, its usage has grown massively in recent times. According to the research firm, Markets and Markets, the global telehealth market is slated to reach USD 55.6 billion by 2025 from USD 25.4 billion in 2020 growing at an average of 16.9% annually. 

Productivity at Your Fingertips

Given the various regional disparities in accessing healthcare in India, and rapid changes in how hospitals are likely to adapt to the post-pandemic world, more and more doctors, health professionals, medical institutions and health services have begun to adopt telemedicine. Hi-tech telehealth platforms backed by the latest technologies are now handling thousands of cases a day showing how the numbers have steadily risen over the past few months. 

As more and more doctors are looking to join the telehealth network, having a virtual setup to extend your services across borders is the need of the hour. Partnering with the right telehealth platform can help you launch and become part of a growing global operation that answers the challenge to healthcare accessibility. And while the current times are challenging, you can play your role in utilising people’s ongoing attention to healthcare and contributing to the long-term progress of society with the help of novel, user-friendly, online health services. Making the right investment to showcase your expertise to a global audience can ensure your services become more evident and available to overseas patients.

Treating Patients Across the World

The future could see more e-hospitals serving as efficient platforms in attracting medical tourists in India. The many infrastructural challenges that India poses can be efficiently met through telemedicine. Besides, the skyrocketing cost of medical care in addition to travelling thousands of miles to seek treatment in India can also be addressed with transparency in pricing and standardisation of quality assessment through telemedicine. 

Taking advantage of leading technology initiatives such as virtual care, mobile initiatives, remote patient monitoring and more are foundational technologies that are likely to emerge as leading priorities as more and more healthcare professionals begin to rethink their strategies. Telehealth platforms that utilise artificial intelligence can benefit patients by helping them select matching specialists to make the right decision vis-à-vis any health condition by simply describing symptoms over the phone.

Here are some ways that private practices and clinics can take a step into the future through a modern telemedicine platform.

  • Virtual examination room, which neutralises the distance factor between doctor and patient

  • Flexible scheduling options to connect at convenient times

  • Preview appointment details, patient vitals, complaints, and requests at a glance

  • Get jump starts on diagnosis

  • Recommend in-office appointment based on symptoms

  • Improve patient experience by tracking wait times

  • Relevant tools to charge, prescribe and take notes

  • Online telemedicine visits

  • Range of telemedicine specialities from paediatrics to geriatrics

  • Robust reimbursement modes

  • Patient privacy through HIPAA compliances

Beyond Boundaries

The internet today has enabled doctors and patients to interact effectively across locations and geographies. As a safe and convenient mode to reach out to your patient seeking the best care available, you can make use of the right telehealth platform for your need to extend your practice beyond national boundaries. 

As the world comes to grips with Covid-19, embracing technology and telehealth platforms and evolving models of medical consumerism will be an important factor in devising the way forward. And even as industries start to revive slowly, telehealth can ensure that India continues to remain safe and retain its status as a preferred destination for medical tourism in a post-Covid world. At the same time, the revival of the medical tourism industry will be largely contingent on the right kind of medicines available to fight the disease as well as the discovery of appropriate vaccines to combat the pandemic. 

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