- The author of this article is Satish Kannan, Co-founder & CEO, MediBuddy
In a country as large as India, uniform accessibility of medical healthcare continues to pose a great challenge; Especially when development across different regions is widely disproportionate. Even today, some rural areas continue to struggle with providing and arranging basic medical infrastructure, primary health aid, and professional guidance for patients.
With fewer medical practitioners and lack of medical amenities, people residing in these rural areas are often vulnerable and left to seek medical assistance from neighboring towns or the closest place where help is available. This is also one of the reasons why people from these areas are largely reluctant to seek medical help, as it may seem a daunting and cumbersome process.
While the solution to this problem may seem as simple as allocating funds and improving the medical infrastructure given the scarce number of doctors and nurses registered against the large population of our country. However, distributing medical practitioners equally against every citizen and region wouldn’t be possible and still fail to do justice in providing quality medical care. That is where telemedicine can be leveraged for accelerating medical accessibility.
Telemedicine with just a decent internet connection and a working device can connect you with a certified doctor for consultation who may be miles away from you in just a matter of seconds. With internet connectivity gradually improving in rural areas as well, telemedicine presents to be the perfect solution for connecting doctors to patients without geographical restrictions. This would allow patients in remote areas to get timely access to preventive care and primary healthcare benefits in real-time.
Not only remote areas, but it is also a great way for patients in urban areas to be connected with doctors on the go. Patients who lead busy lifestyles and hectic schedules can easily connect with doctors whenever they want, wherever they are. This eliminates the whole process of traveling all the way to the clinic or hospital and then waiting for your turn to arrive. With telemedicine, they can easily make appointments based on their convenience with the doctor concerned and get a primary consultation and also save time.
It has also helped bed-bound patients and elderly patients save a trip to the hospital with easy-to-use telemedicine applications. Now they can get their routine check-ups, lab tests, prescription renewal, etc. all hassle-free at home which is an extremely convenient option for these patients, for whom multiple visits to the hospital can be an exerting process.
With technological developments and medical innovations, telemedicine has been helping doctors closely monitor their patients with devices that are constantly keeping in check the patient’s vitals. This has significantly reduced the outpatient visits with remote time to time checkups. The doctor can now also facilitate drug prescriptions under diligent supervision and can verify prescriptions via telemedicine portals. With many telemedicine platforms also offering the provision of ordering medicine online, patients can avail all these services under one umbrella platform.
In the current situation with the pandemic, telemedicine has been the safest option for both doctors and patients across the country. It has made a huge contribution in ensuring that patients receive timely care. With most hospitals overwhelmed with covid-related ailments, telemedicine has stepped up and has helped bridged the gap in the absence of the traditional set-up. Patients continued receiving consultations for their medical ailments even when reaching the doctor physically was not possible.
Moreover, it reduced the possibility of transmission of the virus between patients and healthcare professionals. For patients under home isolation, telemedicine has been a savior from getting Covid tests to post-infection medical guidance and treatment. It has helped in making sure that the backbone of the medical infrastructure did not collapse under the extra burden and doctors continued to stay connected with the patients.
The future and scope of telemedicine is enormous with digital innovations that keep amplifying the ecosystem. With telemedicine steadily making inroads, if leveraged smartly, it holds the key potential of bridging the medical disparity that continues to exist. Community kiosks can be arranged in remote areas to make sure that patients without access to the internet and devices also receive medical attention.
Medical accessibility would no longer be a problem and would ensure each citizen receives timely care. With routine check-ups, it can also help detect serious medical problems at a preliminary stage and can make a pathway for further treatment. Telemedicine can help create a perfect medical ecosystem where uniform medical assistance will be available for all patients.